Civic Education Day at Wetherbee School

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Diana recently visited Lawrence’s Wetherbee School as the latest stop on her Civic Education Tour to engage and educate students across the Merrimack Valley.

The program, which Diana has brought to other schools in Lawrence, as well as North Andover, Methuen and Haverhill, explained the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government and, through interactive exercises, educated students about how to participate in our democratic process and what it means to be a citizen.

During the event, students participated in mock legislative and judicial hearings, the latter conducted by Michael J. Ryan of the Office of Jury Commissioner for the Commonwealth.

“The experience the Representative provided for our students was enlightening,” said Colleen Lennon, principal at Wetherbee. “They were truly engaged and now understand the importance of their voice and their vote.”

“Students need to know the adults in our community care about them and are truly invested in their education,” said Lisa Scott, an eighth grade ELA teacher at Wetherbee. “The Representative’s presence and willingness to share about the importance of civic education accomplished just that.”

“I want to be a lawyer when I grow up and listening to Representative DiZoglio was helpful because she is young and a woman I can connect with,” said student June Zhang.

“I learned that you can make people listen to you by getting involved and voting,” said student Jerry Pimentel.

“Representative DiZoglio made learning about government so much more simple and less complicated,” said student Kiahvette Guzman.

“I learned that at the age of 18 you can get a letter to serve on a jury,” said student Pedro Hernandez.

“In speaking with the amazing students at Wetherbee, I saw before me our next generation of leaders,” said Diana, who has sponsored legislation to establish a comprehensive student civic education program. “It is so critical to empower our youth with the knowledge of how and why to vote and my hope is this tour will help them to grasp civic involvement early on so they may actively participate in the democratic process as they reach adulthood.”

In many of today’s high schools, civic education courses are only offered toward the end of a student’s studies. On the most recent national civics assessment, conducted in 2006 by the National Assessment Governing Board, two-thirds of students scored below “proficient.” In 2010, more than a quarter of college students reported they did not register to vote because they did not know how to do so.

“Our classrooms are all too often lacking a robust civic learning curriculum to teach students about what government does in our daily lives,” said Diana. “While this school year is nearing its end, I look forward to visiting additional schools in Lawrence and across the Merrimack Valley in the fall to continue educating our amazing students on how government works.”

“It is critical for students to have an understanding of our judicial system early on, given they should be prepared to serve jury duty as soon as high school,” said Ryan.

In addition to the Wetherbee, Diana has visited North Andover High School, Methuen High School, Lawrence High School, Haverhill’s Hunking Middle School and Lawrence’s South East Middle School on her Civic Education Tour.

Governor Signs Campaign Finance Bill Into Law

On the heels of its unanimous passage by the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate, Gov. Deval Patrick has signed into law campaign finance reform legislation sponsored by Diana.

With the passage of House Bill 3760, An Act relative to strengthening campaign finance reporting requirements, prior campaign finance report law will extended to candidates for municipal office who file with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Previously, candidates for state or county office who failed to file campaign finance reports were prohibited from appearing on an election ballot, yet this law did not apply to municipal candidates.

“Candidates in municipal elections who file with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance will now be held to the same standards as those running in state and county elections,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “This measure was long overdue and I am grateful to my colleagues in both the House and Senate and the Governor for joining with me to pass this important legislation into law. This common sense law will bring more transparency to our government and a longtime loophole is now closed.”

Diana Celebrates Children’s Book Week with Tenney Grammar School

Children's Book Week

Diana joined Tenney Grammar School during its celebration of the 95th annual Children’s Book Week.

Children’s Book Week is a nationwide celebration designed to connect young readers with literature. Events are held at schools, bookstores, libraries and more.

“It was an honor and pleasure to join the amazing students and faculty at Tenney for Children’s Book Week,” said Diana, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “Events like these are so important as we work to ensure our youth grasp reading concepts and skills early on in their education.”

In addition to Tenney, Diana, who serves on the Joint Committee on Education in the State House, has been visiting schools across the Merrimack Valley on a Civic Education Tour since the fall. The tour is designed to educate students about democracy and what it means to be a citizen.

House Budget Includes Funding to Assist Merrimack Valley Veterans

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The Massachusetts House of Representatives has included in its FY’15 Budget an amendment, sponsored by Diana, for funding to assist the Career Resources Corporation (CRC) in its effort to assist disabled veterans seeking job opportunities.

Based in Haverhill, CRC is a non-profit organization that serves communities across the Merrimack Valley. For 40 years, it has been working to empower individuals with disabilities and other barriers to be self-sufficient and successful.

Its partnership with Valley Works Career Center, the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center and the City of Haverhill Veterans’ Services has provided local veterans with comprehensive support to seek and maintain employment.

“With the inclusion of this amendment, CRC has estimated it will be able to serve an additional 27 veterans in the Merrimack Valley who are seeking employment,” said Diana, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “I want to express my deepest gratitude to House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill) for his leadership in fighting with me for these funds and to Brad Howell and everyone else at CRC for the amazing work they are doing in the community every day.”

“Unemployment among veterans remains comparatively high to the overall population,” said State Representative Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen). “Representative DiZoglio and CRC are to be commended for their efforts to bring this amendment forward.”