DiZoglio Sworn in as State Senator for the 1st Essex District

inauguration photo

Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) has officially been sworn in as the new State Senator for the 1st Essex District.

DiZoglio is among the five newly elected members of the State Senate and the only freshman senator to move from the House of Representatives, where she served three terms representing residents in Methuen, North Andover, Haverhill and Lawrence in the 14th Essex District.

She succeeds Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, who served the 1st Essex District for three terms as State Senator.

In addition to Haverhill, Methuen, Newburyport and four wards in North Andover, DiZoglio will represent the towns of Amesbury, Merrimac and Salisbury in the 1st Essex.

Following her swearing in, the Merrimack Valley’s newest state senator said she is ready to hit the ground running on the issues of critical importance for her constituents.

“I’m so humbled to have the opportunity to continue serving the residents of the Merrimack Valley. I can’t wait to get straight to work for the people in our community,” said DiZoglio. “Thank you to everyone who put their faith in me to represent you on Beacon Hill. I will work hard to take our collective work to the next level as your state senator.”

DiZoglio Honors North Andover Soccer Teams

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the U-18 and U-16 Boys North Andover soccer teams for a celebration at the Massachusetts State House.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the U-18 and U-16 Boys North Andover soccer teams for a celebration at the Massachusetts State House.

In honor of their success this past season, State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the U-18 and U-16 Boys North Andover soccer teams for a celebration at the Massachusetts State House.

Earlier this summer, the North Andover Soccer Association’s FC United U18 team emerged victorious in the Essex County playoffs, scoring its second state title in three years. This is the sixth occasion in which FC United, made up of all juniors, has taken the Essex County title. FC United’s playoff record was 8-0, as they scored 20 goals while giving up a mere six. As a group, the team, which has been together since the fifth grade, has scored 94 victories, a feat never accomplished by another youth soccer team in the Commonwealth.

In addition to a luncheon honoring the players’ achievements, the teams had the opportunity to tour the State House and meet with the Representative. DiZoglio brought the teams into the House Chamber, where they sat in the seats of legislators, as the Representative explained how ideas become laws.

“It was an honor to host so many talented and dedicated athletes at the State House for this well-deserved recognition in their honor,” said DiZoglio. “Their extraordinary efforts, both on and off the field, are to be commended.”

North Andover Seniors Day on Beacon Hill

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the North Andover Senior Center for a visit to the Massachusetts State House.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the North Andover Senior Center for a visit to the Massachusetts State House.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the North Andover Senior Center for a visit at the Massachusetts State House.

Following brunch and a historical tour of the building, DiZoglio brought the seniors into the House Chamber where they sat in the seats of legislators as the Representative discussed the legislative process.

“I have strived during my time as State Representative for the 14th Essex District to host events like these that bring our amazing seniors together,” said DiZoglio. “It is so important that we keep our older adults independent, socially engaged and active and I look forward to sponsoring many more future gatherings.”

Young Women Career Day at Haverhill High School

Haverhill High Young Women Career Day participants, from left to right – State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), Kate Cook, Emily Dello Russo, Jennifer Cantwell, Melissa Cerasuolo, Officer Andrea Fogarty, Judge Mary McCabe, Jessi Iwanaki, Leanne Petrou, Hillary Rogers, Diana Almanzar,  Ivette Korecki and Lindsey Goldstein

Haverhill High Young Women Career Day participants, from left to right – State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), Kate Cook, Emily Dello Russo, Jennifer Cantwell, Melissa Cerasuolo, Officer Andrea Fogarty, Judge Mary McCabe, Jessi Iwanaki, Leanne Petrou, Hillary Rogers, Diana Almanzar, Ivette Korecki and Lindsey Goldstein (Photo courtesy of Marilyn Caradonna)

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the first-ever Young Women Career Day for female students at Haverhill High School.

The two-hour program, held on June 12, featured a panel of women from Haverhill and neighboring cities and towns who work in a variety of career fields, including a police officer, attorney, realtor, judge and more. Participants discussed themselves and their careers, including job duties, education backgrounds and favorite and least favorite parts of their jobs. Students then had the opportunity to personally engage with each panelist.

“I was honored to be among so many amazing young women for Career Day at Haverhill High,” said DiZoglio. “Growing up, I did not have many opportunities to become acquainted with different career paths. I launched Young Women Career Day as a way to empower local young women, expose them to new career possibilities and connect them with women making a real different in the community. Thank you to Haverhill High for providing me and my fellow panelists with this amazing opportunity to highlight the diverse variety of careers these talented students can, with hard work and determination, pursue after high school.”

“In high school I knew very little about my career options, especially the fields in which I eventually went to work in,” said Jennifer Cantwell, director of inmate work release at the Essex County Sheriff’s Department. “The opportunity to speak to these students about my journey, particularly my work in a non-conventional role, moreover in a male-dominated field, was a way to share my experiences. Events and opportunities like these are essential to inspire young women to find their paths and realize their own potential.”

“I was so honored to be asked to be a participant in this event,” said Hillary Rogers, membership and media manager at the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce. “Being able to give some insight on the college and post-college process was extremely rewarding. I got to build relationships with these young women in such a short period of time and look forward to seeing where they end up. We’re so honored to have a State Representative like Diana DiZoglio who realizes the importance of career and college readiness for young women.”

“It was so much fun to share my career path and experiences with these young women,” said Leanne Petrou, vice president of marketing and community relations at Pentucket Bank. “It was a unique opportunity not only for the students to ask some ‘real talk’ questions but for us as presenters to provide some practical advice based on each of our experiences. These students already seemed to know the importance of education but hopefully after today they also feel more confident in taking risks, making mistakes and learning from them, networking, and opening the door every time opportunity knocks because something great could be on the other side.”

“I told the girls one of the most important things to do in life is just show up,” said Melissa Cerasuolo, business development officer at Haverhill Bank. “This morning, they showed up and listened and you never know who you will meet!”

“Two of the juniors stood behind and said to me that they felt inspired,” said Ivette Korecki, vice president at TD Bank. “I said high school is temporary, keep focused. Remember there is only one of you and we need you to inspire and change the world.”

House Passes Civic Education Bill

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed a comprehensive bill to promote and expand civic education in the Commonwealth.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen)’s legislation, House Bill 2022, An Act relative to civic education in public schools, was adopted into Senate Bill 2375, An Act to promote and enhance civic engagement, a comprehensive bill which directs the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to ensure that all public schools provide instruction in American history, civics and media literacy, including participation in a civics project that will be a requirement for graduating high school.

“During my time in office, I have visited schools across the Merrimack Valley to discuss the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government and, through interactive mock committee and jury hearings, educate students about how to participate in our democratic process and what it means to be a citizen,” said DiZoglio. “Our classrooms, unfortunately, have all too often lacked a robust civic learning curriculum to teach students about what government does in our daily lives so I am thrilled to make some progress in educating and empowering our youth to get involved in the process.”

In Spring 2015, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education convened a working group to publish a report on civic learning in the Commonwealth. The group surveyed Massachusetts superintendents about the status of civic learning in the districts and, of the 80 superintendents who responded, 59 percent rated the level of civil learning in their districts as “insufficient.” Only 1 percent stated their school district had an “extensive” civics program. 65 percent of the superintendents stated their districts offered only “a few or limited” or “occasional” opportunities for civics learning.

“It is long overdue that all of our students be educated on how to register to vote, the history of voting as a constitutional right and the makeup and role of the branches of local, state, and federal government, among other topics,” said DiZoglio. “It is essential that youth begin to genuinely grasp these basic concepts to ensure that they are able to actively participate and engage in the process as they are entering into adulthood.”

House Passes DiZoglio Bill to Assist Veterans with Cost of Emergency Medical Services

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed legislation sponsored by State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) to assist veterans in need of emergency medical assistance.

Currently, veterans in need of emergency medical attention who are not near a VA hospital are transported to the nearest non-VA hospital, where they do not necessarily receive the same coverage provided to those who are near a VA hospital. Depending on income, health care services are often covered in full by VA benefits at a VA hospital.

DiZoglio’s legislation, House Bill 2765, An Act establishing emergency medical services for veterans, was included as part of a comprehensive veterans benefit bill passed by the House on May 23. The bill directs the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Department of Veterans’ Services and the Center for Health Information and Analysis to conduct an investigation into the transportation of veterans in emergency medical situations to non-VA hospitals.

The study, which is to be completed by no later than March 2019, will determine reimbursement guidelines for ambulance services to non-VA hospitals and identify any gaps to insure proper continuity of care for veterans.

DiZoglio was inspired to file this legislation by Newbury resident Donald Jarvis, a disabled combat veteran.

“I am very grateful that Representative DiZoglio is helping to lead the charge on this,” said Jarvis. “This will impact every veteran in the Commonwealth, whether they served two years or 20 years in the military. When we are in an emergency, our veterans are there for us and now it is time for us to be there for them. We owe it to our veterans to have their backs when they need us most.”

“This bill is so important to me because right now, no one can seem to agree on what it is exactly that America stands for,” said Army veteran Sara Keefe. “Fortunately, everyone seems to be united in the belief that our brave servicemen and woman were issued a promise in exchange for their oath, and we have fallen shamefully short on fulfilling that promise. It is a travesty and a disgrace to our country that we would even consider anything other than taking care of the very basic essential medical needs of those that were willing to sacrifice everything for the security and comfort of those that could not or would not do so themselves.”

“One of the obstacles our veterans face is transportation,” said Joseph Leblanc, District Director of Veterans Services for the Town of North Andover. “Even more daunting is transportation for veterans who are non-ambulatory, or wheel chair bound. There isn’t much out there. The services that are in place are overtasked and understaffed or very convoluted to access.”

“All too often, veterans in need of emergency medical services find themselves saddled with huge medical costs because there are gaps in the current system,” said DiZoglio. “If you’re a veteran and don’t live near a VA hospital, you will most likely be transferred to the closest hospital if you have a medical emergency. If you were taken to a VA hospital, your emergency care would be covered by the VA. Unfortunately, emergency medical services provided to veterans at a non-VA hospital do not always end up being covered by the VA. There are gaps in the process and many have had to figure out how to pay out of pocket when they shouldn’t have. We need to make sure that the system is fair and equitable for all of our heroes regardless of their zip code and how far away they live from a VA hospital. This measure will provide legislative solutions to make sure these gaps are filled, potentially saving many from unnecessary exorbitant emergency medical costs.”

DiZoglio Hosts Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Day

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) with Charles Brown, North Andover resident and Public Policy and Advocacy Volunteer with the Michael J. Fox Foundation

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) with Charles Brown, North Andover resident and Public Policy and Advocacy Volunteer with the Michael J. Fox Foundation

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted advocates from the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth at the State House for the fourth annual meeting of the state legislature’s Parkinson’s Disease Caucus.

DiZoglio serves as chair of the caucus and provided legislators an opportunity to learn more about Parkinson’s and consider legislative steps to address the neurological disease, which affects an estimated one million Americans and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that 60,000 people are diagnosed each year in the U.S. with Parkinson’s and its prevalence is expected to more than double by the year 2040. The exact cause of the disease, which is chronic and progressive, with no treatment to slow or halt its progression, remains unknown.

Joining the Representative for the caucus meeting were the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Massachusetts chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA).

During the caucus, DiZoglio presented a resolution, co-sponsored by 46 other legislators from across the Commonwealth, proclaiming April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month in Massachusetts.

DiZoglio officially created and launched the Parkinson’s Disease Caucus in November 2015.

“What began as a State House proclamation a few years ago declaring April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month has turned into an annual event that legislators have taken a real interest in,” said Charles Brown, North Andover resident and Public Policy and Advocacy Volunteer with the Michael J. Fox Foundation. “There are several bills in the making that will benefit the Parkinson’s community in Massachusetts, as we pave the way for other states to follow. I am proud to be a part of this event and the relationships I have formed with Representative DiZoglio and her aide Andrew Carden. We will find a cure – until then, we are a community.”

“An event like this is important because it raises awareness for Massachusetts legislators and citizens,” said Dan Harvey, board member of the APDA Massachusetts Chapter. “We are very fortunate in Massachusetts that there are excellent movement disorders clinics and hospitals, many support services and major investments of research being done. But we can do more, meeting with our state and federal legislators, developing relationships, working together.”

“Greater research, education and community support services are necessary to find more effective treatments and to provide access to quality care to those with Parkinson’s Disease,” said DiZoglio. “I am honored to serve as chair of this caucus and committed to continue raising awareness about the disease with citizens from the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth.”

“I was proud to join this event, support Rep. DiZoglio’s important effort and read the Senate resolution, as we continue to spread awareness about this disease,” said State Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), who presented a resolution from the State Senate, recognizing April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month.

Running for State Senate!

Diana 2018 2

I am pleased to announce my candidacy to serve as State Senator for the 1st Essex District. I’m thankful for the service of Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives over the past several years, and I look forward to building upon her progress as she moves onto the next chapter of her life.

It has been an honor to serve the people of Haverhill, Methuen, North Andover and Lawrence as their State Representative for the last 6 years. As my community knows, I have been on a mission to bring accountability and change to Beacon Hill. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth the fight.

In the coming months, I look forward to speaking with residents in Amesbury, Haverhill, Merrimac, Methuen, Newburyport, North Andover, and Salisbury. As your senator, I will continue to work to generate economic opportunity for all, advocate for increased transparency from our elected officials, and support critical investments in education, public safety, anti-addiction efforts, veterans and senior services along with infrastructure.

I’m fired up about the campaign ahead, but I can’t win this election without your help. If you share my passion, please consider donating to my campaign or signing up to serve as a volunteer!

DiZoglio Hosts Civic Education Day at Haverhill High School

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) demonstrates using a cell phone while driving during Civic Education Day at Haverhill High School. The Representative engaged students in a debate over legislation pertaining to hands-free cell phone use while driving.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) demonstrates using a cell phone while driving during Civic Education Day at Haverhill High School. The Representative engaged students in a debate over legislation pertaining to hands-free cell phone use while driving.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently visited Haverhill High School as the latest stop on her Civic Education Tour to engage and educate students across the Merrimack Valley.

The program, which the Representative in recent years has also brought to schools in North Andover, Methuen and Lawrence, was designed to educate students about what it means to be a citizen and how to be active in the democratic process. Students had the opportunity to debate legislation pertaining to hands-free cell phone use while driving.

In today’s high schools, civic education is often only offered toward the end of a student’s studies, in twelfth grade. On the latest national civics assessment, administered by the National Assessment Governing Board, two-thirds of students scored below “proficient.” Another recent survey found that more than a quarter of college students reported they did not register to vote because they did not know how to do so

“Texting while driving is a serious issue and I’m glad that Rep DiZoglio and other representatives in Massachusetts have been taking steps in the right direction to resolve it,” said Eleanor Coffin, Haverhill High junior.

“Representative DiZoglio gave us relevant advice on how to work together to solve problems the same way the Massachusetts legislature does,” said Olivia Rodgers, Haverhill High junior. “She connected her experiences with ours. It was a great visit.”

“I appreciated the fact that Representative DiZoglio spoke to us about the issues the Massachusetts legislature has before it and she included us in the decision making process,” Evan Tsioropoulos, Haverhill High freshman.

“I can’t thank the Representative enough for taking the time to come and meet with my Civics class,” said Shaun Ashworth, Haverhill High history teacher. “I place high importance on creating a connection between the community and the high school. It provides students with a tangible opportunity to interact with the curriculum and further spark interest in what they’re learning”

“All too often, our classrooms lack a strong civic learning program to educate our youth about what state government does in our daily lives,” said DiZoglio. “It was an honor to join the amazing students of Haverhill High School as I discussed how bills become laws with this next generation of leaders. Thank you to Mr. Ashworth for having me for this wonderful occasion.”

DiZoglio’s visit came on the heels of her civic education legislation being passed by the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education.

House Bill 2022, An Act relative to civic education in public schools, was passed as part of a comprehensive civic education package to require all public elementary and high schools to teach American history and civics.

State Grants Awarded to Methuen, Lawrence, Haverhill to Combat Youth Gang Violence

The cities of Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill have been named recipients of funding from the Commonwealth’s Shannon Community Safety Initiative to address regional youth gang violence.

The competitive Shannon program is designed to support approaches to and create strategies for reducing youth gang violence, such as community policy, youth mentoring and improving relationships among families, law enforcement and school faculty.

The City of Lawrence has received $214,700 in funding, while the cities of Methuen and Haverhill will share $130,000. Additionally, UMass Lowell has received $98,858, including $26,953 to the Haverhill/Methuen site, $26,953 to the Lawrence site and $44,952 to the Lowell site.

Funds are administered by the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security.

“Receiving the Shannon Grant again this year allows us to continue our community education program and Safe Haven homework center in the Arlington Neighborhood,” said Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon. “Together with the community and this funding we are providing children who are at risk with an alternative to a gang lifestyle.”
“This funding will allow us to expand and enhance our gang resistance initiative by adding a rehabilitation component to include job skills training,” said Haverhill Police Chief Alan DeNaro. “We believe no enforcement solution will succeed long term without an educational component.”

“These important funds will empower our communities in continued efforts to engage at-risk youth and provide them with a direction away from gang activity,” said State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen). “I look forward to working closely alongside our incredible local law enforcement and community-based partners in confronting these serious problems.”

“Shannon Grant funding has been essential to Haverhill’s efforts to address gang violence in our city,” said State Representative Andy Vargas (D-Haverhill). “We know that through effective prevention and community-based intervention strategies, we can provide young people with positive opportunities and outcomes.”