2017 was a trying year, but I can’t help feeling hopeful as I reflect on the progress we’ve made in the past 12 months. Despite what I see on cable news or while scrolling through my Twitter feed, I feel a positive wave of energy throughout Massachusetts, and I want to thank everyone who’s helped make that happen.
Together, we took on comprehensive criminal justice reform - a course correction that will improve fairness and equity in our criminal justice system. Under the progressive leadership of Speaker DeLeo, we worked on crucial women’s health initiatives: guaranteeing access to women’s contraceptives despite changes at the national level and ensuring equal treatment of pregnant workers. We fundamentally improved the way we teach English language learners, so students have the tools to succeed in our booming economy. And we affirmed our belief in science and the fight against climate change by voting to commit Massachusetts to the Paris Climate Agreement.
In our communities in Boston and Brookline, we’ve made significant strides in the past year. Mission Hill Neighborhood Housing Services opened transit-oriented affordable housing units at Roxbury Crossing to fulfill a 10-year community vision. The youth at Hyde Square Task Force brought the Jackson Square Rec Center one step closer to completion when they found the TD Garden owed money for youth rec centers. The community-driven effort to renovate the Jamaica Plain Branch Library came to completion. And we secured funds to improve safety at Perkins Street and Parkman Drive in JP.
All of this is to say that I still have hope. None of this progress would be possible without countless community members, volunteers, and advocates. Your tireless efforts to improve our community is what drives my work every day at the State House. And in my new role as chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, it will continue to influence and inspire me in the coming months.
I know we still face difficulties. But despite the cloud of uncertainty in Washington DC, I know that we can continue to make progress. Through the power of unity, together we can continue to make a real difference in the lives of all people in our communities, in Boston, in Brookline, and across Massachusetts.
Thank you, and Happy New Year.