I am pleased to share with you an update on a very busy week that will set the tone for this legislative year.
Monday began in earnest, preparing for two 100+ participant events in Boston.
- The first was an industry-led rally to preserve the film tax credit. More than two hundred blue collar employees from the film industry came out from across the state to ask their senators to preserve the film tax credit in their budget. In the House of Representatives, Majority Leader Ron Mariano and I successfully led the charge to keep the tax credit as is.
I am also proud of the group led by Cape Ann Chamber CEO Ken Riehl and President Catherine Schlichte, as well as and Film Cape Ann’s Meg Montagnino-Jarrett and Di Barry, who organized Cape Ann Businesses to come to the State House earlier this year and testify in favor of the Film Tax Credit- their efforts gave us much needed momentum to build strong support in the House.
- The second event was a gathering of over 100 tech businesses from Massachusetts, which are involved in the “Internet of Things”. The “IoT” is a phrase used to describe the manner in which devices communicate with each other using internet connections such as NEST thermostats, the Apple iWatch, and FitBit. Senator Karen Spilka of Ashland and I co-chair the Tech Hub Caucus, which brings businesses together to work with legislators to create more jobs and develop technology here in Massachusetts.
After the Conference on the “Internet of Things,” I left for Washington, D.C. to meet with Police Chief Lenny Campanello. While there, we met with the Massachusetts delegation, including Senators Warren, Markey and Congressman Moulton. We also had a chance to speak with Governor Baker, who was meeting with the federal delegation on other matters.
In addition to the delegation, we met with Michael Botticelli, the head of the nation’s Drug Policy Agency. Botticelli, originally from Massachusetts, endorsed our efforts and will be providing assistance in further developing the chief’s program.
We returned from Washington on Wednesday night and immediately began preparing for our Friday event: bringing industry leaders from Verizon, Vertex, Apple, Applied Materials, iRobot, EMC, Mass Tech Collaborative and Mass Life Sciences to the O’Maley Innovation School to see the work that the students and instructors are doing in Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
The tech leaders and I were very impressed by the efforts that our students and educators are undertaking. The students are learning to build bridges, to design and construct vehicles propelled by sail, and to look at their own DNA through microscopes among other activities. The teachers are excited and engaged in their curriculum, and their enthusiasm was clearly visible.
Monday will begin this week with a trip to Truro to speak with Cape Cod’s Chambers of Commerce. This is the first of many trips to hear thoughts and plans from Chambers across the state. These discussions will be incorporated into the work of the Committee on Community Development and Small Business, which I co-chair with my senate colleague, Senator Katie O’Connor Ives of Newburyport.