Governor Baker Appoints Sheila Hubbard to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

Governor Charlie Baker announced the appointment of Sheila Hubbard to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). The Commission serves as the state’s chief civil rights agency charged with the authority to investigate, prosecute, adjudicate, and resolve cases of discrimination. 

“Sheila Hubbard’s extensive legal experience protecting citizens’ rights and her willingness to fight for equality and justice make her an outstanding addition to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I am confident that with her appointment, the Commission will continue to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth from all forms of discrimination.”;

The MCAD is an independent agency of the Commonwealth, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The MCAD protects individuals in numerous protected categories including race, color, creed, national origin, age, disability, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation by enforcing the Commonwealth’s anti-discrimination laws in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, and education.

The Commissioners of MCAD are appointed by the Governor, serve terms of three years and are each delegated regional responsibilities in the Springfield, New Bedford and Boston regions. Ms. Hubbard will join Commission Chair Jamie R. Williamson and Commissioner Sunila Thomas George.

For more about the MCAD, visit:

About Sheila A. Hubbard

Sheila A. Hubbard, an experienced public and non-profit sector attorney, currently serves as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission and was previously the Executive Director of the Volunteer Lawyers Project in Boston. She was also Associate Director of the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising at her alma mater of Harvard Law School and Senior Program Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. After serving under City of Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn as an attorney, policy analyst and the Director of the Minority and Women Business Office, Hubbard joined the Weld Administration as Deputy Legal Counsel, and was later appointed Chair of the Massachusetts Parole Board. A member of the Massachusetts Bar, Ms. Hubbard graduated from Yale with a B.S. in Sociology and Political Science before attending Harvard Law School.

Baker-Polito Administration Proposes Historic Education Funding; $40 Million Increase in Local Aid

Local aid to increase by 100% of projected revenue growth; over $4.7 billion total for public schools

The Massachusetts Municipal Association’s (MMA) Annual Meeting, Governor Charlie Baker announced the Baker-Polito Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget proposal will include an increase of over $91 million in Chapter 70 education funding, totaling over $4.7 billion in total aid to public schools, including an increase of at least $20 per pupil to all 322 operating districts. The budget will also include a $40 million increase (to a total of $1.062 billion) in unrestricted local aid to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns, representing 100% of the rate of increase of projected tax revenue growth.

We are committed to investing in our cities and towns to support their efforts to drive our Commonwealth’s economic growth and prepare our children for a successful future,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are proud of the strong municipal partnerships our administration has fostered and look forward to more collaboration ahead as we strive for stronger schools and communities.”;

Yesterday at the MMA’s Opening Session, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced the administration’s plans for an $8.8 million local funding and grant package for municipalities, including $4 million for Community Compact grants and $2.8 million for the District Local Technical Assistance Program in the FY18 operating budget and $2 million in the FY18 Capital Budget, released in the spring, for the Community Compact IT Grant Program.  Lt. Governor Karyn Polito has served as a champion for the administration’s municipal partnerships, entering into 252 Community Compacts that represent over 600 community-crafted, mutual best practices aimed at improving local fiscal policies, sustainable energy practices and advancing economic development and affordable housing.

“As former local officials, Governor Baker and I appreciate the importance of our municipal relationships and the certainty state government can deliver in local aid increases and historic education funding levels,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Through the Community Compact Program, we have been fortunate to work closely with leaders from our cities, towns, and regional planning agencies to build strong local partnerships.”;

“The administration has kept to its commitment of supporting our communities,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore. “From local aid to the Community Compact to updating laws and regulations, we have made certain that local governments have the tools they need to succeed.”

In his budget proposals to date, Governor Baker has honored a commitment to increase unrestricted local aid by 75% of projected revenue growth in his first budget, and 100% of growth in subsequent years. A 3.9% consensus projected revenue growth for FY’18 was announced by Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore and the chairs of the Senate and House Ways and Means Committees earlier this year.

Last summer, Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito joined local officials to celebrate the passage and signing of municipal modernization reform legislation, enhancing partnerships between state and municipal governments by eliminating or updating obsolete laws, promoting local independence, streamlining state oversight and providing municipalities with greater flexibility.

Massachusetts New Governor's Corner

Governor Baker Nominates Justice Elspeth Cypher to Supreme Judicial Court

Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced the nomination of Massachusetts Appeals Court Senior Associate Justice Elspeth “Ellie” B. Cypher to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). The nomination is Governor Baker’s fourth to the Commonwealth’s highest court. If confirmed by the Governor’s Council, Justice Cypher will replace retiring Justice Margo Botsford.

“Justice Cypher will bring nearly three decades of broad civil and criminal, trial and appellate experience, including the last sixteen years on the Appeals Court, to the Supreme Judicial Court,” said Governor Baker. “We thank Justice Botsford for her service, wish her well in her retirement and also appreciate the work of the Supreme Judicial Court Nominating Commission, my Chief Legal Counsel Lon Povich and Judicial Nominating Commission Executive Director Sharon Casey, in recommending diverse and experienced candidates. I am confident that, if confirmed, Justice Cypher’s temperament and understanding of the law will continue to advance the strong tradition of the Commonwealth’s highest court.”

Justice Cypher was joined by family, friends and colleagues for the formal announcement today at the State House with the Governor and Lt. Governor. 

“The Supreme Judicial Court and the citizens of the Commonwealth will be well served with the addition of Justice Cypher’s sense of justice and civil and knowledge of the law,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “We are, on behalf of the Commonwealth, grateful for the service of Justice Botsford, and look forward to the Governor’s Council’s consideration of Justice Cypher who has demonstrated her ability to work closely with her colleagues and consider matters fairly and impartially in service to the court and all those who appear before it.”;

"Justice Cypher is one of the Appeals Court’s finest judges,” said Chief Justice Scott Kafker. “She is fair, experienced and wise and would be an admirable addition to the Supreme Judicial Court."

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is the Commonwealth's highest appellate court, consisting of the Chief Justice and six Associate Justices. The seven Justices hear appeals on a broad range of criminal and civil cases from September through May and issue written opinions that are posted online.

For more information about the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, visit http://www.mass.gov/courts/court-info/sjc/. 

In February of 2016, Governor Baker named a statewide 12-member Supreme Judicial Nominating Commission (SJC-NC) to recruit, screen and recommend applicants to fill an unprecedented number of upcoming vacancies on the Commonwealth’s highest court.

Associate Justices Kimberly Budd, Frank Gaziano and David Lowy joined the SJC last summer following their nomination by Governor Baker and unanimous approvals by the Governor’s Council. The process was re-opened last October with the expected retirements of Justice Botsford and Justice Geraldine Hines later this year. All judicial nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council.

About Justice Elspeth “Ellie” B. Cypher:

The Honorable Elspeth “Ellie” B. Cypher was appointed to the Massachusetts Appeals Court in 2000 by Governor Paul Cellucci and now serves as the Senior Associate Justice. In addition to fulfilling the courts role of hearing and deciding criminal and civil appellate cases, Justice Cypher’s role includes chairing the personnel committee and assisting the Chief Justice, Scott L. Kafker, with management of cases and court staff, and fulfilling the duties of the Chief Justice in the event of illness or absence.

Prior to her appointment to the Appeals Court, Justice Cypher served for twelve years with the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney (1988-1993), and later, Chief of Appeals (1993-2000). There she supervised attorneys and support staff in the District Attorney’s Office and wrote and edited appellate briefs and argued cases before the Appeals and Supreme Judicial Courts. From 1994-2006, Justice Cypher also served as a Senior Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Massachusetts School of Law, formerly the Southern New England School of Law. Before joining public service and upon obtaining her law degree, Justice Cypher represented clients in employment law, personal injury, consumer protection and criminal matters for Grayer, Brown and Dilday, a small general practice law firm in Boston.

Justice Cypher earned her Bachelor of Arts from Emerson College in 1980 and obtained her juris doctorate degree from Suffolk University Law School in 1986 where she was also a Literary Editor of the Law Review. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Justice Cypher and her wife, Sharon Levesque, reside in Assonet and have one son.


Governor Charlie Baker today announced the appointment of Alison Schonwald, MD to the pediatric position of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care (EEC).  Dr. Schonwald is a Pediatrician in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

“Dr. Schonwald is a leader in child development with a distinguished career providing primary care to underserved children and their families,” said Governor Baker.  “With her numerous achievements in clinical practice, teaching, research, and community service, I am pleased to appoint such an esteemed medical professional to the Board of Early Education and Care.”;

“Through her medical practice, Dr. Schonwald has significant experience in serving a diverse population of children and families from across the Commonwealth, and she brings to the Board additional knowledge of best practices in the field from the science of early childhood development,” said Secretary of Education Jim Peyser.  “Dr. Schonwald is deeply committed to the field of early education and care and I welcome her to the Board.”;

“Dr. Schonwald brings specialized knowledge to the Board that will bolster the effort to build a high-quality, effective early education system for all children,” said Board Chair Nonie Lesaux. “In particular, Dr. Schonwald’s expertise in the use of screening tools, and insights on how best to enhance coordination of services for children -- especially children with developmental needs -- will help us work toward a statewide approach that maximizes every child’s potential.”;

“I welcome Dr. Schonwald to the Board and look forward to working with her in advancing the Department’s mission to provide all children with high-quality early education and care opportunities,” said Commissioner Tom Weber.  “Dr. Schonwald’s deep medical expertise and extensive community service experience will contribute significantly to the Commonwealth’s comprehensive efforts to support our children’s lifelong success.”;

"We know so much about the importance of a child's experiences during the early years and the impact of those experiences on a range of long-term outcomes," said Dr. Schonwald.  "I've been so lucky to train and practice in Massachusetts and I am now excited for this opportunity to give back by working with the EEC Board on behalf of children and families in our state."   

About Alison Schonwald, MD:

Dr. Alison Schonwald is a Pediatrician in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Schonwald received her medical degree from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed her Residency and Fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital.  Dr. Schonwald is co-director of training in the Developmental Medicine Center, is active in the American Academy of Pediatrics, and teaches human development at Harvard Medical School. Her clinical expertise include autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and psychopharmacology for children with disabilities, about which she lectures nationally.

About the Board of Early Education and Care:

The Board of Early Education and Care oversees the administration of early education and care and out-of-school time programs in Massachusetts. Under the Board's oversight and regulations, the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) licenses child care programs, residential programs, and adoption/foster care placement agencies; provides financial assistance for over 56,000 children to attend high-quality programs that support their growth, development and learning; and provides information and referral services, inclusive programming for children with special needs, parenting and family support, and professional development opportunities for early educators. The Board of Early Education and Care's mission is to provide a system of early education and care and out-of-school time in Massachusetts that provides all children with the necessary foundation for healthy and positive educational development and lifelong success. For more information on the Board of Early Education and Care, please visit:

Baker-Polito Administration’s Seaport Economic Council Awards $5 Million to 13 Communities

Funding will restore infrastructure critical to the maritime economy while generating regional economic growth

The Baker-Polito Administration’s Seaport Economic Council announced a total of $5 million in awards for 13 coastal communities. The grant awards will advance collaborative initiatives to improve public infrastructure and promote maritime economic development in a wide array of coastal cities and towns.

“The Blue Economy is an integral component of Massachusetts’s long-term economic growth, in sectors as diverse as robotics and commercial fishing,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These investments will help modernize and repair vital infrastructure in New Bedford, encourage research and development in Falmouth, and generate maritime economic growth from Gloucester to Tisbury.”

“Massachusetts has built a globally competitive economy on our ability to leverage the Commonwealth’s unique strengths, skills, and physical assets,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, chair of the Seaport Economic Council. “The Seaport Economic Council gives coastal communities the tools to advance collaborative work and community-based plans that will encourage sustainable growth.”

“The Baker-Polito Administration, and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, remain committed to supporting our 78 coastal cities and towns by making investments in waterfront planning and coastal assets which generate economic development,” said Deputy Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Carolyn Kirk, vice-chair of the Seaport Economic Council. “Community-driven economic development which leverages local assets is proven to grow our economy locally and regionally.”

The Seaport Economic Council advances the Baker-Polito Administration’s support for communities and residents across the state by leveraging unique economic assets to drive sustainable regional growth. The council was re-launched in August 2015, with a mission to deepen the maritime economy, promote economic development, and support resilient infrastructure in all 78 of Massachusetts’ coastal communities while preparing them to engage with the challenges posed by sea level rise and increasingly powerful coastal storms. The council’s capital grant program supports working waterfronts, local tourism, coastal resiliency, and maritime innovation, from the North Shore to Cape Cod and the South Coast.

Grant Recipients

Beverly - $400,000

The City of Beverly will replace the existing anchor system for its Glover Wharf with guide piles to address safety and equipment concerns for boaters and staff. This award, which will increase Glover Wharf’s commercial and recreational viability,

builds on previous work conducted with the Office of Coastal Zone Management and compliments ongoing efforts to protect Glover Wharf and Beverly’s waterfront.

Beverly - $80,000

The City of Beverly will create a Municipal Harbor Plan as part of its long-term goals to support commercial and recreational activity on the waterfront, and strengthen the local economy. This plan will look to catalogue existing and potential uses of the waterfront, identify solutions for transportation issues, examine how to link the waterfront to Beverly’s downtown, and recommend policies to strengthen the existing character and beauty of the area.

Cohasset - $80,000

Cohasset will produce a waterfront plan as part of its efforts to plan and prioritize future harbor work. Proper planning and investment will allow the Town to use existing revenues to support and grow businesses, including the lobster fleet and marine-related retail businesses near the harbor. The plan will also help lay the groundwork for enhanced linkages between the harbor and Cohasset’s downtown.

Falmouth - $500,000

The Town of Falmouth will partner with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to conduct a feasibility study and preliminary design to redevelop WHOI’s Iselin Dock and related facilities. Iselin Dock is one of the key enablers of Falmouth’s $400 million annual oceanographic research and marine operations economy, supporting scientific and engineering testing and research. The dock is deteriorating and nearing the end of its useful design life. Replacing the dock will allow Falmouth to remain at the forefront of maritime research nationally.

Gloucester - $80,000

Gloucester is the oldest fishing port in America, and it is critical to the economic health of the city that visitors – especially visiting boaters – feel welcome and have access to the resources they need. In order to advance Gloucester’s maritime and tourism economies, the City will use Seaport Economic Council funds for a site selection study that will examine co-locating a visiting boater support facility with the Harbormaster’s office, to offer resources and amenities including changing rooms, showers, laundry facilities, public restrooms, and common space with Wi-Fi access.

Hull - $64,000

The Town of Hull will use Seaport Economic Council funds to develop a Nantasket Beach Revitalization Unified Work Plan. Given the complex and varied stakeholder needs that must be addressed in a successful revitalization of Nantasket Beach, Hull will bring together the Town, the Redevelopment Authority, state agencies, and private property owners in a collaborative planning effort to provide long-term direction and planning use. This effort will build on previous collaboratively-led projects, including the Nantasket Avenue rebuild, an approved smart growth overlay district, and a two-way road conversion study to support transportation, recreation, housing, and economic development in the area.

Hull - $45,000

The Town of Hull has prioritized the redevelopment of Pemberton Point, and Seaport Economic Council funding will advance this local priority, by enabling the Town to launch a collaborative planning process to improve services and expand economic activity. The study will examine ways to promote and encourage commercial and residential growth, improve infrastructure, and long-term planning for a sustainable maritime facility.

Manchester-by-the-Sea - $327,000

The Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea will assess and repair its public seawall stretching from Morss Pier to Reed Park, after several sinkholes formed in the walkways and sidewalks. Infrastructure deterioration has restricted access for residents and commercial operations, and repairing the seawall will support continued maritime employment.

New Bedford - $1,000,000

New Bedford will use Seaport Economic Council funds to survey its five city piers, providing a full condition report that will guide future capital maintenance, and to make all five piers structurally sound. This survey work will address serious infrastructural issues that serve as a significant barrier to further economic growth in New Bedford, and will enable the growth of the city’s commercial fishing fleet, providing jobs and economic opportunities for residents of the city.

Plymouth - $416,790

The Plymouth Town Wharf serves as a docking pier for commercial fishing boats, recreational fishing boats and sightseeing cruises. In 2012, Plymouth undertook a major inspection of the wharf infrastructure, resulting in a report that detailed a set of recommendations to ensure long-term structural integrity to maintain the wharf’s operations. The Town of Plymouth will use Seaport Economic Council funds to pursue ongoing repairs to the Town Wharf, which include the replacement of necessary supports, wave fencing improvements, and repairs to the bulkhead.

Scituate - $560,500

The City of Scituate will use funds to develop a permanent piling system at the municipal marina. Improvements will include the removal and replacement of the current chain/anchoring system and an existing pier, which is nearly 30 years old. The new pile-support system will reduce long-term operating and maintenance costs, increase economic activity and provide a more stable system in the face of increasing natural disasters, mitigating the effects of hurricanes, tropical storms or winter nor’easters.

Quincy - $292,800

The City of Quincy’s Squantum Point Pier is under consideration as a prime, and under-utilized, location to re-start ferry service from Quincy to Boston Harbor. Seaport Economic Council funds will allow the City to make engineering, permitting and design improvements to the pier, in anticipation of future ferry service. The new Squantum Point Regional Maritime Transportation Hub will potentially service the commuter transportation needs of Quincy, and the contiguous communities in Dorchester, Mattapan, Milton, Weymouth, Braintree and other communities.

Tisbury - $680,000

Seaport Economic Council funds will allow the Town of Tisbury to significantly overhaul its Lake Tashmoo landing. The Town will replace the public pier, bulkhead and launch ramp to accommodate rising sea levels and outdated infrastructure. Without replacement, public access to the landing will likely be curtailed due to safety concerns. The public pier currently serves the needs of the area’s tourism economy through cruising vessels, sailing charters, and charter fisherman, as well as local and commercial fisherman.

Westport - $249,000

The historic Town Head Landing in Westport provides public recreational access to the Westport River for small boats, kayaks and paddleboards via two slipways. The Seaport Economic Council grant will support the rehabilitation of the entire parcel, which will regrade the site for improved stormwater management, improve ADA accessibility, enhance driver safety and create more opportunities for water-based recreational programs. The Town of Westport will undertake this revitalization effort in collaboration with The Westport Landing Commission, Westport River Watershed Alliance and the Community Preservation Committee.

Weymouth - $184,000

The Town of Weymouth will design and permit a fully-accessibly pedestrian walkway between two popular beaches along the Fore River. The two beaches, Wessagusset Beach and George Lane Beach, are currently separated by rocky coastline, and are inaccessible to pedestrians. New linkages between Weymouth’s waterfront resources will increase alternative modes of transportation, and enhance access for all residents and tourists.

Governor Baker Signs Commonwealth Procurement Resolve for Conflict-Free Congolese Minerals

Governor Charlie Baker ceremoniously signed a Resolve examining commonwealth procurement policies relative to Congo conflict minerals (S. 2463), requiring the Executive Office of Administration and Finance in consultation with the Office of the Inspector General to review state procurement policies and examine best practices ensuring that the Commonwealth’s electronics and information technology suppliers provide products that do not directly or indirectly finance armed conflict or result in labor or human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an adjoining country, use minerals that the origin and exporter can be identified and contain raw materials that appropriate tax payments have been made on.

“I was pleased to sign legislation upholding Massachusetts’ reputation as being a global leader in ensuring both the human rights and protections of all those that participate in supplying goods and services in Massachusetts,”; said Governor Charlie Baker.

The Executive Office of Administration and Finance will issue a report by July 1, 2017 on products in the Commonwealth’s supply chain that may contain extracted mineral resources from the Democratic Republic of Congo and its adjoining countries. The report will also contain the recommended best practices for the implementation of processes supporting conflict-free procurement from Congo.

“This legislation sets the stage for Massachusetts to review how we do business with companies and what their social, economic, and worldwide impact is,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “I am glad that Massachusetts can continue to be a safe and welcoming global economy.” 

"I am proud that this important bill, which I sponsored when I was a member of the House of Representatives, is being signed today," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "For far too long, millions of people in the Congo have suffered due to greed for mineral wealth. Through its purchasing power, this bill will allow Massachusetts to do its part in combating the labor and human rights violations associated with the mineral industry in the Congo, with the goal of deterring such behavior in the future."

“This is a step the Commonwealth can take to be better stewards of our world,” said the resolve’s lead Senate sponsor, Senator Thomas M. McGee. “The actions of our State have a ripple effect even as far as the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this resolve is a tool we can use to continue Massachusetts’ tradition of protecting human rights.

“I am so proud that Massachusetts is committed to defending human rights, not only here but around the world,” said lead House sponsor Representative Ruth B. Balser.

Massachusetts joins Maryland and California, as well as 25 schools and six cities around the world in implementing policies supporting conflict-free minerals trade and peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, complying with federal laws on conflict minerals as a provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

Governor Baker Delivers Second State of the Commonwealth Address

Governor Charlie Baker delivers his second State of the Commonwealth address from the House Chamber of the Massachusetts State House. Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Mr. Speaker. Mr. President. Members of the House and Senate. Distinguished elected officials and honored guests. And fellow Citizens.

“About 750 days ago, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and I stood right here and we pledged to work collaboratively with you and others to move this Commonwealth forward.   And we have done just that.

“We built a bipartisan team. Worked in partnership with the legislature. And looked for common ground.

“We worked to fix state government, passed groundbreaking legislation and focused on growing our economy. And it’s working.

“Our economy is among the strongest in the nation.

“Over the past two years we’ve added 120,000 jobs. Today more people are working than at any time in the past 20 years. And our welfare caseload has dropped 25 percent.

“The companies of the future are moving to Massachusetts, bringing millions in private investment. While new companies are born here every day.

“In fact, for the second year in a row, Bloomberg named Massachusetts the #1 state for innovation.

“GE’s decision to locate its world headquarters in Boston and North American Life Sciences headquarters in Marlborough was based on its belief in the talent and vision of our people.

“And believe me, any discussion of GE’s re-location won’t be complete without noting the extraordinary work and collaboration by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and his team. 

“Mr. Mayor, I look forward to working with you on the next Patriots’ Super Bowl parade.

“The job gains have benefitted every corner of our state.

“For example, New Bedford had the steepest unemployment decline in the entire country. With an unemployment rate that has fallen from 6.5 percent to 3.7 percent in just the past year.

“It’s not an accident that Massachusetts is such an attractive place to do business.  It’s a reflection of the quality of our people and the business climate we’ve created.

“The progress we made on energy is a perfect example 

“Together, we passed landmark legislation that will reduce our carbon footprint while maintaining a competitively priced and reliable supply of energy.

“And we’ve built on those efforts by issuing an Executive Order on Climate Change that directs state government to work with local governments, business, and non-profits to develop plans to further protect our environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Thanks to the hard work of state & local officials, teachers and parents our students are #1 in the nation in both math and reading for the sixth straight year.

“Our shared commitment to funding local schools has led to an all-time high in Chapter 70 education funding, representing an increase of $227 million over the last two years.

“We’ve also made attending a public college more affordable. Through the Commonwealth Commitment we’ve created a pathway for students to secure a bachelor’s degree from UMass or one of our state universities for half the price.

“Brockton’s own Jaclyn Bell is here tonight and she’s a great example of who this program is helping.

“She’s 26 years old, has a two-year old daughter, and is currently a straight A student at Massasoit Community College.  She said the Commonwealth Commitment ‘changed her family’s life.’

“Jaclyn – we all look forward to watching you build on your success.

“We’ve reviewed, updated and eliminated thousands of pages of outdated and obsolete state regulations. 

“Which has reduced red tape and made it easier for employers, non-profits and cities and towns to do their jobs

“We all know that High-speed internet has become central to the ways we communicate, learn and do business. But too many communities in Western Mass still don’t have access to this essential service.

“That’s why this past May we completely overhauled the Last Mile program for our rural communities.

“We started with 53 towns lacking high speed internet access. 

“And while there’s still more work to be done, in just six months we’ve moved a dozen towns forward. 

“That’s more progress on local broadband access than in the last five years.

“And we’ve done all of that and more while closing a billion-dollar state budget gap without raising taxes.

“Fiscal responsibility is challenging work.  It’s not the stuff that wins popularity contests.

“By working together we’ve controlled the runaway growth in spending and nearly eliminated the structural deficit in just two years.  We’ve reduced the state’s bureaucracy, saving hundreds of millions of dollars.  And we’re working smarter and making state government more accountable to the people who pay the bills.

“We also ended the previous practice of using rainy day funds to bailout the state budget. Instead, we invested in this fund despite lower revenue growth. And have set the Commonwealth on solid financial footing going forward.

“We’ve proposed closing the tax loophole on Airbnb. But we will oppose any effort to pass a broad-based tax increase on the hardworking people of the Commonwealth.

“We’ve also made real progress in supporting those who need our help.

“Helping families fighting homelessness and ending the practice of putting homeless families into hotels and motels  has been a priority for us.

“To get there we’ve taken a different approach.  We’re working with housing authorities and other housing providers to help families avoid homelessness in the first place and relying more on permanent solutions.

“In two years, the population of homeless families in hotels and motels has been reduced from more than 1,500 to fewer than 100 families today.

“Two years ago the Department of Children and Families, which serves more than 50,000 at-risk kids was in crisis. Today, it’s a very different place.

“There are 270 more social workers on the job than there were just over one year ago.  Ninety-five percent are licensed, up from 50 percent when we took office.

“Caseloads are as low as they’ve been in decades. And long promised clinical and administrative supports are now in place.

“New policies concerning investigations, home based services, supervisory practices and missing children have been collaboratively implemented with the full support of DCF’s union workforce.

“But when it comes to at risk kids we can never rest easy.

“DCF still needs to recruit more foster homes and do a better job working with foster families.  

“And DCF will continue to work with the courts and legal community to reduce uncertainty for kids by shortening the time they have to wait for a permanent and loving home.

“DCF Commissioner Linda Spears is with us tonight.  Linda, you and your team are doing a great job.  And on behalf of the families and children you serve, thank you.

“As in other states, we continue dealing with the heinous crime of human trafficking.

“And through compassion for these young girls and boys my wife Lauren championed bringing back the State Police anti-human trafficking unit.

“For that, and so many other things she does every day I thank her tonight.

“We worked together to craft legislation for Uber, Lyft and other transportation networking companies.  

“This legislation respects the important role of the sharing economy while benefiting hundreds-of-thousands of passengers as well as drivers here in the Commonwealth.

“For example, people with disabilities often have trouble finding reliable transportation especially for unexpected trips. Making it difficult to complete their education or work full time. It’s a huge problem.

“The T’s RIDE took advantage of our new law, to set up a pilot with Uber and Lyft to serve about 400 people with disabilities. 

“So far, that pilot has delivered more than 7,000 rides.

“Manish Agrawal is blind and uses the RIDE.  He’s here with us tonight. He and his wife live in Arlington with their young daughter. 

“Recently, Manish had to take his daughter to the doctor unexpectedly. 

“He used the pilot program and called Uber instead of waiting for the RIDE. It was easy, prompt and cut his travel time in half. Thanks to this pilot program he was able to focus on the needs of his daughter instead of worrying about transportation.

“Manish thanks for being here with us and sharing your story.

“In fact, his story echoes those we've heard from many others. The overwhelming message from the participants couldn’t be more clear –“This program has changed my life”.

“We all know the opioid epidemic is ravaging individuals and families across the country.  And while this is going to be a prolonged battle, our efforts are making a difference.

“We know that four out of five heroin users first become addicted through prescription drugs.  And we’re seeing results from our efforts to close this front door to addiction.

“For the first time, medical, dental and nursing schools are requiring students to master opioid therapy and pain management. And continuing education on these issues is now a part of our state licensing programs.

“After years of increases, the number of opioids prescribed is now down by 15 percent.  

“Prescribers have made more than 2 million searches of the new Prescription Monitoring program.  

“This makes it harder for people to doctor shop for pain pills, or for pill mills to operate here in Massachusetts.

“Spending on addiction services has been increased by 50 percent. Hundreds of additional treatment beds and voluntary programs have come online. Family and peer support groups have doubled and been funded across the Commonwealth. And thousands of NARCAN kits have been distributed to first responders and family members.

“And our work has not gone unnoticed.  An unprecedented 46 Governors have signed on to a compact to fight opioid addiction—that’s based on our efforts here in Massachusetts. 

“Make no mistake, drug traffickers are part of the opioid epidemic. They prey on vulnerable people, selling them more and more deadly and addictive substances.

“We’ll also propose $2 million to expand law enforcement’s efforts to arrest and convict drug traffickers.

“With your help we also ended the decades old practice of sending women, who were civilly committed due to an addiction, to Framingham State Prison. 

“Instead, they now enter a treatment program including the new one at Taunton State Hospital. These programs have been a game changer for many of the women they serve.

“And based on this success, we’ll request an increase in state funding to support treatment for men who are committed due to an addiction as well. 

“The MBTA’s historic failure during the winter of 2015 laid bare the vital need for a complete overhaul.

“But never forget the T always had the money, but it lacked the capacity to turn its resources into an action plan – to deliver the safe and reliable transportation system that our people deserve.

“The Fiscal and Management Control Board, management team and staff at the T cut the MBTA’s operating deficit in half. These significant savings, along with existing funds, are being used to double the T’s investment in core infrastructure.

“While a lot of great work has been done in the past 18 months, anyone who rides the T will correctly tell you, we still have a long way to go 

“Everything that breaks is at least 50 years old.  Making the investments in tracks, signals, switches, power systems and vehicles will take years, not months. But we finally have the team on the ground and the plan in place to get the job done. 

“And after months of discussion the MBTA reached an agreement on a new contract with its largest union, the Carmen’s Union Local 589. 

“This is a win/win for all involved. Riders and taxpayers have a competitive contract that respects market standards. While union members have predictability and achievable ground rules for measuring performance.

“Both sides could have turned this into an epic brawl. Instead, they chose to be part of the answer.

“Jim O’Brien, the President of the Carmen’s Union, as well as Brian Shortsleeve and Joe Aiello of the T are here with us tonight.

“For their hard work, vision and leadership during these difficult and complicated times, they deserve our thanks.

“And remember those toll booths we used to have on the Turnpike?  Me neither.

“Going live with an All Electronic Tolling system and taking down the toll booths could’ve been a disaster. 

“In fact, many predicted it would be. 

“But a terrific engineering and planning effort across multiple agencies made sure work was done at night and on weekends. Assuring that commuters were not delayed going to and from work. 

“With a shared sense of purpose we’ve made real progress in job creation, fiscal discipline, education, child welfare, public health, transportation, public safety, environmental and energy policy and community building during the past two years. 

“And because of all that, I stand here tonight and say, the state of our Commonwealth is strong.

“We all know the world is becoming more and more dependent on technology.  Smart buildings. Smarter machines. Robotics. Autonomous vehicles. Digital health.  Precision manufacturing. And big data to name a few.

“These are the platforms of the next generation of great companies and new jobs.   And cyber security that moves as fast as the hackers, thieves and troublemakers is what makes this all possible.

“Success in protecting databases and smart machines will ensure that people benefit from the best ideas in science, engineering and technology for decades to come.

“We’re already one of the 3 most important players in cyber security in the world.  Businesses in Massachusetts protect proprietary information and secure smart machines and smart buildings from attack. But this industry is just taking off.

“Hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent over the next decade to protect information and assets. Massachusetts’ organizations should play a major role in driving these decisions.

“Over the next ten months we’ll bring together the best minds locally and globally to develop a blueprint for success here in Massachusetts.  And we will follow it.

“Our strength as a Commonwealth is based, in many ways, on our work with 351 cities and towns.

“The important reforms enacted last session give local leaders new tools to better serve their constituents 

“And you don’t have to take my word for it. The Massachusetts Municipal Association called those changes the most significant reform of municipal governance in more than 50 years.

“And thanks to the tireless work of Lieutenant Governor Polito more than 250 communities have joined with us to work on 600 best practices that will make local governments more successful. 

“Thank you Lieutenant Governor, for your extraordinary work on this initiative.

“Looking ahead, our budget will propose more than $130 million in new funding for cities and towns. Including increasing Chapter 70 support for K-12 education by more than $90 million, twice the amount required under state law.

“And for the first time we propose funding a down payment toward increasing state support for municipal health insurance 

“Our capital program will build on our previous efforts to invest in local communities. We’ll continue unprecedented levels of investment in roads, bridges, economic development and housing 

“These investments help our colleagues in local government build strong communities, leverage billions of dollars in private sector investment and create jobs.

“We should also be proud of our achievements in education. 

“But we must also recognize not every child in the Commonwealth gets to attend a first-class school. We have an obligation to every parent and child in Massachusetts. And in this effort, we must succeed.

“To assist struggling schools, we’ll work with Representative Peisch and Senator Lesser and their colleagues in the house and senate to create more “empowerment zones.”

“These zones create more flexibility in schools. And allow educators to make the changes necessary to provide a better learning environment for our kids. In Springfield, this model is already making a positive difference for teachers and students.

“In addition, the experience of struggling districts in Lawrence, Southbridge and Holyoke has demonstrated that state takeovers can offer significant benefits to students, parents and teachers in schools that need our support.

“We encourage the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to use this tool.

“For decades, mental health advocates have urged the Commonwealth to redesign the way it serves those who are committed to Bridgewater State Hospital.  Little has changed, and the results, in many cases, have been disastrous for all involved.

“We propose to do two things to address this longstanding and unacceptable situation.

“First, move Corrections Officers out of the hospital.  And instead deploy them outside the facility to provide security. 

“Second,  the size and scale of the clinical program offered inside the hospital will be significantly expanded. This reform will not come cheap, as spending on clinical services will increase by $37 million. It’s the right thing to do and we ask the legislature to support it.

“I would also like to extend our thanks to Jon Mograss and the Massachusetts Correctional Officers Federated Union for being a true partner in our efforts to make these reforms. This wouldn’t have happened without their support.

“We must also think differently about how we support and engage older adults.  The notion that people are fully retired at the age of 62 or 65 is inconsistent with what I see every day.

“And even if some have stepped back from what they spent most of their lives doing, most still have tons of time and talent available to do something else.

“Hey – I turned 60 in November. Sixty.

“I remember thinking that was ancient when my dad turned sixty.

“Now he’s 88 and still the smartest, most informed person I know.  And Dad –;

nobody gives better advice than you do.

“There are thousands of citizens in Massachusetts who are still very much in the game in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s.  And there’ll be more as our population continues to age

“I’ll be signing an Executive Order in the coming weeks that will establish a Council on Older Adults. It will focus on policies and programs that make it possible for even more older adults and seniors to live vibrant, purposeful lives

“Finally, too many of our returning heroes struggle to find good jobs.

“Jesse Brown and Matt Mastroianni the founders of Heidrea Communications of Plymouth and Bellingham are with us tonight.  Heidrea constructs, maintains and repairs cell towers, a booming business in today’s wireless world.

“After serving our country as United States Marines they both joined a large firm in the cell tower space. In 2007, they left the comfort of a big company to start their own.

“The beginning was rocky, but today they employ 70 people.  Almost half of whom are veterans like them.  And their future is bright.

“Like many small businesses, they want to hire and employ our veterans.  We should make it easier for them to get it done

“So we’ll be proposing a $4,000 tax credit for businesses hiring and retaining an unemployed veteran. 

“We all wish Jesse and Matt continued success and thank them and all veterans for their service to our country.

“In closing, on behalf of Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, our Cabinet, our team and the people of Massachusetts, I want to thank you, the legislature, for your goodwill.  This may seem like a small thing.  But it’s not

“Too much of what passes for political dialogue these days isn’t dialogue at all.  It’s talking points. Character assassination. And deliberate misrepresentation

“Wedge issues may be great for making headlines, but they do not move this Commonwealth forward.  Success is measured by what we accomplish together.

“Our obligation to the people we serve is too important to place politics and partisanship before progress and results.

“The changes in Washington don’t change this powerful obligation.  Our jobs remain the same.  That is to represent Massachusetts to Washington and not Washington to Massachusetts.

“We can and do disagree.

“But we listen, we learn  and we make the best decisions we can.

“On energy.  Public records.  Pay equity.  Addiction.  Economic development.  And a host of other issues. You’ve compromised with one another, and with us.

“Like other states, we have enormous challenges here in the Commonwealth.  Issues that are destined to create difficult discussions and opportunities for conflict.

“And we live in a time where what you oppose seems much more interesting than what you support.  Where compromising is often viewed as an act of weakness.   When, in fact, it’s a sign of strength.

“Our Founders worried a lot about the tyranny of the majority

“They designed our form of government to provide a loud voice for minority points of view. They hated the idea of unilateral power. And wanted to force advocates and policy makers, through structure and process, to compromise.

“I’m with them.  As my mom always used to say – ‘You have two ears and one mouth for a reason.’;

“It’s one thing to stand in a corner and shout insults at your opponents.  It’s quite another to climb into the arena and fight for common ground.

“I believe it’s this conversation that makes us strong. 

“Our economy is strong because we listen and we learn from the workers and employers who make it go.

“Our communities are strong because local leaders and active citizens listen and learn from the people they serve.

“And our Commonwealth is strong because we listen and we learn from one another. Knowing that our goodwill can make our disagreements a catalyst for better ideas and real results.

“Our team looks forward to working with you on the challenges and opportunities of the next two years.

“We will advocate.  We will engage.  We will learn from you and from others.  And we will all be better for it.

“God Bless This Commonwealth.

“God Bless the United States of America.”;