Baker-Polito Administration Names Appointees to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Services
Governor Charlie Baker, today signed an Executive Order reaffirming and restructuring the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Services, before swearing in several members of the Council who will be charged with advising the Governor on issues relating to how to best support the veterans of the Commonwealth.
“It is our duty as a Commonwealth to support the brave men and women of our Armed Forces by strengthening opportunities and providing access to critical services and programing,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I look forward to reviewing the Council’s recommendations and objectives to positively affect and enhance the lives of veterans in the Commonwealth.
Members of the Council will focus on how the state can improve veterans’ access to employment and job training, healthcare and well-being services, affordable and accommodating housing choices, and educational opportunities that will best position veterans to enter or re-enter the Commonwealth’s workforce successfully. They will also review and assess federal and state laws and regulations as well as existing programs and services relating to veterans in order to enhance the lives of Massachusetts veterans.
“We recognize and honor the loyalty and sacrifice of those that have fought to protect our freedoms and have defended our nation,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The challenges and hardships our veterans have faced are profound and this Council will ensure the Commonwealth is taking the necessary steps to provide employment access, job training, healthcare, housing, and educational services.”
Mike Minogue, Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of Abiomed, Inc. will chair the Council. It will consist of twelve other members appointed by the Governor for a term of three years, one of whom will be Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Ureña who will serve ex officio.
“It will be an honor to serve alongside these individuals as we continue to address the needs of our veteran population” said Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Ureña. “Proactive steps like these are the reason why Massachusetts is the recognized leader in veterans benefits and services.”
Appointees to Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Services (12)
About Mike Minogue Chair
A West Point alumni with an MBA from the University of Chicago, Mike Minogue brings years of experience as chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council. He is the Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of Abiomed, Inc. Since joining in 2004, Mr. Minogue transitioned the corporate mission to heart muscle recovery through creation of breakthrough percutaneous, heart support technologies. Minogue holds three patents from General Electric Healthcare and spent 11 years there developing expertise in sales, marketing, product development and software/service operations around diagnostic imaging and treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Mr. Minogue served as an Infantry Officer in the US Army in both the Airborne and RANGER divisions during the Gulf War and received the Bronze Star for his service. He is married with five children and enjoys reading, running, mentoring, coaching, and skiing.
About Kristine Babcock
Kristine Babcock served the United States Navy from 1988 to 1997 as an Aviation Electronics Technician Second Class. She received a Bachelor's of Arts from Salem State University in Graphic Design and has a certificate in Web Development from North Shore Community College. Ms. Babcock currently serves as a Veterans Services Coordinator at North Shore Community College in Danvers where she has certified over 325 veterans, veterans’ dependents, and active duty members for VA educational benefits, as well as National Guard benefits. Ms. Babcock also organizes outreach programs with assorted local non-profit groups and organizations and has been recognized for her dedicated service and community outreach. Her formal commendations include the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development “Excellence Award”, the “Red Cross Heroes” Award, and the “Seven Seals Award”. She serves as a member of Congressman Seth Moulton’s Veterans Panel, a member of the North Shore Veterans Coalition and the North Shore Community College Alumni Board.
About Andrew Biggio
In 2006, Biggio joined the Marine Corps as an Infantry Squad Leader. He was awarded a number of commendations such as the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Navy Certificate of Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, and NATO Forces Ribbon, for his service during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Most recently, Biggio founded Boston’s Wounded Vet Run and TheyFoughtWeRide.com assisting veterans through the processes of obtaining home loans, school benefits, employment bonuses, healthcare, low-income housing and construction licenses. In addition to fundraising, his organization assists in the transition of veterans from combat zones back to their communities. He has worked alongside state and local representatives to improve veteran benefits and has raised one million dollars nationwide for severely wounded veterans and Gold Star Mothers. Biggio graduated from Suffolk University with a Bachelor Degree in Sociology.
About Lauren Bond
After graduating from Boston Latin School in 1997, Ms. Bond joined the Marine Corps, becoming a Platoon Sergeant and Unit Manager where she trained and instructed Marines in daily operations and coordinated training schedules. She attended the University of Massachusetts Boston and earned her Bachelor's in English with a concentration in Education before going on to earn a Master’s in Applied Linguistics. Upon graduation she began working as a teacher at City Roots Alternative High School and later transitioned to East Boston High School where she currently works as a teacher of English Language Arts and English as a Second Language.
About Andrea Gayle-Bennett
A graduate of the Sophie Davies School of Medicine at City College of New York with a Bachelor of Science in in Allied Health and Physician Assistant Studies, and a Master of Education from Lesley College, Colonel Gayle-Bennett has more than 30 years of experience in the civilian sector as a Physician Assistant at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates. In 1983, she joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard as a Physician Assistant. She has actively served in a variety of capacities since then in Medical Command, working her way from AMC Coordinator to most recently as Army Surgeon. In 2012, Andrea Gayle-Bennett was promoted to rank of Colonel in the Massachusetts Army National Guard. She has received a number of commendations including the Key Contributor Award, Diamond Service Award, and the Deborah Sampson Outstanding Woman Veteran Award. Ms. Gayle-Bennett also recently joined the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence in 2016.
About Richard F. Gormley
A public fixture in West Roxbury for many years, Richard F. Gormley is the owner and operator of Gormley Funeral Home in West Roxbury. He was awarded the Cross of Gallantry for his service in the 1st Marine Division in Da Nang, during the Vietnam War. Mr. Gormley is a member of several organizations such as Commander of the V.F.W Post #2902, the Fogg Roberts American Legion Post #78, St. Vincent De Paul Society, and is the former director of the Irish Cultural Center. He organized and flew on the first historic air flight from Boston to Knock Airport in Ireland. He has also been a Director of the Roxbury-Highland Bank for over 20 years and served on their finance committee. He was named Parkway Soccer League “Man of the Year” in 2003, “Citizen of the Year” by Boston Lodge of Elks in 2004, and “Person of the Year” by the Boston Police Emerald Society in 2005
About Julie Hall
With an Associate’s Degree in Human Resources Management from Massasoit Community College, a Bachelor's in Psychology from the University of Maryland and Masters in both Health Administration and Human Resources from Washington University, Ms. Hall had illustrious civil and military careers. She currently serves as an At Large Councilor for the city of Attleboro. While in the military, Julie was a Senior Healthcare and Business Operations Executive with 30+ years’ experience. Following her time in the military Ms. Hall has extended her medical operations experience to the business sector for several veteran small business owners. She has been awarded the “Deborah Sampson Award” for “Outstanding Woman Veteran of the Year’ in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as “Massachusetts Unsung Heroine” award in 2016.
About Sarada Kalpee
An active member of the US Army Reserves at the current rank of Staff Sergeant, Kalpee has also spent the past year as a Veterans’ Service Officer for the towns of Wellesley, Wayland, Weston, and Needham. In 2013, Kalpee was deployed to Afghanistan where she served for 12 months as a senior mechanic as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, commanding her platoon of eight soldiers, performing maintenance on Route Clearance Equipment, as well as clearing packets. In 2006 she graduated from Suffolk University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. Kalpee has received a number of commendations including the Army Commendation Medal for exemplary behavior and standards during Operation Enduring Freedom, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Ribbon, the Military Volunteer Service Medal, and the Overseas Ribbon.
About Joseph Mitchell
Upon graduating from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1987 with a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, Mitchell went on to serve as a United States Air Force Officer from 1988 - 1996. In his eight years of service with the Air Force, he accumulated over 1,400 hours of fighter time in the F-111F and F-15E jets, 450 hours of which saw combat in the Persian Gulf and over Bosnia. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “Heroism while engaged in aerial flight” in 1991 and attained the rank of Captain. For four years, Mitchell supported his fellow veterans as a Veterans’ Service Officer in the City of Westfield assisting with medical, educational, financial, employment and substance abuse issues. Mitchell has over twenty-eight years of documented success and progressive experience in business development, project management, engineering and environmental compliance. He currently works as a City Advancement Officer for his hometown of Westfield, Massachusetts.
About Robert Mirabito
An alumnus from Boston University, where he was an All-American quarterback, Robert Mirabito has a long history with veteran services. After playing third baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, he became a member of the Disabled American Veterans Association. Since then he has gone on to forge a successful career as President of Mirabito Insurance which celebrates its 40th year in business this year. Such success is characterized by his mantra, “proper insurance, with great service, at the lowest price possible.” Mr. Mirabito was appointed by Governor Romney to the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission and served as a member of the Massachusetts Environmental Waterways Board for the Environmental Police.
About Victor Nunez-Ortiz
Victor Nunez-Ortiz joined the Marine Corps in 2001 and served as a Combat Engineer for five years. Mr. Nunez-Ortiz then worked at both Bueno Y Sano as a manager and Panera Bread as assistant manager. He then worked in the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services as an Outreach Coordinator. Currently, he serves as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Veterans’ Advocacy Services. The organization’s mission has been to help veterans who return home with severe PTSD acclimate back to normal life. He received his Associates degree in Business Administration from Holyoke Community College, and a Bachelors in Hospitality Administration from the University of Massachusetts.
About Margaret White
Colonel Margaret White brings 34 years of military experience to the Council. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Salem State University and a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from American Public University. She began her career as a police officer in the towns of Swampscott and Lynnfield. She began her service in the Massachusetts National Guard as Commander in the 1st Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, she later became a Deputy Commander, served as a Camp Commander at Guantanamo Bay, then returned to Massachusetts National Guard as Assistant Chief of Staff. Colonel White currently serves at the Director of Military Support. She was awarded the “Deborah Sampson Award” in 2015 for outstanding leadership and serving as a role model for women in the military. White was one of the first of three women to be enrolled in the “Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company” (2013-2016). She is the recipient of numerous federal and military awards, including the “Meritorious Service Medal.”
Baker-Polito Administration Awards $7.5 Million MassWorks Grant to Greenfield
New 350-space public parking garage will support continued growth in Greenfield’s downtown
Governor Charlie Baker announced a $7.5 million MassWorks award for the construction of a new public parking garage in Greenfield, to support continued mixed-use downtown development and investment in the Town’s Bank Row Urban Renewal Area.
“MassWorks infrastructure grants help communities attract private investment, and deliver on their economic development priorities,” said Governor Baker. “Greenfield has made substantial strides in revitalizing its historic downtown, by attracting new storefronts, commercial employers, and residents. This new public parking facility will give Greenfield the capacity it needs to unlock further business growth, and housing development.”;
“Our administration’s commitment to cities and towns is reflected in our expanded support of the MassWorks infrastructure program,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The economic development legislation we signed earlier this year provides a new $500 million authorization for MassWorks, enabling the Commonwealth to partner with cities and towns to make significant new infrastructure investments that create jobs and housing, across Massachusetts.”
The Commonwealth’s $7.5 million infrastructure grant will fund the construction of a new, 350-space public parking garage on Olive Street in Greenfield’s Bank Row Urban Renewal Area. The Town of Greenfield will provide $2.5 million in matching funds. The Olive Street garage will relieve severe parking congestion in Greenfield’s downtown, providing capacity for new commercial and residential growth. The garage will also service the John W. Olver Transit Center, which provides multi-modal transit connections for the upper Pioneer Valley.
“I congratulate Greenfield’s local leadership and legislative delegation for their vision, and for their vigorous advocacy on behalf of their community,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Here, and across the Commonwealth, we are partnering with municipalities to ensure that local stakeholders have the tools they need to expand economic opportunities.”
“This is a great day for Greenfield and Franklin County,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. “The parking garage will be a game changer for downtown businesses and the local economy. Three cheers for all those involved in making this happen including state and local officials, the courts, and local business leadership.”;
“I am grateful to Secretary Ash and the administration for approving a $7.5 million MassWorks grant for the Greenfield parking garage,” said Representative Paul Mark. “The need for a garage has continued to grow over time as the new Franklin County Courthouse project nears completion, and this grant will supplement local funding to get this long awaited project off the ground. This parking garage will help relieve downtown congestion, make public transportation more accessible, and improve access to government buildings and local businesses.”;
“As a community, we are grateful that the Baker-Polito administration has not only recognized an existing economic development barrier but have provided a mechanism to alleviate Greenfield’s parking congestion while facilitating continued growth downtown,” said Mayor William F. Martin. “It is a testament to teamwork that such dedication and dialogue between Governor Baker, Secretary Ash, Sen. Rosenberg and Rep. Mark can evolve to a successful outcome where community, government and residents shall all benefit.”;
The MassWorks Infrastructure Program provides a one-stop shop for municipalities and other eligible public entities seeking public infrastructure funding to support housing production, economic development, and job creation through strategic investments in public infrastructure. The 2015 grant round generated 101 applications for more than $245 million in infrastructure requests. The 2016 grant round is currently under review.
Each year, the MassWorks program allocates 10 percent of awarded funds to assist municipalities with populations of 7,000 or less in completing roadway safety and transportation improvement projects. The MassWorks Program has invested over $357 million across the Commonwealth since the first competitive grant round was held in September 2011.
In August 2016 Governor Baker signed An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development (H.4569) to reauthorize MassWorks and support $500 million of future investment in critical infrastructure, a significant commitment by the Commonwealth. The Baker-Polito Administration’s 2017 capital budget increases funding for the MassWorks Infrastructure Program to $90 million. The administration has increased MassWorks funding by $35 million over the past two fiscal years.