Hello Valley Patriot Readers,

Dizoglio-solomonRecently, I was so pleased to host fellow senators from across the Commonwealth for a listening SenaTOUR of the Merrimack Valley. This was a prime opportunity to make the unique challenges facing our communities salient to legislators outside the region.

I opened the SenaTOUR with a policy forum at CI Works, a collaborative work environment that has established more than 200 jobs, helping to grow the local and state economies. The forum focused on three key topics: education, the environment, and small business and economic development.

At the forefront of our conversation on education were the challenges our school districts are facing in regard to funding. Our forum ultimately came just two days prior to the release of the landmark Student Opportunity Act, a comprehensive piece of legislation that makes an unprecedented investment in Massachusetts public education – including transportation, special education and school infrastructure – to ensure our school districts have the resources they need to provide students with the highest-quality education.

On the environment, we discussed the ongoing problem of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in the Merrimack River and efforts to protect our beloved resource. This includes one of my top legislative priorities in this session, the Merrimack River District Commission, which is bringing together stakeholders from all along the Merrimack to address pollution and safety hazards.

We are also at work on a pre-notification alert program that will inform swimmers and boaters about pollution hazards in the river. The pilot program will utilize both physical and virtual means to notify residents about potential CSO concerns, in the form of flagging and through a smartphone application.

During our visit at CI Works and later in the SenaTOUR, we met with several innovative companies doing business in the Merrimack Valley, seeing firsthand their incredible work and hearing from them the challenges they face as businesses on the New Hampshire border. As Chair of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business, I am committed to ensuring their concerns are heard loud and clear on Beacon Hill as we work, amid the high cost of doing business in Massachusetts, to create a climate that fosters success for these start-ups and scale-ups.

The SenaTOUR was an enjoyable and exciting day but, more importantly, a chance to keep my Senate colleagues informed about the important work taking place in our neck of the woods. I have no doubt that bringing them up to the Merrimack Valley will be helpful moving forward with the passage of legislation to help our region.

If you have questions about any legislation currently being examined on Beacon Hill, please feel free to contact me via email at diana.dizoglio@masenate.gov or phone at (617) 722-1604.
Yours in service,
Diana ◊