By: State Rep. Ryan Hamilton
One question I have received while out working during the month of December is: What do elected officials do when they are not in formal session?
Throughout the past few weeks, the house has been out of formal session. Often, when not in a formal session, the media portrays Reps and Senators being on vacation. I can tell you this is far from the truth.
To quote Bill Belichick, there are no days off.
One of the essential parts of being a State Representative is constituent services. Being able to assist the residents of Methuen and Haverhill and help them solve the issues that they email or call my office with. Constituents contact my office 365 days a year. And we are here to help them. During informal sessions, I have taken the time to call constituents we’ve helped over the past year and check in to see how things are going and if there’s any further help I or my office can provide. One of the things I have learned over the past year is that most constituents do not reach out to our office until the situation has advanced to a level of urgency. Therefore, during this informal session, I wanted to take the time to try and preempt people waiting as long to ask for assistance, especially around the holidays.
I’m happy to say that I was successful and that we were able to identify more constituents that needed our help. They alleviated some stress for those residents during the holidays.
I was able to spend more time in Methuen and Haverhill throughout December and was, therefore, able to have more meetings with constituents in the district. It was great to connect with these residents and talk about various issues, from legislation to the state of the New England Patriots. I always enjoy getting to sit down over a cup of coffee or grab lunch with constituents because I’m a firm believer that it makes me a better rep when I hear from them and hear their concerns and their opinions on things at both the local and state level.
This holiday season, I was able to donate my time to two organizations that were ensuring children around the Merrimack Valley had a great Christmas. Somebody Cares New England, based in Haverhill, and Debbie’s Treasure Chest hosted toy drives that I was able to attend and volunteered to hand out toys so that kids could have something under the tree this Christmas. I want to thank both organizations for going above and beyond to ensure that every child in the Merrimack Valley had a very merry Christmas. We are so fortunate in Methuen and Haverhill to have such great nonprofits that do much for our community.
Although I enjoy spending time in the district, I still had responsibilities in Boston that needed my attention on Wednesday, January 10th, my bill on financial literacy, which I featured in a previous column in the Valley Patriot, is getting a hearing. My staff and I have spent countless hours coordinating with our grassroots supporters on testimony and social media strategies to ensure that we make it known how important it is to make taking a financial literacy course a part of the curriculum in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Then, of course, I still have been keeping up with my typical events, be it at ribbon-cutting, chamber events, or my annual time volunteering at the Festival of Trees. It was a busy end of 2023, and I enjoyed it. I look forward to working with all of you to accomplish even more in 2024.
I want to end this month’s column by congratulating Melinda Barrett and Neil Perry on their inaugurations as Mayors of Haverhill and Methuen.
I look forward to partnering with them to accomplish great things for our cities. Congratulations and good wishes go out to all elected officials in Methuen and Haverhill for their swearing-in this past week. I wish you the best and remember, your success is our success.◊