My time in the State Senate
I have accomplished the following
Posted on October 19, 2014
On the heels of the fiercely contested Democratic primary to serve the 14th Essex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, former rival Phil DeCologero of North Andover has endorsed the re-election of incumbent State Rep. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen).
“Campaigns can often be contentious,” said DeCologero. “This summer I saw that first-hand when Rep. Diana DiZoglio and I debated and discussed our visions for the Merrimack Valley. Yes, we had our fair share of disagreements, but I respect Rep. DiZoglio for sticking to a productive discussion about the issues facing our communities. What I didn’t often discuss is where Rep. DiZoglio and I do agree. Rep. DiZoglio has fought for increases in local aid, more funding for special education, and legislation requiring local officials to follow the same rules as our state officials. Most important to me, Rep. DiZoglio has fought to bring attention to the epidemic that is substance abuse. Many times politicians shy away from these tough issues, but I admire Rep. DiZoglio for making them a priority. These issues don’t always make for the best sound-bites, but they do make for a person who has my vote. This is why I ask that you please join me in voting for Diana DiZoglio this November 4th.”
Among his many accomplishments, DeCologero, a lifelong resident of the Merrimack Valley, helped to spearhead the North Andover Merchants Association, for which he was recognized by the Merrimack Valley Business Magazine as one of their “40 Under 40.” He was also instrumental in helping to launch Methuen’s first Italian Festival and has served on the North Andover Democratic Town Committee Executive Board since 2008.
“I want to thank Phil not only for his support, but also for the great work he has done for the Merrimack Valley in recent years,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill in the Legislature. “Our community deserves leadership that can put people first and politics aside, by working together to get things done. My former challengers and I have already begun to share our visions for the Merrimack Valley with one another and I look forward to continuing to work together moving forward.”
Diana was also recently endorsed by fellow primary opponent Oscar Camargo, also of North Andover.
Posted on October 7, 2014
State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) hosted a meeting on Monday, October 6 between the Lawrence legislative delegation and Celia Blue, Registrar of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), to express concerns over the recent proposal to move the Lawrence RMV branch from its current location on Route 114 in South Lawrence to Downtown Lawrence.
Diana, who represents the Lawrence neighborhood in which the current RMV resides, says she was not included in any discussions regarding the proposed move of the state agency. In her capacity, Diana said it is her responsibility to speak up on behalf of constituents who have not had a seat at the table on this matter. She first requested a meeting with the RMV back in August.
Joining Diana in the meeting were State Senator Barry Finegold (D-Andover), State Representatives Marcos Devers (D-Lawrence) and Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen) and Patrick Kerwin, Legislative Aide to State Representative Frank Moran (D-Lawrence).
The Representative, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill in the Legislature, has argued the current RMV is critical to the economic vitality of businesses along Route 114.
“The proposed relocation does not take into consideration what would happen at the current site,” said Diana. “It is liable to create severe blight that would be detrimental to future economic development, hurting surrounding businesses located along the 114 corridor.”
Diana and other members of the delegation also raised concerns to the Registrar about the lack of convenience for residents to travel to a Downtown Lawrence location.
“RMV customers want free, convenient, ample parking, which the current site affords and the downtown area does not offer,” said Diana. “If other nearby RMV locations have easier, more affordable access, my constituents tell me that they will likely pay their visits elsewhere.”
During the meeting, the Registrar noted the RMV is looking to modernize its facilities and that every 10 years, they are mandated to put branch locations out for bid. They are currently reviewing the Downtown Lawrence proposal and are poised to finish that review within one month. The criteria on the RMV’s RFP (Request for Proposal) requires the branch include at least 185 parking spaces, a mandate the delegation was skeptical could be fulfilled at a Downtown Lawrence branch.
The Registrar stressed that no final decision has been made about the possible relocation.
“I am committed to, over the coming days and weeks, advocating in favor of the current Lawrence RMV branch,” said Diana. “On a matter of this nature, which will affect residents not just in my district, but throughout the Merrimack Valley, it is critical that we work together to ensure our concerns are heard loud and clear.”
Posted on September 16, 2014
Once a challenger in the hotly contested Democratic primary to serve the 14th Essex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Army veteran Oscar Camargo has endorsed the re-election of incumbent State Rep. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen).
Oscar, a North Andover resident, is a former member of the Massachusetts National Guard and now serves in the Army Reserves at Fort Devens. While with the National Guard, he had tours of duty to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo. He is also a part-time consultant at Northeastern University.
“Representative DiZoglio and I both feel confident about the general election,” said Oscar. “I look forward to working with her and all Democratic nominees from North Andover, Lawrence, Methuen and Haverhill in their endeavors.”
“I want to express my gratitude to Oscar for his endorsement and for running a respectful campaign, focused on the issues that matter most to the voters of the 14th Essex,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill in the Legislature. “Oscar has some great ideas, particularly regarding veterans issues. I am excited to now be working together, sharing these ideas, to ensure the concerns of our community continue to be addressed on Beacon Hill.”
Posted on September 12, 2014
Diana has announced she will host CASA Awareness Day on Beacon Hill on Tuesday, September 16th in the State House.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is a national program that was founded in 1977. The idea of the program was to use trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. Judges across the country soon began utilizing these volunteers and there are now more than 900 CASA programs in the nation. Most CASA advocates have full-time jobs and work on their cases in the evenings or on weekends.
The Northern Essex County CASA program launched in 1991 and in 2000 became part of Family Services of the Merrimack Valley. The program serves the Lawrence and Newburyport Juvenile Courts. Northern Essex County CASA has more than 50 volunteers who advocate annually on behalf of more than 100 children. There are more than 8,000 children in foster care in the Commonwealth due to abuse and neglect.
Diana, alongside Awareness Day co-host State Representative Leah Cole (R-Peabody), will provide for attendees an introduction on what CASA does and the positive impact it has had on abused and neglected children. CASA is partially funded by the Commonwealth, with other funding coming federally and from grants.
“Findings have shown that children who have been assigned CASA advocates spend less time in foster care than those who do not have CASA representation,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill in the Legislature. “I am committed to fighting for sufficient funding for CASA so we in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth may have enough advocates to ensure vulnerable children do not fall through the cracks and find safe, permanent homes.”
Posted on August 28, 2014
State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) has been endorsed by all four fire fighter associations in the 14th Essex District, including North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill, as well as the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (PFFM), an organization representing fire fighters and their families across the Commonwealth.
Earlier this year, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed legislation, sponsored by DiZoglio, to assist fire fighters’ efforts to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).
“In just her first term in office, Diana has proven herself one of the strongest and most affective voices on Beacon Hill for public safety officials, both in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth,” said Edward Kelly, President of PFFM. “No one works harder than Rep. DiZoglio and the PFFM is proud to stand with her in the upcoming elections.”
“Diana’s level of commitment to public safety issues is a breath of fresh air,” said Daniel Pas, President of Local 2035 North Andover Fire Fighters. “She is truly dedicated to making our voices heard on the state level. We couldn’t be prouder to call her our State Representative. I have no doubt that she will continue serving the communities of the 14th Essex District well.”
“Diana DiZoglio has been a passionate and affective representative for Methuen fire fighters, unwavering in her advocacy for them in the State House,” said Tim Sheehy, Methuen Fire Fighters President. “We need Diana’s leadership and commitment to public safety for our brothers, sisters and family members to remain in the House of Representatives.”
“Diana is a strong advocate of public safety,” said Eric Zahn, President of Lawrence Fire Fighters Local 146. “She always works hard to ensure that the government is doing their part to maintain the security of the community. She brings an energetic and open-minded attitude toward the concerns of her constituents.”
“Rep. DiZoglio has worked tirelessly in her first term on various bills for the people of her district,” said Gregory Roberts, Haverhill Fire Fighters President. “That is why, once again, we will be supporting Rep. DiZoglio.”
“I am truly honored to receive this support from our local fire fighters, as well as PFFM, which represents more than 12,000 of our brave public service men and women in the Commonwealth,” said DiZoglio, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “As they continue to protect our hardworking families, I will continue to fight for them in the Legislature to assist them in their dedicated service.”
Posted on August 26, 2014
The Massachusetts AFL-CIO has endorsed the re-election of Diana to continue serving the 14th Essex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
“Two years ago, based upon her commitment to helping working families in the Merrimack Valley and across Massachusetts, we endorsed Diana DiZoglio for State Representative,” said AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman. “Since then, she has proven an extraordinary legislator, fighting tirelessly for the issues that matter most to our hardworking men and women in the Commonwealth. We are proud to again support her and encourage our members to join us in helping her to win re-election.”
“I am truly honored and humbled to receive this support from the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, which represents nearly 400,000 working families across the Commonwealth,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill in the Legislature. “Over the past two years, I have consistently advocated for jobs, infrastructure, health care, education, organizing rights and more to ensure a strong quality of life for Massachusetts workers. I want to continue representing these families in the 14th Essex District so I may ensure their concerns are always heard loud and clear on Beacon Hill.”
Posted on August 22, 2014
Diana is urging Richard Davey, Secretary of MassDOT, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to reconsider the recent proposal to move the Lawrence RMV branch from its current location on Route 114 in South Lawrence to Downtown Lawrence.
Diana, who represents the Lawrence neighborhood in which the current RMV resides, says she was not included in any discussions regarding the proposed move of the state agency. In her capacity, Diana said it is her responsibility to speak up on behalf of constituents who have not had a seat at the table on this matter.
“In recent weeks, countless residents from across my district have contacted me to express their concerns about this proposed move,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill in the Legislature. “On a matter of this nature, which will affect residents from across my district, and throughout the Merrimack Valley, it is critical that we work together to ensure their concerns are heard loud and clear.”
From an economic perspective, the Representative argues, it could prove counterproductive to relocate the RMV branch.
“The RMV has proven critical to the economic vitality of businesses along Route 114,” said Diana. “The proposed relocation also does not take into consideration what would happen at the current site. It could create severe blight that would be detrimental to future economic development, hurting surrounding businesses located along the 114 corridor.”
Additionally, Diana says the RMV relocation makes little sense when it comes to convenience for Merrimack Valley residents.
“RMV customers want free, convenient, ample parking, which the current site affords and the downtown area does not offer,” said Diana. “If other nearby RMV locations have easier, more affordable access, my constituents tell me that they will likely pay their visits elsewhere.”
Diana has requested that immediate attention be given to this issue and that the Secretary meet with her and other local legislators from the region whose constituents the move would impact.
Posted on August 15, 2014
The Massachusetts Legislature has passed animal welfare legislation that creates harsher punishments, along with increased financial penalties, against acts of animal cruelty.
Under Senate Bill 2345, An Act protecting animal welfare and safety, sponsored by State Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and co-sponsored by Diana, maximum penalties for animal cruelty convictions will be increased from five to seven years and the maximum fine will be increased from $2,500 to $5,000.
The bill also allows a penalty of up to 10 years and/or a fine of $10,000 for repeat convictions. Additionally, the bill requires veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse. The legislation creates a task force comprised of experts in law enforcement, animal protection, veterinary medicine and the law to systematically and comprehensively evaluate the state’s cruelty statutes to ensure continued progress.
The legislation is known as the “Puppy Doe” bill, in reference to an August 2013 incident in Quincy where a young dog was discovered starved, beaten, stabbed and burned in an area park.
“The horrific acts of cruelty inflicted upon Puppy Doe greatly concerned me and other animal lovers in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill in the Legislature. “This tragedy called for swift and comprehensive legislative action to prevent future animal cruelty and I want to thank Senator Tarr for his leadership in working to ensure the advancement of critical animal welfare legislation.”
The legislation will take effect 90 days after the Governor signs the bill into law.
Posted on July 23, 2014
Diana recently hosted the North Andover, Methuen and Lawrence Senior Centers for a visit at the Massachusetts State House.
Nearly 100 Merrimack Valley seniors participated in the visit, as they toured the State House and joined Diana and fellow local legislators for a meet-and-greet over coffee and pastries.
Diana brought the seniors into the House Chamber to provide a hands-on civics lesson on the legislative process in the Commonwealth. The seniors sat in the seats of lawmakers as Diana explained how an idea becomes a law and strongly encouraged them to be actively involved in the process.
“During my first term, I have strived to host events like these that bring our amazing seniors from the Merrimack Valley together,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “I believe it is so important that we keep our older adults socially engaged, independent and active and I plan on hosting many more gatherings over the months and years to come.”
Joining Diana to welcome the seniors were State Senators Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport) and Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), as well as State Representatives Marcos Devers (D-Lawrence) and Frank Moran (D-Lawrence).
House Passes DiZoglio Bill Assisting Fire Fighters’ Fundraising Efforts for Muscular Dystrophy Association
Posted on July 18, 2014
The Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed legislation, sponsored by Diana, that assists fire fighters’ efforts to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).
Fire fighters are the MDA’s largest national sponsor and one of their most historic supporters of efforts to assist those suffering with neuromuscular disease. During the month of August, through Labor Day, fire fighters across the Commonwealth will be joining together to raise money for the cause.
“Every day, our fire fighters in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth dedicate themselves to helping people in peril,” said Diana, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “Their work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association marks another selfless act. With the passage of this legislation, our fire fighters will be able to ‘fill the boot’ as they raise money in this immensely important effort that demonstrates the true meaning of community involvement and public service.”
“Firefighters have been in the fight to cure Muscular Dystrophy for over 60 years and by partnering with the people in our communities, we have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for research and direct support to those in a personal fight,” said Edward A. Kelly, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (PFFM). “Our efforts have been hampered in recent years by legislation which indirectly stymied our efforts. That’s where Representative Diana DiZoglio took up the fight. Through her passionate leadership, she swiftly sponsored legislation to enable firefighters throughout the Commonwealth to be back on the streets ‘Filling the Boot’ for MDA. Diana has proven in her short time in the Legislature that she has what it takes to lead and effect positive change for the people of Massachusetts. We are lucky to have Diana advocating for firefighters on Beacon Hill.”
The MDA, which is based in Tucson, Arizona, is the world’s leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to researching treatments and cures for more than 40 neuromuscular diseases. It provides support and health care services to families across the globe and brings together communities from all walks of life for advocacy and fundraising.
“The Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (PFFM) are proud of our commitment to stand with the MDA in the fight against muscle disease,” said Kathleen Tighe, Boston area director for the MDA. “Since the tradition began in 1952 with Local 718 member George Graney answering the call of a neighbor in need in South Boston, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has contributed more than $450 million to MDA. These funds have supported MDA’s portfolio of health care services, clinic visits, summer camps and research for over one million Americans who live with muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases.”
Fire fighters in Massachusetts have helped to fund breakthroughs such the discovery of the gene for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at Boston Children’s Hospital, a treatment for Pompe Disease, and numerous advances toward understanding the causes of and possible treatments for ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in addition to sponsoring local children’s attendance at a week-long, fully-adaptive MDA Summer Camp each July.
Posted on July 2, 2014
Diana joined her colleagues in the Legislature to pass a $36.5 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2015 focused on economic growth and increased government accountability and oversight.
The spending plan makes important investments in local aid, education, and human services including substance abuse treatment and prevention and mental health care. Building on a responsible yet proactive approach to combatting the recession, the Legislature’s budget contains multiple measures to achieve sustainable economic growth and provide essential services that support the Commonwealth’s citizens.
Included in the final budget is amendment Diana sponsored which secured nearly $125,000 in funding to assist Career Resources, based in Haverhill, in its effort to assist local disabled veterans seeking job opportunities. Diana also successfully fought for the inclusion of a cost-saving amendment to assist homeless families in transitioning out of shelters.
“The FY’15 Budget strongly supports the Commonwealth’s most critical services and programs while also keeping a cautious eye on spending,” said Diana, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “I am particularly proud of our investments in education, substance abuse treatment and local aid. This is a budget that will greatly benefit citizens in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth.”
This budget enhances the Commonwealth’s partnerships with cities and towns through numerous funding streams including $945.8 million to Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), a $25.5 million increase from FY14 and $4.4 billion for Chapter 70, a record funding level. The spending plan provides $257.5 million for the Special Education Circuit Breaker, ensuring full funding for the third consecutive year and $70.3 million for Regional School Transportation to reimburse municipalities at 90 percent, marking the highest rate in the program’s history.
In addition to educational investments through local aid, this year’s budget extends Massachusetts ongoing commitment to strengthening its educational systems to foster equality and provide residents with a competitive edge. The budget allocates $15 million to expand access to early education and funds a grant program at $9.1 million to support Early Head Start and Head Start programs. The budget also prioritizes higher education through investments in state universities, community colleges and the University of Massachusetts and includes $519 million for UMass which will enable a freeze in tuition and fees for the second year. In addition, the budget dedicates money to implement the STEM Starter Academy, an initiative created in the FY14 budget aimed at strengthening and expanding STEM programming in community colleges.
This year’s budget emphasizes the importance of enhanced fiscal predictability and sustainable investments, a practice that has raised Massachusetts bond rating to AA+, the highest in the state’s history. In an extension of this fiscal prudence, the spending plan makes the lowest draw from the Stabilization Fund in four years and contributes about $1.79 billion to Massachusetts’ unfunded pension liability to accelerate the timetable for full funding.
To heighten accountability and streamline operations, the budget establishes the Massachusetts Office of Information Technology (MOIT) to be administered by a Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Commonwealth. The CIO will be responsible for supervising all IT services of state agencies and will review any proposed IT expenditure costing more than $200,000. The Massachusetts Health Connector Authority will be considered a state agency for the purposes of MOIT oversight.
This budget reflects the Legislature’s pledge to combat the alarming rise in mental health problems and substance addiction. It allocates almost $18 million in new spending to help combat substance addiction including $10 million for the Substance Abuse Services Trust Fund to provide substance abuse services to an additional 10,000 individuals in need of treatment. The spending plan also includes the following investments in substance abuse services and treatment:
• Creates a multi-year grant program at $5 million to fund mental health and substance abuse counselors within schools;
• Increases funding for specialty courts, including drug courts, to $3 million;
• Funds training and purchase of Nasal Narcan™;
• Creates a voluntary accreditation program for sober homes; and,
• Provides additional funding for the Prescription Monitoring Program to prevent the over-prescription of medications.
To improve quality of care for people suffering from mental illness, the budget provides $10 million for the expansion of community-based placements for at least 100 discharge-ready patients in the Department of Mental Health system, while maintaining sheltered workshops for those individuals who wish to remain in a residential setting. It also creates a Behavioral and Mental Health Special task Force to identify impediments to the delivery of comprehensive treatment.
The budget includes numerous additional health and human services provisions including $60 million in MassHealth investments and:
• $47.5 million for nursing homes to reduce the gap between Medicaid payments and uncompensated care;
• $35 million for Disproportionate Share Hospitals;
• $3 million in funds for employments programs for clients of the Department of Developmental Services;
• Requires the implementation of a hearing process for long-term facilities before there is any intent to close;
Building on the continued leadership in reforming and strengthening the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the budget provides $185.6 million to reduce social worker caseloads. It also includes initiatives to improve communications, IT and record keeping practices, and ensure initial medical screenings of all children entering DCF care within 72 hours. Background checks will now be required for all current and future foster parents. Individuals will be precluded from becoming foster parents if convicted of serious crimes, including those involving violence or sexual in nature.
The budget also:
• Provides $65 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program and permits for unexpended FY14 funds to carry forward, allowing hundreds of new families to access safe and permanent housing;
• Expands the Veterans Motor Vehicle Excise Exemption to include leased cars;
• Establishes a memorial to honor Massachusetts Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Heroes; and,
• Reestablishes the Water Supply Protection Program to promote the safety and purity of the Commonwealth’s water supplies and the protection of watershed lands.
Posted on June 26, 2014
On the heels of the enactment of campaign finance report reform, sponsored by Diana, the Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed legislation that would require the timely disclosure of donors to Super PACs (Political Action Committees) in the Commonwealth.
Under House Bill 4197, An Act relative to campaign finance disclosure and transparency, donors to independent expenditure PACs, which are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, will be required to be disclosed to the public within seven days of running an ad. Additionally, the bill requires donors who provided more than $5,000 to a Super PAC be named in the ad itself.
Super PACs operate independently of a public office candidate’s official campaign. As donations to the committees are undisclosed, it is difficult for the public to figure out what interest groups are funding then. Critics of Super PACs have referred to these funds as “dark money.”
These new disclosure requirements will go into effect ahead of this fall’s elections.
“Over the past year, I have fiercely advocated for reforms to strengthen the Commonwealth’s campaign finance system, including those pertaining to Super PACs,” said Diana, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “I am truly delighted to see my colleagues in the Legislature share this commitment to increased transparency.”
Posted on June 16, 2014
Diana, a member of the Legislature’s bipartisan Manufacturing Caucus, hosted several of her caucus colleagues on a Manufacturing Tour across the Merrimack Valley on Thursday, June 12.
Through the Manufacturing Tour, the Representative was able to introduce members of the caucus to four of the Merrimack Valley’s businesses, hear their concerns and see firsthand the things they are doing every day in the region. Diana was also joined by David A. Tibbetts, President of the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council, and Peter Milano, Senior Regional Director at the Massachusetts Office of Business Development.
The tour came one day following the Massachusetts House of Representatives’ passage of an economic development package, which includes a sales tax holiday to take effect on August 16 and 17.
Among initiatives included in the package was $250,000 toward a competitive grant program, to be administered by the Small Business Association of New England, to avert layoffs at manufacturing companies through technical assistance and management consulting. The legislation also provides $500,000 for a study of Massachusetts Manufacturing Industries to identify barriers to growth, assess global market opportunities and develop a strategic roadmap for future industry growth.
On the heels of the Manufacturing Tour, Diana announced she would be co-sponsoring manufacturing legislation alongside fellow caucus member State Representative Jonathan D. Zlotnik (D-Gardner). The bill, An Act Relative to the Taxation of Inventory in Manufacturing, is designed to gradually eliminate the inventory tax manufacturers pay on raw materials over a period of four years.
During the tour, the Representative visited three businesses based in North Andover: PanelClaw, Inc., a photovoltaic mounting systems supplier for flat roof and ground mount applications; Jessica’s Brick Oven, a wholesale bakery famous for its artisan bread; and Bake’n Joy Foods, a manufacturer of high-quality food items for more than 70 years.
The Representative also made a stop in Lawrence, visiting Solectria Renewables, a leading PV inverter, string combiner and web-based monitoring company for solar projects.
“Local manufacturers are the backbone of our economy, in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth, and vital to ensuring job creation and growth,” said Diana, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “We in the Legislature must create a climate that fosters success and that is why I have signed on as a co-sponsor to common-sense legislation to ease the tax burden on manufacturers in the Commonwealth. I want to express my gratitude to these four businesses for giving me the opportunity to hear from them directly and will ensure their concerns are heard loud and clear on Beacon Hill.”
“Manufacturing companies like Solectria Renewables are vitally important for economic growth since we provide jobs across a broad spectrum of the Massachusetts workforce,” said Anita Rajan Worden, Chairman of Solectria Renewables. “We believe it is vitally important for members of our legislative body to take tours of facilities like Solectria’s to understand and appreciate the efforts we are making to create long lasting jobs in the Commonwealth. Through direct interaction with our companies, Rep. DiZoglio and the rest of the Manufacturing Caucus will likely make informed decisions that encourage more companies to manufacture in Massachusetts.”
“It was very helpful speaking with Representative DiZoglio about the issues important to us and to the Legislature,” said Nabil Boghos, President of Jessica’s Brick Oven. “She took a real interest in trying to help us and in the manufacturing industry as a whole.”
“The Merrimack Valley is home to manufacturers both small and large that face daily challenges such as finding a well-trained workforce and dealing with the high costs of doing business in Massachusetts,” said David A. Tibbetts, President of the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council. “I commend Rep. DiZoglio for reaching out to the businesses in her district to see and hear first-hand about the challenges they face, and to commit to fighting for small businesses and manufacturers on Beacon Hill.”
“As a member of the newly formed Manufacturing Caucus, I applaud Representative DiZoglio for her leadership in initiating and conducting a manufacturing tour in Merrimack Valley,” said State Representative James Arciero (D-Westford). “This effort highlights the needs of the manufacturing sector of our economy and the potential for public-private partnerships to create additional jobs in the future.”
Posted on June 16, 2014
Greater Lawrence Technical School (GLTS) is the recipient of $145,000 in funding recently granted under the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Learn and Earn program to prepare students for higher learning opportunities and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The program will train 24 GLTS students over the summer, and an additional 60 during the fall and spring, in the installation of solar electric panels for residential and commercial uses. Students will have the opportunity to train on ground-level, full-size practice roofs and install a fully functional solar election system as a final project.
“Greater Lawrence Technical School is a truly invaluable asset to our community and this training program will no doubt place GLTS interns on the path to future success,” said State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), a member of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “I am proud to join my fellow Lawrence legislators in celebrating the announcement of this important funding.”
Posted on June 9, 2015
Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted more than 40 girls from Lawrence’s Arlington Middle School for Women in Government Day at the Massachusetts State House.
The students, joined by Lawrence School Committee member Myra Ortiz, had the opportunity to tour the building and then join the Lieutenant Governor and Representative for a photo and meet-and-greet at the State House Grand Staircase. State Representative Frank Moran (D-Lawrence) and his staff helped to coordinate the tour.
“I enjoyed welcoming our next generation of women leaders to the State House with Representative DiZoglio,” said Polito. “It is clear that our next generation is eager to learn and motivated to achieve success and it is wonderful to see them civically involved.”
“It was great to connect with these intelligent and strong young ladies,” said DiZoglio. “Less than 25 percent of the Massachusetts House of Representatives is made up of women and I would like to see that percentage increase significantly in the years to come. In order for that to happen, we must start empowering our young women at an early age and tell them, ‘Yes, you can do this!’ The Lieutenant Governor and I discussed the roles we play in state government and stressed the importance having more young women actively participate in the process.”
“It’s not only important we tell our girls they should be leaders, it is important we show them what leadership looks like,” said Ortiz. “They need to know at a young age that there are women working for them and creating a pipeline for more women in politics. That reality may be a little far off, but it is a goal that has now been placed in their sight.”
Posted on June 2, 2015
Patrick McGravey, head of the social studies department at North Andover Middle School, was recently awarded the 2015 C-SPAN Teaching Fellowship, an honor presented to just three educators across the nation.
C-SPAN’s Fellowship program recognizes educators who demonstrate successful methods of integrating C-SPAN’s civics programs into their classrooms. For four weeks during the summer, McGravey will collaborate with C-SPAN’s education department in Washington D.C. to develop new teaching materials with the network.
McGravey was recognized on May 29 for his achievement by State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), who presented him with a congratulatory citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. McGravey and student Kaitlyn Parks invited DiZoglio to North Andover Middle School as the latest stop on her Civic Education Tour to engage and educate students across the Merrimack Valley.
The civic education program, which the Representative has brought to schools in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill, covered the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government and, through interactive exercises, was designed to educate students about what it means to be a citizen and how to be active in the democratic process.
During the event, students participated in mock legislative and judicial hearings, the latter featuring Lawrence District Court Judges Lynn C. Rooney and Mark A. Sullivan and Michael J. Ryan of the Office of Jury Commissioner for the Commonwealth.
“This was an amazing opportunity for the students to apply what they’re learning to real life situations,” said McGravey. “Social studies can sometimes be a boring subject, but Diana and the team really brought it alive to the kids and made them realize they need to know civics and how to apply them in real life. I would love to do this program again and recommend it to any educator in the Commonwealth.”
“We thought it would be more interesting and relevant to use a real-world example to illustrate the work judges do, and how the rule of law works in a democracy,” said Judge Rooney, who had the students divide into juries, deliberate on a case, and render verdicts to illustrate the workings of a criminal jury trial and the importance of the presumption of innocence.
“The kids seemed genuinely enthused and engaged to be involved in the process,” said Judge Sullivan. “It’s our hope that these students will appreciate how important civic duty is and how each member of the community can contribute to ensure the fairness and equality of our criminal justice system. If what we did today helped spark that interest and commitment, it would be great.”
“I was honored to join Mr. McGravey, Judges Rooney and Sullivan and so many talented students from North Andover Middle School as I spoke about how ideas become laws and engaged the students in an interactive mock committee hearing,” said DiZoglio. “All too often, our classrooms lack a strong civic learning program that educates students about what state government does in our daily lives. Mr. McGravey should be commended for his focus on civics at North Andover Middle School and I wish him all the best with his fellowship in D.C. this summer.”
“It is critical for students to have an understanding of our judicial system early on, given they should be prepared to serve jury duty as soon as high school,” said Ryan.
“It was an amazing day and such a great opportunity to have Representative DiZoglio come and speak to us,” said student Kaitlyn Parks. “She was so friendly and personable and the students really enjoyed it.”
“It was a fun day and I liked to see that the speakers were doing things that we learned in class,” said student Alexa Pascucci. “I liked the jury duty speaker, Michael J. Ryan, who played a game with us with prizes and had some funny jokes.”
“Although not all of the kids on our team could attend because of a band field trip, I think that the kids who did thoroughly enjoyed it including myself,” said student Madelyn Reveal. “All of the speakers were both entertaining and educational to us.”
In today’s high schools, civic education is often only offered toward the end of a student’s studies, in twelfth grade. On the latest national civics assessment, administered in 2006 by the National Assessment Governing Board, two-thirds of students scored below “proficient.” In 2010, more than one quarter of college students reported they did not register to vote because they did not know where or how to do so.
In the current legislative session, DiZoglio has filed several bills pertaining to civic education: one requires the department of elementary and secondary education to develop a model civic education curriculum to be included within history curriculum; another requires registrars to inform high school students about their right to vote, how the registration process works and also provide them access to registration forms; and a third bill would require public schools to better-publicize where students may pick up voter registration forms.
In addition to the North Andover Middle School, DiZoglio has thus far visited North Andover High School, Methuen High School, Lawrence High School, Haverhill’s Hunking Middle School and Lawrence’s South East Middle School and Wetherbee School on her Civic Education Tour.
Posted on May 23, 2014
Diana recently visited Lawrence’s Wetherbee School as the latest stop on her Civic Education Tour to engage and educate students across the Merrimack Valley.
The program, which Diana has brought to other schools in Lawrence, as well as North Andover, Methuen and Haverhill, explained the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government and, through interactive exercises, educated students about how to participate in our democratic process and what it means to be a citizen.
During the event, students participated in mock legislative and judicial hearings, the latter conducted by Michael J. Ryan of the Office of Jury Commissioner for the Commonwealth.
“The experience the Representative provided for our students was enlightening,” said Colleen Lennon, principal at Wetherbee. “They were truly engaged and now understand the importance of their voice and their vote.”
“Students need to know the adults in our community care about them and are truly invested in their education,” said Lisa Scott, an eighth grade ELA teacher at Wetherbee. “The Representative’s presence and willingness to share about the importance of civic education accomplished just that.”
“I want to be a lawyer when I grow up and listening to Representative DiZoglio was helpful because she is young and a woman I can connect with,” said student June Zhang.
“I learned that you can make people listen to you by getting involved and voting,” said student Jerry Pimentel.
“Representative DiZoglio made learning about government so much more simple and less complicated,” said student Kiahvette Guzman.
“I learned that at the age of 18 you can get a letter to serve on a jury,” said student Pedro Hernandez.
“In speaking with the amazing students at Wetherbee, I saw before me our next generation of leaders,” said Diana, who has sponsored legislation to establish a comprehensive student civic education program. “It is so critical to empower our youth with the knowledge of how and why to vote and my hope is this tour will help them to grasp civic involvement early on so they may actively participate in the democratic process as they reach adulthood.”
In many of today’s high schools, civic education courses are only offered toward the end of a student’s studies. On the most recent national civics assessment, conducted in 2006 by the National Assessment Governing Board, two-thirds of students scored below “proficient.” In 2010, more than a quarter of college students reported they did not register to vote because they did not know how to do so.
“Our classrooms are all too often lacking a robust civic learning curriculum to teach students about what government does in our daily lives,” said Diana. “While this school year is nearing its end, I look forward to visiting additional schools in Lawrence and across the Merrimack Valley in the fall to continue educating our amazing students on how government works.”
“It is critical for students to have an understanding of our judicial system early on, given they should be prepared to serve jury duty as soon as high school,” said Ryan.
In addition to the Wetherbee, Diana has visited North Andover High School, Methuen High School, Lawrence High School, Haverhill’s Hunking Middle School and Lawrence’s South East Middle School on her Civic Education Tour.
Posted on May 22, 2014
On the heels of its unanimous passage by the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate, Gov. Deval Patrick has signed into law campaign finance reform legislation sponsored by Diana.
With the passage of House Bill 3760, An Act relative to strengthening campaign finance reporting requirements, prior campaign finance report law will extended to candidates for municipal office who file with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Previously, candidates for state or county office who failed to file campaign finance reports were prohibited from appearing on an election ballot, yet this law did not apply to municipal candidates.
“Candidates in municipal elections who file with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance will now be held to the same standards as those running in state and county elections,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “This measure was long overdue and I am grateful to my colleagues in both the House and Senate and the Governor for joining with me to pass this important legislation into law. This common sense law will bring more transparency to our government and a longtime loophole is now closed.”
Posted on May 15, 2014
Diana joined Tenney Grammar School during its celebration of the 95th annual Children’s Book Week.
Children’s Book Week is a nationwide celebration designed to connect young readers with literature. Events are held at schools, bookstores, libraries and more.
“It was an honor and pleasure to join the amazing students and faculty at Tenney for Children’s Book Week,” said Diana, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “Events like these are so important as we work to ensure our youth grasp reading concepts and skills early on in their education.”
In addition to Tenney, Diana, who serves on the Joint Committee on Education in the State House, has been visiting schools across the Merrimack Valley on a Civic Education Tour since the fall. The tour is designed to educate students about democracy and what it means to be a citizen.
Posted on May 2, 2014
The Massachusetts House of Representatives has included in its FY’15 Budget an amendment, sponsored by Diana, for funding to assist the Career Resources Corporation (CRC) in its effort to assist disabled veterans seeking job opportunities.
Based in Haverhill, CRC is a non-profit organization that serves communities across the Merrimack Valley. For 40 years, it has been working to empower individuals with disabilities and other barriers to be self-sufficient and successful.
Its partnership with Valley Works Career Center, the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center and the City of Haverhill Veterans’ Services has provided local veterans with comprehensive support to seek and maintain employment.
“With the inclusion of this amendment, CRC has estimated it will be able to serve an additional 27 veterans in the Merrimack Valley who are seeking employment,” said Diana, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “I want to express my deepest gratitude to House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill) for his leadership in fighting with me for these funds and to Brad Howell and everyone else at CRC for the amazing work they are doing in the community every day.”
“Unemployment among veterans remains comparatively high to the overall population,” said State Representative Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen). “Representative DiZoglio and CRC are to be commended for their efforts to bring this amendment forward.”
Posted on April 22, 2014
Diana has been appointed to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse.
Last year, Diana brought together members of the community, including experts on drug addiction issues and elected officials, to form what is now called the Merrimack Valley Substance Abuse Task Force. The Task Force has since held events where substance abuse prevention, education, treatment and recovery have been addressed and holds monthly meetings in the community.
In recent months, Diana has spoken with House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) and Representative Liz Malia (D-Boston) about the possibility of her joining the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse.
“I am excited to have Representative DiZoglio join the Committee,” said Malia, Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. “I attended the task force meeting she hosted this year and it is clear she is dedicated to addressing substance abuse issues in her community. I look forward to working more closely with her on substance abuse and mental health issues that exist in her district, in mine, and in all others across the Commonwealth.”
“I have had countless discussions with residents in my district and across the Merrimack Valley who have battled substance abuse themselves or have friends or family who have dealt with drug addiction,” said Diana. “Their heartbreaking stories have inspired me to do all I can to address our epidemic of drug abuse and I look forward to getting to work in my new capacity on the committee.”
Posted on April 22, 2014
The Massachusetts House of Representatives has voted to enact a bond bill toward transportation projects across the Commonwealth. Included in this package is critical funding for improvements along Route 114.
Members of the North Andover legislative delegation have fiercely advocated in recent months for funding toward improvements in pedestrian and bicycle safety along Route 114 in North Andover, from the Lawrence municipal boundary to the intersection of Route 114 and Hillside Road.
A Road Safety Audit was conducted by MassDOT back in January at the request of the delegation after public safety concerns were alerted to them by Merrimack College and the Town of North Andover. According to MassDOT, Route 114 has among the highest reported incidents of vehicle accidents in the area.
The requested improvements, which include sidewalk construction and better accommodations for cyclists and pedestrians, have been fully funded at $1.5 million in the final bond bill.
“Over the past year, we have heard many concerns from residents in the community, from cyclists to drivers to pedestrians, about the safety conditions on Route 114,” said Diana, who represents a portion of North Andover. “To meet these concerns with action, we needed to come up with the necessary funding and with the passage of this bond bill, we will be able to do just that.”
Posted on April 9, 2014
Diana joined her colleagues in the House to pass comprehensive domestic violence legislation which creates new criminal offenses and elevated penalties, boosts prevention efforts and seeks to empower victims.
The legislation establishes a first offense domestic assault and battery charge that will allow officials to immediately identify an offender who has a history of domestic violence and take appropriate punitive action. As a result, a second offense charge of domestic violence will include cases in which a first offense had resulted in probation or a continuance without a finding. The bill also creates a specific charge of strangulation and suffocation, actions that statistically indicate an abuser is more likely to commit domestic violence related homicide in the future.
“We in the Legislature must ensure our state laws effectively help to protect women and families against domestic violence,” said Diana. “This is strong and comprehensive legislation designed to both protect victims and crack down on serial abusers. I stand with my colleagues in celebrating its passage.”
The bill provides enhanced resources to help balance prevention and punishment. By standardizing records and mandating that they are shared across jurisdictions, the legislation ensures key decision-makers have the most accurate information and that parties have access to an offender’s complete history.
The bill abolishes the antiquated practice of allowing accord and satisfaction, a practice in which parties agree to a private financial settlement, in domestic violence cases and establishes the below crimes:
• Domestic assault or domestic assault and battery near a court house;
•Domestic assault or domestic assault and battery with the intent to intimidate or prevent access to courts.
In an effort to consistently improve prevention efforts the legislation establishes enhanced training programs and creates Domestic Fatality Review Teams which will investigate domestic violence related fatalities. The state-level review teams will serve as a tool to help officials understand any shortcomings present in current protocol.
The bill also includes the following provisions:
•Delays bail for offenders to provide the victim with time for safety planning and authorizes the revocation bail in certain cases;
•Establishes employment leave for victims of domestic violence;
•Establishes fees for domestic violence offenses. These will be invested in the newly created Domestic Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance fund;
•Broadens court authorization related to custody and support orders;
•Requires law enforcement agencies to provide information on batterer’s intervention to defendants when serving them with a Chapter 209A restraining order.
The legislation also promotes innovative approaches such as multi-disciplinary high risk teams and a grants program to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence. The bill passed the House unanimously.
Posted on April 1, 2014
Diana in coordination with Superintendent Judith Scannell and local community leaders and teachers organized the first-ever End Distracted Driving Day for Methuen High School Juniors and Seniors.
Saba Hashem and President J. Michael Conley of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (MATA) presided over the presentation, offering statistics on the safety crisis and asking students if they were ever guilty of distracted driving themselves. Most raised their hands. Shown during the program were videos of drivers texting and engaging in other distracting activities at the wheel. More than 500,000 Americans suffer traumatic brain injuries in motor vehicle accidents annually, roughly 20 percent of which are caused by distracted driving.
Over the past three years, MATA has been the lead Massachusetts consumer advocacy group for distracted driving. This effort began following the tragic death of Casey Feldman, daughter of trial lawyer Joel Feldman, who was killed by a distracted driver. Joel created the Casey Feldman Foundation and EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving) in her honor and it is Casey’s passing that inspires MATA to continue its initiative.
“Distracted driving is a very serious danger to the community,” said Hashem, who is a resident of Methuen. “This is not only a teen problem, it’s everyone’s problem and it is important to empower teens to have conversations with their parents and other adults and their classmates and friends so we can end distracted driving. It is a threat to the community.”
“We need to build awareness of the dangers of distracted driving,” said Emily Stein, whose father was tragically killed by a distracted driver. “It’s not just a teen problem, it’s a problem for everyone of all ages. We hope they bring this issue home to their parents to discuss their parents’ driving habits as well. It’s also about encouraging teens to make safe choices. After all, there is nothing more important than their safety. This was a great event and the kids were amazing.”
“The presentation was outstanding, the message was clear to students that texting while driving impacts many people with very serious consequences,” said Superintendent Scannell. “The video as well as the guest speaker hit home. Let’s hope the message spreads.”
“The presentation was timely and most appropriate for both students and staff,” said Ann Marie Krusell, Department Chair of English at Methuen High. “The video clips, discussion points, and speakers made a profound impression on the audience with poignant and memorable moments. All were touched by the honesty of the presentation and the universal appeal, which resonates with every individual. Resulting in class discussions for the rest of the day, students attached personal meaning and resolved to make better choices. Wearing pink and black bracelets as they left the building, our school and community has embraced the true meaning of being “distracted” as they face the future being much more aware. We hope to make this an annual event.”
“I don’t think teenagers, even adults for that matter, realize the severity of distracted driving,” said student Adam Marchand. “It only takes a second of distraction to take someone’s life. It’s really scary.”
“I truly thought the assembly was very eye opening and very close to everybody’s heart, because we all know of someone who drives distracted and some of us are even victims of this as well,” said student Rima Rustom. “It was great to be reminded that we could and should prevent things like that, because if I don’t want it to happen to my mom or brother, then I’m sure no one else would want to either.”
“This is an issue of public safety and I am glad we had the opportunity to address the students in time for prom season and before summer break when they will be on the road more often. I want to thank Mr. Hashem, Mr. Conley, Emily, Superintendent Scannell, the amazing teachers and students of Methuen High and everyone else graciously in attendance,” said Diana.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving means any activity that could divert one’s attention away from the task of driving. This includes not just texting or making phone calls, but any activity that’s liable to distract, such as eating or reading.
For additional information on distracted driving, please visit www.enddd.org.
Posted on March 17, 2014
The North Andover Senior Center recently held a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon to celebrate the upcoming holiday and bring members of the community together for great food and conversation.
The event, which drew attendance from nearly 100 members of the community, was catered by A Haute Dish, located in North Andover and owned by Jennifer Broberg. The luncheon was sponsored by Diana.
“The North Andover Senior Center is the only municipal-funded resource and referral agency for the older adults living in the North Andover community,” said Irene M. O’Brien, elder service director for the Town of North Andover. “Social events like the St. Patrick’s luncheon hosted by Representative Diana DiZoglio support education as well as keep our older adults socially engaged, independent and active in the community.”
“It was an immense pleasure hosting this St. Patrick’s Day Lunch for all of the talented and vivacious North Andover seniors,” said Diana. “Turnout was terrific, the food was excellent and we had so many engaging conversations. It’s so important that we bring members of the community together like this and I truly cannot wait to again visit the Senior Center.”
Posted on March 14, 2014
On the heels of its passage by the Massachusetts House of Representatives last November, the Massachusetts Senate has voted to enact campaign finance reform legislation sponsored by Diana.
Under House Bill 3760, An Act relative to strengthening campaign finance reporting requirements, current campaign finance report law is extended to candidates for municipal office who file with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Under prior law, candidates for state or county office who failed to file campaign finance reports were prohibited from appearing on an election ballot, yet this law did not apply to municipal candidates.
“With the passage of this legislation, candidates in municipal elections who file with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance will be held to the same standards as those running in county and state elections,” said Diana. “I want to express my gratitude to, among others, Senators Barry Finegold (D-Andover), Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport), Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) and Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge) for their tireless work in advancing through the legislative process a common sense bill that will bring more transparency to our government. This required a bipartisan team effort and without their willingness to meet with me and discuss this issue, this legislation would not have made it as far as it has.”
“This bill will strengthen our campaign finance laws and increase transparency in our elections by holding all candidates who file with OCPF equally accountable,” said Finegold. “It is a common sense measure, and I applaud Representative DiZoglio for taking the lead on this important issue.”
“Access to the ballot should be for people who play by the rules, and the campaign finance rules are in place to make sure that political funding is transparent and accountable,” said Tarr. “This bill ensures that municipal elections will also have the benefit of those rules.”
“With this legislation, mayoral candidates in large cities will no longer be able to break campaign finance laws and still get on the ballot,” said O’Connor Ives. “This bill strengthens the public’s access to election information and holds accountable those candidates for public office who do not disclose donor information on time.”
“Throughout this legislative session, Representative DiZoglio has worked to strengthen campaign finance requirements and prevent voting irregularities,” said Eldridge. “This measure would ensure that integrity and fairness is in place during elections and will create more transparency in government.”
Posted on March 11, 2014
Diana recently visited the South Lawrence East Middle School (SLE), marking the latest stop in her Civic Education Tour to engage and educate students across the Merrimack Valley.
The program, which the Representative has brought to schools in North Andover, Methuen and Haverhill, went over the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government and, through interactive exercises, was designed to educate students about what it means to be a citizen and how to be active in the democratic process. During the event, students participated in mock legislative and judicial hearings, the latter conducted by Michael J. Ryan of the Office of Jury Commissioner for the Commonwealth.
“The Civic Education Day at the South Lawrence East Middle School was a huge success,” said SLE Principal Alyce Merlino. “The students were part of one of the fundamental processes of American democracy, a jury duty. I want to thank Representative DiZoglio so much for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this most important presentation.”
“This program helps students understand how our government works so that we can be involved in the future,” said student Yanira Cruz.
“Representative DiZoglio believes we, the students of Lawrence, can make a difference,” said student Caroline Mejia. “She came here to our school as a model for our community.”
“We learned that our State Representative is always there for us, which is good, we like to be heard,” said student Yelissa Torres.
“I love how our Representative was born here and understands where we are coming from,” said student Kyara Gonzalez. “We feel more connected to her.”
“I like how Mr. Ryan kept us involved in what he was doing,” said student Lisbeth Burgos. “It was a fun and interesting experience.”
“I was truly honored to be among so many bright and talented students as I spoke about how ideas become laws and involved the students in an interactive mock committee hearing,” said Diana, who has sponsored legislation to establish a comprehensive student civic education program. “I look forward to visiting additional schools in Lawrence and across the Merrimack Valley in the months to come to educate students on how our government works.”
In many of today’s high schools, civic education is often only offered toward the end of a student’s studies, in twelfth grade. On the latest national civics assessment, administered in 2006 by the National Assessment Governing Board, two-thirds of students scored below “proficient.” In 2010, more than a quarter of college students reported they did not register to vote because they did not know where or how to do so.
“Our classrooms all too often lack a strong civic learning program to educate students about what state government does in our daily lives,” said Diana. “It is critical that our youth begin to grasp these concepts to ensure they are able to actively participate in the democratic process as they enter adulthood.”
“It is critical for students to have an understanding of our judicial system early on, given they should be prepared to serve jury duty as soon as high school,” said Ryan.
In addition to the South Lawrence East Middle School, Diana has visited North Andover High School, Methuen High School and Haverhill’s Hunking Middle School on her Civic Education Tour.
The Representative will next take the tour to Lawrence High School in April, the Wetherbee Elementary School in May and plans to visit additional schools in the future as well. She will also host a Distracted Driving Day at Methuen High School later this month.
Posted on February 20, 2014
Diana hosted a celebration at the State House honoring Nancy Chippendale’s Dance Studio, which recently achieved enormous success competing in the 2013 World Tap Championships.
Seventy-three dancers from the studio, which is based in North Andover, participated as they toured the State House and gathered for a photo atop the building’s Grand Staircase with area lawmakers. The studio and Chippendale herself were honored with congratulatory citations for their exemplary work.
Representing the United States in Riesa, Germany at the World Tap Championships in December, the dancers competed against 30 other countries for gold, silver and bronze prizes and had the opportunity to travel to Dresden, Meissen, Leipzig, Berlin and Prague.
By the end of the championships, the dancers had brought home five gold, three silver and two bronze prizes.
“It was an honor for us to represent the USA at the World Tap Championships last December,” said Chippendale. “We are very proud of our accomplishments and were pleased to have a private tour of the State House. Thank you to our State Representative, Diana DiZoglio, for arranging this tour and for helping us to celebrate the accomplishments of our dancers.”
“It was such a thrill to see so many amazing and talented dancers from ‘Chips’ in North Andover represent the nation in the World Tap Championships,” said Diana, who represents a large part of North Andover in the Legislature. “It was a pleasure hosting them in the State House for a tour of a building and celebration of their outstanding accomplishments, both here and overseas.”
Posted on February 13, 2014
Diana joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass legislation that, for the fifth consecutive year, freezes a scheduled increase in the unemployment insurance (UI) assessment paid by all employers.
This action is estimated to relieve the average employer from an approximate 30 percent increase for UI per employee while allowing employees to receive the same benefits under this rate. In the coming months the House plans to systemically improve the UI system as it addresses minimum wage.
Because the House recognizes the challenges residents face during the winter, this legislation provides an additional $20 million for heating assistance and about $45 million to provide low-income homeless families with access to housing. Additionally, the Department of Transportation may spend up to additional $50 million for snow and ice removal dependent on the state’s needs.
The bill includes a $15 million recapitalization of the Brownfield’s redevelopment fund which will allow the current pipeline of projects to continue and increase development opportunities on currently vacant and underutilized properties across the Commonwealth.
The bill also provides increased funding for the Department of Children and Families (DCF), homelessness programs, and the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
“This supplemental budget includes targeted funding for time-sensitive programs and services. We provide $20 million for the federal LIHEAP program to ensure that the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents remain safe and warm throughout the winter months,” said Representative Brian S. Dempsey (D-Haverhill), Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. “We also implement an Unemployment Insurance rate freeze to encourage important economic opportunities as we progress through 2014 for both employers and workers. We also recapitalize the highly successful Brownfields Redevelopment program and include funding to cover the costs of snow and ice removal, supporting the many small businesses that contract with the state to keep our roads safe.”
The supplemental budget allocates $2.78 million to DCF, thus providing adequate funds to meet the department’s request of a 15:1 caseload ratio. This action follows increases in DCF funding over the past three budget cycles.
“Having worked with low-income families and abused children for years, I am thrilled that this budget focuses on the safety of our community’s most vulnerable population,” Diana said. “There must be a continuous effort to keep our children safe and that requires adequate resources. I was happy to see that this budget gained bipartisan support, as it will also assist in keeping our roads safe and clean through the remainder of winter.”
This bill passed the House 146 to 2 and now moves on to the Senate.
Posted on February 7, 2014
Diana has announced the Merrimack Valley Stormwater Collaborative has been named a recipient of $145,000 in the Fiscal Year 2014 round of the Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) grant program.
The CIC program, now in its third year, was established in 2012 to incentivize innovative projects at the local level. More than $10 million has been invested into 242 cities and towns across the Commonwealth with the support of the Massachusetts General Court and Executive Office for Administration and Finance.
With the leadership of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commisssion (MVPC), the Town of North Andover, and the cities of Haverhill, Lawrence and Methuen, are among the communities participating in the Stormwater Collaborative, which will explore solutions to the problems associated with untreated stormwater that are low-cost and promote regional cooperation and communication.
The MVPC, a public, nonprofit organization which represents 15 communities across the Merrimack Valley, has for decades been committed to assisting the area in planning matters on transportation, land use, the environment and economic development. It has joined with local public works and engineering personnel on comprehensive management programs pertaining to stormwater, which, when left untreated, often contains dangerous pollutants and can contaminate local water supplies.
“This grant will prove invaluable in assisting efforts across the Merrimack Valley to address the environmental and health concerns that come with untreated stormwater,” Diana said. “It is an incredibly important initiative and I join my legislative colleagues from the Merrimack Valley in celebrating the awarding of this generous grant.”