2003 July-December Mitt Romney press releases

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July 12, 2003

ROMNEY UNVEILS HOUSING TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS

Proposed changes to Chapter 40B will make law "a tool rather than a club"

SOUTH BOSTON – In an effort to spur housing creation across the Commonwealth, Governor Mitt Romney today unveiled a package of comprehensive reforms to the state's affordable housing law, known as Chapter 40B. Mitt Romney said the changes will make the law "a tool rather than a club" and give cities and towns more control over the planning and development process in their communities.

Romney said the proposed changes to Chapter 40B are part of a multi-pronged approach to increasing the supply of housing for the families of Massachusetts.

"The task force represented many different points of view and the consensus report accomplished something that many people thought could not be done," said Romney. "They recommended important changes that will help our cities and towns to use this law properly as a housing development tool while promoting smart growth and sustainable development. I am grateful for their work."

Last February, Mitt Romney established the Chapter 40B Task Force, comprised of members of the Legislature, state housing officials, municipal and regional officials and stakeholders representing development and environmental interests. He charged them with evaluating the statute and its impact to ensure that the need to create affordable housing is balanced appropriately with other municipal concerns.

Chapter 40B was enacted in 1969 to encourage cities and towns to build more affordable homes in Massachusetts. Under the law, if a community has less than 10 percent of its permanent housing stock affordable to low- and moderate-income families, certain zoning regulations can be overridden provided that 25 percent of a proposed development includes affordable units. In spite of 15 regulatory changes made to improve the law over the last two years, only 31 of the Commonwealth's 351 cities and towns currently comply with the 10 percent threshold.

The task force recommendations respond to legitimate concerns raised by communities and address issues pertaining to:


Promoting equity by changing the way homeownership units are counted;
Guiding how and where homes are developed by introducing smart growth principles into 40B and density guidelines for homeownership developments, and empowering site approval authorities to reject developments that are inappropriate;
Addressing local capacity by limiting the number of units a community has to review at one time and permanently fund consultants to work with municipalities;
Planning and reasonable growth by establishing planned production goals that reward communities with time-off;
Improving the 40B process by inserting more information, expertise and communication at the beginning of the process to dispel misinformation and promote cooperation; and
Reforming the Housing Appeals Committee (HAC) by recommending that it undergo procedural reform. This change will expedite the permitting and building of a significant number of housing units while dismissing projects, which are not consistent with local needs.
The Task Force's recommendations strengthen Chapter 40B by enhancing communication and information sharing among parties central to housing production, providing increased technical assistance to communities and providing an all-inclusive source of information for communities and developers. They also expedite housing production by creating incentives for communities to plan and permit housing and aim to improve the appeals process.

"This group of recommendations will help alleviate the state's housing crisis while addressing valid municipal objectives and concerns and will ultimately help to ensure the Commonwealth's future economic viability and vitality," said Jane Wallis Gumble, Department of Housing and Community Development Director and Task Force Chair.

Romney said that improving Chapter 40B is just one in a series of steps necessary to address the state's housing needs. He said laws governing local land use regulation in the Commonwealth are also in need of reform and plans to review the Massachusetts Zoning Act, widely known as Chapter 40A, to close outdated loopholes in the zoning law. He also has proposed using local aid incentives to generate more housing.

"The state's current zoning laws confine local planning, promote excessive land consumption and interfere with traditional development," said Romney. "These antiquated statutes are in need of an overhaul to make housing production and 'smart

growth' development in Massachusetts less difficult, less time-consuming and less costly."

The changes to 40B supplement the regulatory changes made over the past two years, including:


Limiting project size;
Enhancing project notification for cities and towns;
Allowing for a cooling off period to eliminate using 40B as a threat ;
Including accessory apartments and DMR/DMH units to count on the subsidized housing inventory; and
Placing reasonable controls on projects funded through non-governmental agencies (including the Federal Home Loan Bank's New England Fund)
A full copy of the report is available online at www.mass.gov/dhcd.


June 13, 2003

ROMNEY TEAMS UP WITH EPA TO PROTECT MASS COASTLINE

Federal relief given to cash strapped coastal communities for beach testing

QUINCY – Governor Mitt Romney today took steps to protect state beaches, waters and coastline.

Joined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Christie Todd Whitman, Mitt Romney announced that the Commonwealth will provide weekly beach water lab testing for 60 coastal communities free of charge this summer. Both initiatives will be funded through a $257,000 federal grant provided by the EPA to the state's Department of Public Health (DPH).

Romney also unveiled a new Web site that will allow beachgoers to log on to the Internet to check if local beaches are safe for swimming.

"Summer is right around the corner, and so our thoughts naturally turn to the outdoors and, most especially for those of us in Massachusetts, long days spent at the beach and on the water," said Romney.

"It's also a reminder to all of us that we have a special obligation to our children and future generations to be active stewards in protecting our beaches, waters and coastline," he added.

Romney said that more than $90,000 of the federal grant will be used to pay laboratories for water testing at local communities with marine beaches. The Public Health Department has already contracted for these services with testing laboratories in Barnstable, Chatham, Quincy, Martha's Vineyard and New Bedford.

Additional dollars will be used to fund research efforts at the Bay State's three flagship beaches: Wollaston Beach in Quincy, Ryder Beach in Provincetown and Willows Pier Beach in Salem. The flagship beaches are the most heavily visited in the state and have been known to have past problems with beach water pollution. The Public Health Department will work with environmental engineers and scientists to identify sources of pollution and recommend remedies.

The remaining portion of the grant will be used for technical and administrative support for the program, including a full-time beaches coordinator to work with communities on electronic reporting, maintain a data base of identified pollution sources and develop a quality assurance plan for the beach water lab testing.

"The Department of Public Health is committed to improving the health and safety of Massachusetts beaches," said Public Health Commissioner Christy Ferguson. "We want beachgoers to feel confident before their families leave the sand for the water this summer."

The new beach testing Web site – www.mass.gov/dph -- will enable beachgoers to determine if the beach they are traveling to is posted as open or closed to swimmers on any given day this summer. Beachgoers can also view the most recent water quality lab results online.

A report on marine and fresh water beach testing released today by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found that fewer beaches, 19 percent, were closed for swimming in 2002, compared to 35 percent in 2001.

Wollaston Beach closed most often in 2002, followed by Carson Beach in South Boston, Constitution Beach in East Boston and City Point and Mingo Beach in Beverly. High bacteria levels and preemptive action in closing beaches – following big rainstorms – are the two primary reasons for such closures.

The Federal Beaches Act, approved in 2000, required all states to improve bathing water quality at coastal beaches. A Massachusetts state Beaches law was implemented in 2001. Regulations approved as part of that law require weekly testing of all public bathing beaches in the Commonwealth. Under these regulations, beaches must post warnings to swimmers when water testing reveals elevated levels of bacteria.

June 13, 2003

MASS DEP, USGEN NE AGREE ON SALEM POWER PLANT CLEAN UP PLAN

In a move that earned the overwhelming support of environmental and community groups, the Mitt Romney administration today announced a major step forward in the clean up of the Salem Harbor Power Plant, one of the state's oldest and dirtiest power plants.

The agreement avoids a long and protracted legal battle that would have indefinitely threatened the plant's compliance with the state's strict emission reduction requirements.

"I am pleased we now have a plan for the clean up of the Salem Power Plant," Governor Mitt Romney said. "We can be confident that when this plant runs, the health of the citizens nearby will be protected."

After several weeks of intense negotiations, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), USGEN New England (USGen NE), the City of Salem, the Conservation Law Foundation, HealthLink, MASSPIRG, Clean Water Action and the Wenham Lake Watershed Association reached consensus on a plan to clean up the power plant.

The agreement, embodied in an Administrative Consent Order, was hailed by the City of Salem as well as environmental and community groups.

Salem Mayor Stanley J. Usovicz, Jr., said, "With this agreement, Governor Mitt Romney and I have found common ground that ensures that the environment will be protected while at the same time protecting the long-term viability of Salem Harbor Station – which is tremendously important to the people of Salem."

Usovicz added, "Working together, state officials, environmentalists, communityactivists and the city have crafted a roadmap that will lead to the plant's clean- up as quickly as possible while at the same time preserving jobs and critical tax revenues."

"Through Governor Romney's leadership and vision, all parties to this dispute were able to put down their swords and participate in an overdue but open and honest discussion. Through this process a compromise was reached that not only recognizes the needs of all of the parties, but most importantly better protects the health of those living on the North Shore," said Lori Ehrlich of The Wenham Lake Watershed Association.

"This agreement helps avoid the worst of all possible worlds: a protracted legal battle that extends the timeline for cleanup of the Salem Harbor Station indefinitely," said Cindy Luppi, Clean Water Action Organizing Director. "It also triggers initial pollution reductions immediately, which means a great deal to residents with asthma and other respiratory problems who are most impacted by the plant's emissions."

"This agreement represents a critical step forward in the resolution of the intractable conflict over the Salem Harbor plant and our older power plants in general," said Seth Kaplan, Senior Attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation. "The agreement works because everyone gets something: the community and the environment get the benefit of short term pollution reductions that would not have otherwise happened as well as long term assurance that emissions from the plant will be cleaned up and the city and the company get greater predictability."

"This compromise gives the community some immediate pollution reductions that help offset the longer timeline," said Jane Bright of HealthLink. "Given the health concerns, we felt this was crucial. We are also addressing the coal pile problems in an enforceable document, a bonus since the regulations did not deal with the grime that blows into the neighborhoods and beyond."

"If the plant is needed to deliver electricity, this agreement ensures it will deliver electricity while meeting Massachusetts' clean air rules," said Frank Gorke, the Energy Advocate at MASSPIRG.

The agreement marks the end of litigation between DEP and USGen NE over when the Salem Harbor plant would reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions to comply with regulations passed in 2001 requiring cleanup of the state's oldest coal-fire power facilities.

In the settlement, the company agreed to immediately undertake early emissions reduction measures, including the burning of low-sulfur oil in Unit 4, a measure that will enable the largest unit at the plant to achieve compliance with the SO2 emission standard beginning in January of 2004. In October of 2005, USGen NE will come into compliance with the new air regulations. They will track the amount of emissions generated at the facility and offset excess emissions over time through the use of on-site generated early reduction credits and "overcontrols."

By July of 2006, the agreement anticipates the installation and operation of all control equipment necessary and to achieve full compliance with the state's strict emission standards based on permit, construction and funding constraints.

The company has also agreed to immediately begin year-round operation of controls for nitrogen oxides on coal-burning Units 1-3 to complete burner optimization on Unit 4, to improve its coal-handling and ship unloading procedures, and to seek funding to support the installation of a wind screen for dust mitigation as soon as permitting allows.

"This agreement is a win-win for everyone involved," said Chris Iribe, President of USGEN-New England. "It will help assure electric reliability for the region, which has been of great concern to all involved in this process and it moves forward with near-term environmental protection and improvements at the power plant that everyone has agreed need to be done."


Contact Information:

Mayor Usovicz, City of Salem: 978-740-0072

Seth Kaplan, CLF: 617-350-0990 x721

Jane Bright, HealthLink: 781-631-8104

Lori Ehrlich, The Wenham Lake Watershed Association: 781-639-0299

Cindy Luppi, Clean Water Action: 617-338-8131

Frank Gorke, MASSPIRG: 617-292-4800

Shawn Cooper, National Energy Group: 202-638-3545

June 13, 2003

HEALEY ANNOUNCES $6.8 MILLION FOR NEW TAUNTON HOUSING

WEIR Corporation to build 64 affordable apartments

TAUNTON – In an effort to boost the supply of housing across the Commonwealth, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today announced that the "Robertson on the River" project will receive $6.8 million in financial support to renovate a historic mill building making way for 64 affordable apartments.

"Increasing the supply of housing for low- and moderate-income families is a top priority of the Romney/Healey administration," said Healey. "This significant investment of state financial resources demonstrates our commitment to serving families while also strengthening the economy in Taunton and throughout the Commonwealth."

Healey said WEIR Corporation, a Taunton non-profit Community Development Corporation (CDC), will receive $750,000 from the Housing Stabilization Fund and $806,720 in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which will generate $6,048,720 in investor equity over the next 10 years, for the "Robertson on the River" project.

The funds will enable WEIR to acquire and renovate an existing mill building, located at 120 Ingell Street, and convert it into 64 apartments affordable to low- and moderate-income households. The building also includes small business and commercial space on the first floor and is within walking distance to the local bus line.

Healey was joined by Taunton Mayor Ted Strojny at the announcement. The City of Taunton is providing $148,000 from its Brownfields Clean Up fund for site remediation as well as $600,000 in federal Section 108 Loan funds to support the project.

"I am extremely pleased to see that this affordable housing initiative has been funded and that the City of Taunton could help make this possible," said Mayor Thaddeus Strojny.

The awards announced today are part of $75 million worth of grants, loans and low-income housing tax credits awarded by Governor Mitt Romney last week to create and preserve more than 1,600 rental homes in 33 communities in 21 communities statewide.

Healey said approximately $51 million of the funds will be generated through private investment in exchange for 10 years of state administered federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). Another $23.65 million will be administered from the state Department of Housing and Community Development's (DHCD) Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF), Capital Improvement and Preservation Fund (CIPF), Facilities Consolidation Fund (FCF), HOME program and the Housing Innovations Fund (HIF). Each of the programs is designed to serve developers who produce housing for income eligible seniors, families, individuals and special needs residents across the state.

"This wide array of programs and services helps those who need our assistance to gain access to safe and decent housing," said DHCD Director Jane Wallis Gumble. "I am delighted that our agency is partnering with the WEIR Corporation on a project that will create affordable housing opportunities in the City of Taunton."

Over the past 20 years, WEIR Corporation has spearheaded the revitalization of the City's Weir Village neighborhood including the environmental cleanup and revitalization of numerous Brownfield sites, renovation of historic facades, public park development, mixed-use development, and streetscape improvements.

"The WEIR Corporation thanks the Mitt Romney Administration and the Department of Housing and Community Development for investing in this community-driven, smart growth initiative that not only creates affordable housing, but also preserves Taunton's history, develops riverfront open space, and revitalizes an urban neighborhood," said Teri Bernert, Co-Executive Director, WEIR Corporation.

June 17, 2003

ROMNEY UNVEILS MARKETING EFFORT FOR BIZ EXPANSION

Kicks off multi-million dollar "Massachusetts, It's all Here" campaign

CAMBRIDGE – As part of the effort to rev up the Massachusetts economy, Governor Mitt Romney today kicked off a multi-million dollar integrated marketing campaign to attract new jobs and businesses to the Bay State.

"Massachusetts is one of the most attractive states in the nation in which to do business because of our tremendous resources. We have a highly educated workforce, some of the world's finest health care institutions and top-of-the-line infrastructure," said Romney. "Now, we need to do a better job of getting the word out."

He added, "I've got news for North Carolina and other states that are actively competing against us: With literally thousands of jobs at stake, we are not going to sit by idly."

The campaign is designed to attract fast-growing industries to the state, such as biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, new security/defense and plastics. For each of these sectors, the state will identify companies, both within and outside the state, planning to build or lease facilities in the near future and encourage them to come to Massachusetts.

Specific components of the campaign include the development of marketing materials, print ads in statewide and national publications and a coordinated effort to make it easier for businesses to build facilities here.

The state's Department of Economic Development has committed $250,000 to this effort, with the remainder being financed by MassDevelopment and individual companies in the private sector.

"I urge all businesses in the state to become an active participant in this effort and contribute to the Commonwealth's success," said Romney. "Next week, at the Bio 2003 show, I will personally meet with a number of biopharmaceutical companies who are on the verge of expansion and convince them that Massachusetts is the place to be."

Some of the benefits of doing business in the Commonwealth that Mitt Romney will highlight include significant tax benefits, such as single sales factor, investment tax credits, and research and development tax credits, and access to a highly skilled, educated and productive workforce.

In addition, the state will also identify a number of sites that are pre-screened for

development. This will enable companies to build on these sites without having to go through the local permitting process.

Said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey: "One of the obstacles to economic growth in Massachusetts has been the process by which companies apply for and receive business permits. The state's often unwieldy and lengthy permitting process is part of a heavy-handed regulatory environment that, in the past, has stifled business expansion and productivity."

Contributors to the integrated campaign include: Beal Companies, drug Discovery Conference, Massachusetts Alliance for Economic Development (MAED), Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Massachusetts Economic Development Council, National Grid, Nstar, O'Connell Companies, Spaulding and Slye, Western Mass Electric and Worcester business Development Corporation (WBDC).


June 17, 2003

ROMNEY UNVEILS MARKETING EFFORT FOR BIZ EXPANSION

Kicks off multi-million dollar "Massachusetts, It's all Here" campaign

CAMBRIDGE – As part of the effort to rev up the Massachusetts economy, Governor Mitt Romney today kicked off a multi-million dollar integrated marketing campaign to attract new jobs and businesses to the Bay State.

"Massachusetts is one of the most attractive states in the nation in which to do business because of our tremendous resources. We have a highly educated workforce, some of the world's finest health care institutions and top-of-the-line infrastructure," said Romney. "Now, we need to do a better job of getting the word out."

He added, "I've got news for North Carolina and other states that are actively competing against us: With literally thousands of jobs at stake, we are not going to sit by idly."

The campaign is designed to attract fast-growing industries to the state, such as biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, new security/defense and plastics. For each of these sectors, the state will identify companies, both within and outside the state, planning to build or lease facilities in the near future and encourage them to come to Massachusetts.

Specific components of the campaign include the development of marketing materials, print ads in statewide and national publications and a coordinated effort to make it easier for businesses to build facilities here.

The state's Department of Economic Development has committed $250,000 to this effort, with the remainder being financed by MassDevelopment and individual companies in the private sector.

"I urge all businesses in the state to become an active participant in this effort and contribute to the Commonwealth's success," said Romney. "Next week, at the Bio 2003 show, I will personally meet with a number of biopharmaceutical companies who are on the verge of expansion and convince them that Massachusetts is the place to be."

Some of the benefits of doing business in the Commonwealth that Mitt Romney will highlight include significant tax benefits, such as single sales factor, investment tax credits, and research and development tax credits, and access to a highly skilled, educated and productive workforce.

In addition, the state will also identify a number of sites that are pre-screened for

development. This will enable companies to build on these sites without having to go through the local permitting process.

Said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey: "One of the obstacles to economic growth in Massachusetts has been the process by which companies apply for and receive business permits. The state's often unwieldy and lengthy permitting process is part of a heavy-handed regulatory environment that, in the past, has stifled business expansion and productivity."

Contributors to the integrated campaign include: Beal Companies, drug Discovery Conference, Massachusetts Alliance for Economic Development (MAED), Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Massachusetts Economic Development Council, National Grid, Nstar, O'Connell Companies, Spaulding and Slye, Western Mass Electric and Worcester business Development Corporation (WBDC).


July 23, 2003

ROMNEY SWEARS IN KEEFE AS NATIONAL GUARD CHIEF

Awards $32 Million in Homeland Security Grants to Cities, Towns, Regions

At a swearing in ceremony aboard the USS Constitution, Governor Mitt Romney today announced the reappointment of Major General George W. Keefe as Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard, lauding him for his strong and innovative leadership of the thousands of men and women who comprise the Guard.

Romney also awarded more than $32 million in federal homeland security grants to cities, towns, regional groups and state agencies to help them guard against terrorist threats.

"General Keefe has served our nation and state with excellence," Mitt Romney said. "He has reformed the Massachusetts National Guard and made it one of the preeminent military organizations in the entire country. We are grateful to him for his dedication and service."

He added, "We are fortunate to have such an effective fighting force, but we cannot rest on our laurels. We need to improve other core elements of our homeland security plan and these federal grants will be instrumental in our efforts to ensure our first responders have the resources they need."

General Keefe, of Northampton, has been the Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard since 1999 and is the Governor's senior military advisor. He oversees more than 11,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen and is responsible for protecting life and property as well as preserving peace, order and public safety in times of natural disaster or civil emergency. More than 6,000 National Guard men and women were called upon to serve their nation as part of the recent war in Iraq and the war on terror, including 2,500 who were sent overseas.

"Massachusetts is fortunate to have an Adjutant General that is a natural leader, a man of honor and generally one of the kindest people I have ever met," said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. "Major General Keefe is a true American."

Romney said Massachusetts is the first state in the nation to award its share of the federal funds, which will be distributed to 37 state agencies, regional groups and communities to purchase homeland security equipment, including hazardous materials gear, radio and computer equipment and vehicles.

The Commonwealth conducted an innovative grant application process that rewarded communities for working cooperatively and building on existing law enforcement structures.

The 141 applications were evaluated by the Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPS) based on the threat level of the community or communities involved, their level of preparedness, their level of cooperation with surrounding communities and the reasonableness of their request. Municipal applications were then compared with regional applications to avoid duplication of funding. EOPS called on expert grant readers, including officials from Connecticut, Rhode Island and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University to help in the review process, which was ultimately overseen by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at the state's request.

"As the first state to award this money, we have set the national standard for a competitive grant process," Mitt Romney said. "In fact, we've learned that other states plan to follow the example Massachusetts has set."

The grants come from a total of $42.7 million in federal funds awarded to Massachusetts, including $11.7 million received in May and $31 million received earlier this month during a visit from Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

In total, 141 agencies, regions and municipalities applied for the $32.2 million available funds. Massachusetts funded 37 of these requests primarily for equipment purchases, including $4.1 million for six state agencies, $8.3 million for 14 municipalities and $16.7 million for 17 regional groups. The state will also issue another $3.1 million for exercises, training and planning.

Massachusetts will use $4.1 million of the remaining $42.7 million to reimburse state and local government for the cost of guarding critical infrastructure during Operation Liberty Shield and $6.5 million to develop a strategic planning process for homeland security and a training and exercise program that will benefit all cities and towns.

"The best way to ensure these grants are used to provide the best protection for the people of Massachusetts is for communities to work together, across boundaries and across disciplines," Secretary of Public Safety Ed Flynn said. "I'm pleased so many municipalities worked cooperatively in applying for this money."

There is a federal requirement, which Massachusetts has exceeded, that the money be assigned to its recipients within 45 days.

A complete list of winners is available at www.state.ma.us/eops/news.htm

Romney noted that in addition to the grants announced today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently said the City of Boston will also receive $16,727,125 million in domestic preparedness grant funds and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will receive $3,783,396 million for operational activities conducted under the heightened alert level in May.


June 24, 2003

ROMNEY EMBARKS ON A MISSION TO CREATE MORE JOBS

First Stop: BIO 2003 Conference in Washington, D.C.

Governor Mitt Romney today announced the kick off of a summer-long campaign called "Jobs First" to expand job growth in Massachusetts.

The first stop: The BIO 2003 Conference in Washington, D.C., where Mitt Romney will meet with executives from the nation's top biopharmaceutical firms to promote Massachusetts, followed by a series of jobs-related initiatives that will be announced over the next three months.

"I'm not going to rest until we put Massachusetts back to work," said Romney, at a Logan Airport news conference announcing the "Jobs First" initiative.

Romney's visit to the 10th annual meeting of the Biotechnology Industry Organization symbolizes his commitment to bringing jobs and businesses to Massachusetts. He was accompanied on the trip by Robert Pozen, his chief of commerce and labor.

Romney said he will highlight the Commonwealth's pro-business environment including: significant tax benefits, such as single sales factor, investment tax credits and development tax credits, and access to a highly skilled, educated and productive workforce.

The "Jobs First" program is a component of the Governor's TOPS program (Tapping Our Potential in the State). The initiative will employ a number of strategies to work with both large and small employers to attract, retain, and create jobs in Massachusetts.

It consists of a number of actions that will be undertaken to encourage companies to grow or locate in Massachusetts, match employers with job seekers, create a pro-employment atmosphere, attract more funding for statewide economic development and build awareness of the contributions made by entrepreneurs and businesses.

"You're going to see a lot of the elements of this program start to take shape over the next few months," said Romney. "This is a comprehensive, pro-growth initiative that will help get our economy moving again."

Last week, Mitt Romney launched a multi-million dollar integrated marketing campaign entitled "Massachusetts, It's All Here" to attract fast-growing industries to the Bay State. Specific components of the public-private sector partnership include the development of marketing materials, print ads in statewide and national publications and a coordinated effort to make it easier for businesses to build facilities in the Commonwealth.

June 25, 2003

ROMNEY ANNOUNCES EXTENSION OF INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT

State Retains Critical Pro-Business Incentive

Committed to creating jobs and getting the state's economy back on track, Governor Mitt Romney today announced that he will sign into law a five-year extension of the three percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC) as part of the Fiscal Year 2004 budget.

Without action, the ITC would have reverted to one percent, putting the Bay State's economic competitiveness in serious jeopardy. With Romney's approval, the ITC will be extended for the next five years until January 1, 2009.

"Massachusetts has tremendous potential – a highly skilled and educated workforce, top-notch institutes of higher learning and excellent health care facilities," Mitt Romney said. "But, we need to work harder to convince employers that Massachusetts is a good place to do business – and that starts with a stable tax structure."

He added, "The Investment Tax Credit is one of the vital tools we have to attract employers and stimulate job growth in Massachusetts. I applaud the House and Senate leaders for their efforts to maintain the Bay State's pro-business environment."

Romney noted that a recent study commissioned by the Associated Industries of Massachusetts and conducted by Ernst & Young LLP found that the Bay State gained 4,220 more jobs in 2003 as a result of the ITC.

The ITC allows businesses to offset a portion of the corporate excise tax liability against investment in tangible property. The ITC was created in 1970 to provide an incentive for companies to increase capital investments in Massachusetts with the goal of preserving and expanding manufacturing and other industry employment in the Bay State.

"The results of the ITC have been overwhelmingly positive with an increase in jobs and additional investment in buildings and equipment in Massachusetts" said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey.

"The five-year expansion of the Investment Tax Credit is a tremendous incentive for telecommunications manufacturers to expand and invest in their operations in Massachusetts," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon Region President for Massachusetts and Rhode Island. "Business expansion also triggers additional technology investments by companies like Verizon, which improves the overall infrastructure of the Bay State."

Today's event followed Romney's kick-off of a summer-long campaign called "Jobs First" to expand job growth in Massachusetts. His first stop was at the BIO 2003 conference in Washington, D.C. yesterday where he met one-on-one with executives from the nation's top biopharmaceutical firms to promote the advantages of doing business in the Commonwealth. Other events and announcements are planned to promote Massachusetts as a good place to do business.


June 26, 2003

HEALEY ANNOUNCES TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Springfield High School of Commerce Teacher Honored

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today that announced that the 2003-2004 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year is Melinda A. Pellerin-Duck, a World History, Law, Technology and Resource teacher at the High School of Commerce in Springfield.

Pellerin-Duck, of Springfield, has been teaching for 23 years. She has demonstrated great leadership by implementing programs to support high-risk students preparing for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and partnering with Western New England Law School in a program to ensure that her students learn about law issues alongside first year law students.

Healey commended Pellerin-Duck for her commitment to serving students. "Melinda's continued dedication to the teaching profession has made her a role model for both students and educators alike," said Healey. "Her willingness to embrace the spirit of innovation and the challenges of reform has made her a standard bearer for educational excellence in Massachusetts."

Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll also praised the outstanding work of Pellerin-Duck and the other teachers being recognized at the annual Teacher of the Year ceremony at the State House.

"Melinda has an extraordinary ability to integrate curriculum using the world around her to inspire her students to learn," Driscoll said. "The teachers we are honoring here today are committed to excellence in themselves and in their students."

The Massachusetts Teacher of the Year is automatically the state's candidate for National Teacher of the Year. While remaining in the classroom, Pellerin-Duck will serve as an ambassador to the teaching profession by making speeches and conducting workshops throughout the state.

Pellerin-Duck noted that her philosophy of teaching transcends traditional convention so students are challenged to look at their world in a new and innovative way. "If we teach well and provide unforgettable and meaningful teaching and learning experiences, our students will become stewards of their own destiny," said Pellerin-Duck.

Pellerin-Duck is dedicated to her community and has served as president and board member of the Pioneer Valley Project, which works to empower the poor and disenfranchised in the region. She was selected by the Diocese of Springfield to serve as a member of the National Catholic Campaign for Human Development that fights poverty and advocates for social change.

She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in History and Social Science from Amherst College and a Master's of Education in Instructional Technology from Lesley College.

Pellerin-Duck succeeds Jeffrey R. Ryan, the 2002-2003 Teacher of the Year.

Any resident such as a parent, student, colleague, administrator or superintendent may nominate the Teacher of the Year.

For more information on teacher recognition programs, please visit the Department of Education Web site at www.doe.mass.edu.

Please see the attached list of finalists and semifinalists selected this year.

There were 8 finalists and 9 semifinalists selected this year:


Finalists Semifinalists
Dr. Cellastine Pleasant Bailey

Springfield Public Schools

Debra M. Carson
 

Everett Public Schools

Roberta A. Camacho, Ph.D.

Stoughton Public Schools

Darcy Marie Fernandes
 

Wareham Public Schools

Judi Freeman

Boston Public Schools

David M. Harris
 

Wakefield Public Schools

Francis P. Funai

Springfield Public Schools

Kathleen M. Hogan
 

Belmont Public Schools

Zach Galvin

Natick Public Schools

Elaine Metropolis
 

Peabody Public Schools

Cheryl Christo Hemenway

Arlington Public Schools

Susan K. Perron
 

Northbridge Public Schools

SiriNam S. Khalsa

Springfield Public Schools

Marilyn McLaughlin Poole
 

Belmont Public Schools

Beverly Amaral Tavares

New Bedford Public Schools

David James Stubbart
 

Westborough Public Schools

Margaret H. Woodcome

Hudson Public Schools

June 27, 2003

ROMNEY LAUNCHES NEW WEB TOOL TO ATTRACT JOBS

Site finder promotes opportunities in Massachusetts for new and expanding businesses

BOXBOROUGH – As part of his summer-long campaign to boost job growth in the Bay State, Governor Mitt Romney today unveiled a new web portal – www.massmeansbusiness.com – to promote the Commonwealth to companies thinking of growing or expanding here.

"I am thrilled about Cisco's expansion in Massachusetts. As the state's number one salesman, I am going to pursue companies up and down both coasts to encourage them to grow jobs in Massachusetts," said Romney, attending the grand opening for the new Cisco facility. "This new site finder will add to our efforts to get the Massachusetts economy back on track."

Romney said the new web-based site finder will help businesses find available land for new research facilities, warehouses or factories. It will be populated with information from real estate developers, land owners and real estate brokers, combining site-specific data, including the location and size of the parcel, with Graphic Information Systems (GIS) technology to provide a unique resource to meet a company's real estate needs. Users will also be able to access demographic information about the Commonwealth's unique regions. Eighty-three locations are already on the site with more to come.

Romney said the state is in the process of developing other applications, including resources to help business, particularly small businesses, source financing as well as a "wizard" that will enable small businesses to identify other resources needed to start and grow their businesses.

The new site finder, developed by the Department of Economic Development and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, is part of Romney's effort to rev up the state's economy, known as "Jobs First." The initiative will tap a number of strategies to work with both large and small employers to attract, retain and create jobs in Massachusetts.

Last week, Mitt Romney launched a multi-million dollar integrated marketing campaign entitled, "Massachusetts, It's All Here," to attract fast-growing industries to the Bay State. This week, the Governor traveled to Washington, D.C. to the BIO 2003 Conference where Mitt Romney met with top executives from the nation's top biopharmaceutical firms to promote doing business in the state.


June 30, 2003

ROMNEY SIGNS NO NEW TAX budget IN TIME FOR NEW FISCAL YEAR

Says reforms are a good start, but will continue to fight for more

Governor Mitt Romney today signed into law a $22.1 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2004 that closes a nearly $3 billion gap and does not raise taxes on the people of Massachusetts.

He also announced that he expects the current Fiscal Year 2003, which ends today, to be "in the black," a major turnaround from the $650 million deficit he inherited upon taking office.

Romney vetoed just over $200 million from the spending plan to meet his constitutional requirement to balance the budget. The budget proposes to spend $300 million less than the $22.4 billion that is projected to be spent in the current fiscal year.

He applauded the Legislature for completing the budget in a timely manner so that he could sign it before the start of the new fiscal year, noting that this is the first budget in seven years and only the fourth in 21 years to be finished on time.

"We have successfully closed the largest deficit in our state's history without raising taxes," Mitt Romney said. "Not many states can make that claim, but here in Massachusetts we can be proud of what we have accomplished on behalf of our citizens. I am grateful to the Legislature for their efforts."

He added, "With this budget, we've launched the state on the road to reform. We didn't get everything we wanted, but we got a lot. And as Arnold Schwarzenegger might say, 'I'll be back.'"

The Fiscal Year 2004 spending plan embraces many of the ideas Mitt Romney proposed earlier this year, including:

Creating a unified parks system for the state by merging the patronage-laden Metropolitan District Commission with the Department of Environmental Management to form the new Department of Conservation and Recreation;

Streamlining the 16 health and human services agencies into four groups to replace the confusing maze of bureaucracy with a user-friendly system that is more responsive to the people it serves;

Adopting a system of co-payments for Medicaid recipients to control the skyrocketing cost of health care;

Establishing the Executive Office of Economic Development, led by Secretary Bob Pozen, to coordinate policy for the newly named Department of business and Technology, Office of Consumer Affairs and business Regulation and Department of Labor;

Putting in place the Commonwealth Development Coordinating Council, chaired by Commonwealth Development Chief Doug Foy;

Increasing the contribution state employees make to their health care costs from the current 15 percent to a sliding scale depending on the employee's salary (employees who earn up to $35,000 will continue to pay 15 percent, employees who earn $35,000 or more will pay 20 percent and new employees will pay 25 percent);

Expanding the mission of the Executive Office of Public Safety to include homeland security;

Transferring state property to the pension fund to cover pension liability;

Extending the three percent Investment Tax Credit for five years to Fiscal Year 2009;

Eliminating most minor funds, requiring the Commonwealth to balance its budget honestly;

Giving the Governor's Chief Legal Counsel discretion over the hiring of outside legal counsel and reassigning Executive Branch lawyers if necessary; and

Allowing the Trial Court to retain $40 million in fees, giving the court administrators an incentive to collect them.
Romney said the reforms in the budget represent a solid start, but ticked off a number of items on his agenda that remain unfinished, such as workforce changes and major reforms to transportation, education and the courts.

"Change doesn't happen overnight or in six months," Mitt Romney said. "Reform is a four year job and we'll be fighting for it every step of the way."

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey agreed, saying, "The people of Massachusetts can take pride in the progress that has been made so far. We are putting our state's finances in order and setting the Commonwealth on a long-term road of fiscal stability and economic prosperity."

She added, "Governor Mitt Romney and I look forward to working hard to continue the momentum for change in the months ahead. Together, we will give our Commonwealth a state government that is as efficient, honest and hard-working as the people of Massachusetts deserve."

Because of faulty revenue assumptions and because the Legislature did not adopt all of his reform proposals, Mitt Romney vetoed $201 million in spending, the largest of which was a $23 million reduction in the Additional Assistance category of local aid. He also rejected several items in the budget, saying they take the state in the wrong direction.

Specific vetoes include language that would have:

Moved the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) from the Office of Consumer Affairs and business Regulation to the Treasurer's Office. Mitt Romney also reduced the ABCC budget by $940,000, in line with his budget recommendation, to prevent the restoration of 11 patronage positions he had eliminated earlier this year as part of his 9C cuts;

Expanded the reach of the Boston Municipal Court (BMC) to include all Suffolk County courts. In his budget, Mitt Romney proposed merging the BMC with the rest of the district court system, calling into question judicial equity between district courts. He noted that the administrative overhead costs at the BMC – with one courthouse and 11 judges – is comparable to that of the district court system, with more than 60 courthouses and 170 judges. Mitt Romney also reduced funding for the BMC by $1.5 million, bringing it in line with the Springfield District Court budget, which has roughly the same caseload, according to recent studies;

Given the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority oversight of Interstates 395, 84 and 291 in addition to Interstate 90. Earlier this year, Mitt Romney had proposed merging the Turnpike Authority with the Massachusetts Highway Department to eliminate duplication and free up a $191 million reserve for this year and at least $23 million each year in administrative savings. He said the Turnpike Authority was not accountable to the taxpayers and questioned whether expanding its jurisdiction would result in greater mismanagement and new or higher tolls for commuters. Mitt Romney also noted that the Massachusetts Highway Department requires $76,000 to maintain each mile of roadway while the Turnpike Authority requires $211,000 to do the same job;

Renewed the ill-conceived $1.30 pharmacy tax levied on every prescription filled, which has a disproportionate impact on senior citizens and others who live on fixed incomes. This tax was scheduled to be reduced to 65 cents on July 1, 2004, but with Romney's veto will no longer be imposed;

Changed the English immersion ballot initiative to permit "two-way" bilingual programs, creating a major loophole in the new law;

Watered down the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) graduation requirement for special needs students. Mitt Romney said he will hold all pupils accountable to high standards and will not abandon special needs students, noting that 75 percent of special needs students in the class of 2003 have passed the test; and

Allowed education and training to substitute for the 20-hour per week work requirement for able-bodied welfare recipients. This veto saves $8 million and preserves the cornerstone of welfare reform, which has been the work requirement. Mitt Romney signed into law a provision expanding the work requirement to recipients who have children between the ages of two and five.
"This year's budget represents just the first step," Mitt Romney said. "We still have financial challenges ahead of us, but with ingenuity and hard work, we can solve them."

He added, "We will continue to push for our plans to merge the Turnpike Authority, adopt court reform and institute workforce changes that will give us the tools to manage effectively. Our energy is limitless."

In the budget Mitt Romney signed, the Prescription Advantage program is preserved and MassHealth Basic coverage to 36,000 individuals who lost it earlier this year is restored.

Saying he is not in favor of taxpayer funds being used for political campaigns, Mitt Romney also allowed to stand a repeal of the Clean Elections system. During the campaign, he proposed a way to shift the burden off of the taxpayers and onto the politicians themselves. Under his plan, political candidates who do not abide by the spending and fundraising limits would transfer 10 percent of their receipts in order to subsidize qualified candidates who abide by the limits.

Romney endorsed the changes to the Quinn Bill, but filed an amendment to ask for two exemptions. He proposed grandfathering in law enforcement officials who have served 30 or more consecutive days in active military duty since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 or who have more than half of the credits necessary to earn a degree.

"I support the changes to the Quinn Bill," Mitt Romney said. "The exceptions I have proposed are fair to our police officers who have either served their country or are more than halfway through their course of study."

In addition, Mitt Romney returned with an amendment a budget provision requiring the Health and Human Services Secretary to develop a coordinated prescription drug procurement program. The amendment requires the state move forward with coordinated purchasing, but makes key changes to make sure it is implemented more effectively. It institutes a competitive bid process to select a qualified pharmacy benefits management company, extends the implementation time from six months to one year and allows the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to have more discretion over the program guidelines.

Romney also fulfilled a commitment to provide signing bonuses to teachers by filing an amendment to the budget that will provide $4 million in already pledged bonuses to educators.

July 3, 2003

ROMNEY CELEBRATES PASSAGE OF NEW DRUNK DRIVING LAW

Urges motorists to drive safely and soberly over 4th of July weekend

Governor Mitt Romney today celebrated the signing of a tough new law that will help curb tragic drunk driving accidents in the Bay State and urged motorists to drive safely over the long 4th of July holiday weekend.

The new .08 "per se" law, signed on Monday by Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey when Mitt Romney was out of town, will save lives and prevent Massachusetts from losing more than $55 million in federal highway dollars over the next four years.

According to Romney, Massachusetts State Police will have 150 extra patrols on the highways this weekend to crack down on aggressive and reckless driving.

"Today, Massachusetts has a tough, new drunk driving law on the books," Mitt Romney said. "Sadly, for many years, we were the only state without a per se statute. Now, we can proudly take our place with the rest of the nation."

Romney said the new law, which he filed in February, stipulates that if a motorist is detected having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, that individual is in fact considered driving under the influence. Before the new measure, Massachusetts law left open the question as to whether or not an individual who has a BAC of .08 or higher is truly intoxicated. In a court of law, .08 percent BAC was evidence of intoxication, but not irrefutable proof.

The new law coincides with the Executive Office of Public Safety's new campaign to curb drunk driving, known as "You Drink & Drive. You Lose." As part of the program, nearly 300 local police departments and the State Police will conduct high-visibility traffic enforcement to target impaired drivers during the holiday weekend.

"Law enforcement is always on the lookout for impaired drivers, but police will be paying even closer attention over the Independence Day weekend as part of this campaign," Secretary of Public Safety Ed Flynn said. "It's our hope that this enforcement, together with this tough new drunk driving law, will make a difference where the rubber meets the road."

Romney said the new law also prevents the loss of millions of dollars in federal highway funds used to upgrade the state's aging infrastructure. Without this law in place by June 30th, the state would have lost $2 million. If it had not been in place by October 1st, Massachusetts would have lost an additional two percent of federal highway funds in Fiscal Year 2004. That percentage increases by another two percent each year to eight percent in Fiscal Year 2007 and every year thereafter. Using this formula, the loss to Massachusetts would have been $5.4 million in Fiscal Year 2004, $10.8 million in Fiscal Year 2005, $16.2 million in Fiscal Year 2006 and $21.6 million in each Fiscal Year thereafter.

"Massachusetts was facing the stark possibility of losing federal highway money for not passing a measure that almost everyone agrees should be state law," said Transportation Secretary Daniel Grabauskas. "This is really a win any way you look at it – both for public safety and for the road and bridge program."

The per se law also increases the automatic license suspension period for refusal to take a breathalyzer from four months to six months and reduces the suspension period if the test is taken and failed from three months to one month. It is believed that this measure will increase the incentive to take the test and increase personal accountability to not get behind the wheel while potentially intoxicated.

Drunk driving continues to pose a significant public safety threat to the citizens of the Bay State. This is confirmed by the most recent statistics on Massachusetts traffic crashes and alcohol-related fatalities, which indicate the following:

Total Traffic Crash Deaths in 2001: 477

Total Alcohol-Related Traffic Deaths in 2001: 234

Total of 2001 Traffic Deaths Due to Alcohol: 49 percent

Although the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Massachusetts has decreased from 407 in 1982 to 234 in 2001, the percentage of total traffic deaths in Massachusetts being attributable to alcohol at 49 percent is higher than the national average of 41 percent. Enhancement of our drunk driving laws will enable Massachusetts to achieve the far more important accomplishment of reducing the number of alcohol-related fatalities.


July 8, 2003

HEALEY STANDS UP FOR WILL OF VOTERS ON ENGLISH IMMERSION

Urges Legislature to sustain Romney's veto and guarantee success of students

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today urged the Legislature to uphold the will of the voters by sustaining Governor Mitt Romney's veto of a provision that would allow non-English speaking students under the age of 10 to participate in "two-way" bilingual education programs.

"The voters have spoken loudly and clearly on the issue of bilingual education and they are right," Healey said. "It is now time for the Legislature to demonstrate respect not only for the clear wishes of the people of Massachusetts, but also for the children that will be left behind without an English immersion program.

Healey noted that the people of Massachusetts last November overwhelmingly voted to end the failed experiment of bilingual education and replace it with English immersion. She said the Legislature created a loophole in the new law by permitting "two-way" bilingual programs for students who are not proficient in English.

Healey also pointed out that the new English immersion law does not completely ban "two-way" bilingual programs, but it does require that participants are proficient in English first or be at least 10 years of age or older.

Healey said the new law requires that all non-English learners, unless they receive a waiver, be enrolled in sheltered English immersion classrooms for at least one year. In these classes, virtually all instruction, books and materials will be in English. Once the students are deemed fluent in English, they will receive instruction in traditional classrooms with other students in their grade level.

This represents a dramatic change from the existing transitional bilingual education system in which limited English proficient students are placed in bilingual education classrooms for up to three years. In these classes, they are taught English, but learn every other subject in their native language as they gradually gain English proficiency.

Healey was joined by several backers of the new English immersion law, who joined her in urging the Legislature to sustain the Governor's veto.

"We need to adhere to the laws that have been passed to assure that Latino children are not shortchanged in their education," said Carol Sanchez, a supporter of the law.

For more information on Question 2, visit the Department of Education web site at www.doe.mass.edu/ell.


July 8, 2003

HEALEY PLEDGES $26.7 MILLION FOR MAVERICK DEVELOPMENT

Tax credit equity, loans help finance East Boston HOPE VI project

EAST BOSTON – Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today joined Boston Mayor Tom Menino, Senate President Robert Travaglini and other state and local officials at a groundbreaking ceremony for nearly 400 new homes on the waterfront.

Healey pledged $11.7 million worth of low-income housing tax credits and loans for the second phase of the Maverick Gardens Hope VI project, and an additional $15 million in tax credits for the third and final phase of the project, which will begin later this year.

"Today we celebrate the ongoing partnership and investment of financial resources in the revitalization of this East Boston neighborhood," said Healey. "Our commitment of public funds, along with private investment generated through the sale of low-income housing tax credits, will serve as a catalyst for not only affordable housing at Maverick Gardens, but for the rehabilitation of the surrounding community as well."

Healey said that when the Maverick Gardens revitalization is complete, 396 new apartments will be available, including 305 for low- and moderate-income families. The new homes will replace 413 public housing units. Construction is expected to be completed in the summer of 2006.

"This project is an example of the good that can be accomplished when we work together to achieve our goals," said Menino. "We all want to ensure that everyone who needs it has a decent, affordable place to live. I look forward to continuing our relationships with these partners as we improve the state of housing in Boston and all of Massachusetts."

Approximately $11 million in private investment will be generated in exchange for 10 years of state administered federal low-income housing tax credits at $1.36 million each year. An additional $15 million in project financing will be generated from the future sale of another 10-year, $2.12 million tax credit deal for the third phase of construction. She noted that $750,000 in federal HOME funds will also be used to finance the second phase of the project.

Healey noted that the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), which administers both programs, also contributed $750,000 in HOME funds for the first construction phase.

In October 2001, the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) received a $35 million HOPE VI grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to revitalize the entire Maverick development, and the BHA named Trinity East Boston Partners (Trinity Financial and the East Boston Community Development Corporation) to be the project developer. The total project cost is estimated at $105 million. Other project funding sources include the Boston Housing Authority, the City of Boston and the quasi-public agency MassHousing.

HUD's HOPE VI program serves to transform public housing by:

Changing the physical shape of public housing;
Establishing positive incentives for resident self-sufficiency and comprehensive services that empower residents;
Lessening concentrations of poverty by placing public housing in non-poverty neighborhoods and promoting mixed-income communities; and
Forging partnerships with other agencies, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses to leverage support and resources.
"This is a perfect example of how, even in these economically uncertain times, the state can still deliver on its core mission of serving the housing needs of low- and moderate-income families," said DHCD Director Jane Wallis Gumble. "It is through this commitment of public and private resources along with our partnership with the federal government, that help make a redevelopment project like Maverick Gardens a reality."


July 10, 2003

HEALEY ANNOUNCES crime COMMISSION

Bi-partisan commission will examine criminal justice system at every level

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today announced the creation of the Governor's Commission on Criminal Justice Innovation, tasked with advising Governor Mitt Romney on cutting-edge crime-fighting techniques and ways to make Massachusetts safer for all residents.

"The Commission on Criminal Justice Innovation will be bi-partisan and take a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary look at the criminal justice system at every level," Healey said.

She also noted that with the recent spate of killings, the commission will have a special focus on crime in our urban centers.

Healey said, "We will work together to refocus our attention on the needs of our cities. The recent loss of young lives and the tragic shooting of an innocent three-year-old girl playing on her family's front porch are intolerable. It is painfully clear that the street terror must stop."

Healey, a criminologist, who has conducted extensive research in a variety of public safety disciplines, said the new commission will bring together leaders from federal, state and local criminal justice agencies, representatives of human service, education, community and religious groups and experts in the field of prisoner re-entry.

"It is more important than ever to implement a coordinated, multi-agency approach to public safety," said Attorney General Tom Reilly. "I applaud Governor Mitt Romney and Lieutenant Governor Healey for bringing together a broad range of professionals to take a fresh look at security techniques and develop a multi-disciplined approach to law enforcement in our Commonwealth."

"I applaud the Governor and Lieutenant Governor for their leadership role in this critically important endeavor," said United States Attorney Michael Sullivan. "By bringing together multiple agencies and criminal justice disciplines, we will ensure an integrated and coordinated approach to myriad public safety issues."

The Commission will report its recommendations to the Governor by the beginning of next year, including possible legislative remedies as well as promising practices and innovations that can be implemented statewide.

The commission will include five different subcommittees to identify the best ideas currently in place both here in Massachusetts as well as across the nation.

The subcommittees will focus on:

Re-entry and Post Release Supervision

Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins, Chair
Parole Board Chair Maureen Walsh, Co-Chair
The subcommittee will examine the state's current approach to prisoner re-entry and post-release supervision and make recommendations concerning how best to create a seamless continuum of services and safeguards.

Law Enforcement Education and Training

Undersecretary of Public Safety Robert Haas, Chair
The subcommittee will evaluate contemporary and relevant police education and advise the Commission on the development of continuing education curriculum. The group will also examine the best methods for training state and local law enforcement officers in areas of response, prevention and awareness, especially with their expanded role as first responders and defenders of our homeland security.

Forensic Sciences

Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz, Chair
The subcommittee will evaluate the present state of the Bay State's forensic science law enforcement community with an emphasis on the expansion of our DNA testing labs and the integration of all of our forensic science departments.

Urban crime Strategies

Assistant U.S. Mary Ann Hinkle, Chair
Boston Police Superintendent Paul Joyce, Co-chair

This subcommittee has the dual task of researching crime prevention and intervention strategies for the state's big cities. It will look to the best practices of programs already up and running in our cities with the goal of duplicating them in communities statewide.
 

Cross Agency Information Sharing

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Chief Information Officer Peter Quinn, Chair
This subcommittee will examine the uses of the latest information and telecommunications technology to enhance effectiveness, productivity and officer safety. They will advise the Commission on the best standards for data processing and work towards the development and coordination of federal, state and local criminal justice information systems.

Healey said the Administration will rely on the commission's findings in crafting budgetary and legislative priorities for next year. Given the on-going fiscal crisis, the Commission, as part of its assessment of best practices, will seek the most cost-effective criminal justice programs and policy solutions. The Executive Board will review the Commission's recommendations before they are forwarded to the Governor.

"Governor Mitt Romney and I both believe strongly that public safety is a top priority of government," said Healey. "The work of this commission will ultimately improve the criminal system in Massachusetts for everyone's benefit."

Governor's Commission on Criminal Justice Innovation

Executive Board


Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, Chair
Attorney General Thomas Reilly
United States Attorney Michael Sullivan
Secretary of Public Safety Edward Flynn
Health and Human Services Secretary Ron Preston
Senate Minority Leader Brian Lees
Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chair Thomas McGee
House Minority Leader Bradley Jones
House Criminal Justice Committee Chair James Vallee
Special Agent Ken Kaiser, Boston FBI Agent in Charge
First Assistant United States Attorney Gerard T. Leone, Jr.
Massachusetts State Police Colonel Thomas Foley
Boston Police Commissioner Paul Evans
Probation Commissioner John O'Brien
Massachusetts District Attorneys Association Executive Director Geline Williams
Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston Executive Director Harold Sparrow
Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee Chair Robert Gittens
Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance Executive Director Janet Fine

July 11, 2003

CALL GOES OUT FOR NOMINATIONS FOR CIVILIAN BRAVERY AWARD

Award honors memory of American Airlines flight attendant Amy Sweeney

With the two-year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks approaching, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today announced that the state is accepting nominations for the "Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery."

Healey encouraged Massachusetts residents to nominate civilian heroes in their communities for this award, which is presented annually on September 11th.

"The award recognizes that heroism is not limited to the men and women of our armed forces, police and fire departments," said Healey. "Acts of heroism are performed by ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances with this award we seek to honor those people in the spirit of Amy's bravery."

On September 11, 2001, Amy Sweeney, a flight attendant for 14 years, was working on American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to strike the World Trade Center. As it became clear that the airplane was doomed, Sweeney displayed great courage in the face of danger by phoning the airline's ground service crew to convey critical information about the five hijackers and their fatal actions on the plane that morning.

Recipients of the award must demonstrate exceptional bravery without regard for personal safety in an effort to save the life of an individual in actual danger.

"My family is very proud of Amy for what she was able to do on that horrific day in September," said Michael Sweeney, Amy's husband. "For that reason, this award is very special to us. Although every September 11th will be very difficult not only for my family but for so many others, my hope is that at least for a short period of time, on every September 11th, my family, and I hope others, will try to focus on celebrating Amy's spirit that lives on in other civilian heroes."

Massachusetts 9/11 Fund President Roderick MacLeish said, "Amy Sweeney demonstrated the type of courage that defined America's response to 9/11. The families we assist at the 9/11 Fund are honored to lend their support to this award not only honoring Amy but the many like her who are heroes."

Healey encouraged individuals to access the "Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery" nomination forms at www.mass.gov/gov. She said nomination forms should be either submitted electronically or by mailing the form to "Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery" c/o Executive Office of Public Safety, One Ashburton Place, Boston, Massachusetts, 02108. Application forms are due by August 15, 2003.

To promote the award, Healey also said the Executive Office of Public Safety will provide a link to the nomination form to the Commonwealth's Police and Fire Chiefs via the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS).


July 14, 2003

ROMNEY CREATES NEW ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT AWARD

Presents Inc. magazine founder Bernie Goldhirsh with first award posthumously

Governor Mitt Romney today recognized the innovation that drives the Massachusetts economy by establishing the Governor's Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

Romney said the newly created award, which is part of his ongoing campaign to grow jobs and spur the Massachusetts economy, will be presented monthly to an individual who has succeeded as an entrepreneur in Massachusetts and inspired others to turn their ideas into action.

He presented the first award posthumously to Bernard Goldhirsh, who passed away last month at age 63.

"Today, we remember and recognize a true entrepreneur," said Romney. "The establishment of this award will help us show our appreciation to the individuals who contribute to our economy and generate new wealth, prosperity and jobs."

"Each month, we will present this award to an individual who, like Bernie Goldhirsh, uses innovation and drive to grow small ideas into the businesses that make Massachusetts the leader we are."

Throughout his career, Goldhirsh brought hundreds of jobs to the Bay State. In 1979, he founded Inc., the first magazine for small business entrepreneurs, and made it a near-instant success by turning a profit within two years and achieving a circulation of more than 650,000. Inc. began as a newsletter publishing business in Goldhirsh's basement and ended up being sold for $200 million in 2000.

Goldhirsh's success in magazines began with Sail, which focused on the practical interests of owners of small sailboats. In addition, Goldhirsh published various other magazines, including High Technology, which he sold in 1987, and business Month, which closed in 1990.

"My father would have been very proud to receive this award," said Ben Goldhirsh, Bernie's son, who accepted the award on behalf of his family. "Entrepreneurial spirit was at the heart of his existence. Bringing this spirit to the public through Inc. magazine was one of his most important objectives and, in turn, one of his greatest successes. The jobs which Inc. created, directly through the magazine's employment as well as indirectly through an inspiration of small business growth across the nation, is an achievement which gave my father heartfelt satisfaction.

Bernie's son added, "My father believed each person was charged with leaving the world a better place then how they had found it. Undoubtedly, he succeeded in this quest."

Goldhirsh was born in Brooklyn, New York and put himself through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he received a bachelor's degree in 1961. He served on the board of MIT's Technology Review and the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Over the years, he received many awards including the Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the University of Southern California School of Business, the business News Luminary Award from TJFR, and the Henry Johnson Fisher Award from the Magazine Publishers of America.

Last month, Mitt Romney launched a summer long campaign called "Jobs First" to expand job growth. The "Jobs First" program is a component of the Governor's TOPS program (Tapping Our Potential in the State). The initiative will employ a number of strategies to work with both large and small employers to attract, retain and create jobs in Massachusetts.


July 16, 2003

WITH FOCUS ON ECONOMY, Mitt Romney KICKS OFF "JOBS FIRST" FORUMS

Takes his jobs campaign to Fall River, gets feedback from local business leaders

FALL RIVER – Governor Mitt Romney today kicked off the first in a series of "Jobs First" forums across the Commonwealth as he took his campaign to stimulate job growth on the road to Southeastern Massachusetts.

At the forum, Mitt Romney outlined his six-point TOPS program – Tapping Our Potential in the State – to get the Massachusetts economy back on track. He also solicited input from Fall River-area business leaders about how the state can help with their needs.

Romney noted that the unemployment rate in Fall River at 7.2 percent in May is higher that the statewide rate of 5.5 percent, and that government needs to focus on the employment needs of all regions and especially those that exceed the statewide unemployment average.

"I am committed to putting Massachusetts back to work," Mitt Romney said. "As difficult as our challenges are, we have enormous potential – a diverse economy, a highly educated workforce and major academic and research institutions."

"But we can only be successful by working together, all of us, Democrats and Republicans, business and labor, to create an environment that allows job growth and development to take place," he said.

After the forum, Mitt Romney joined local officials in a groundbreaking ceremony of a new 200,000 square foot state-of-the-art window production and distribution facility for Silver Line Building Products Corporation.

Silver Line recently received certification through the state's Economic Development Initiative Program (EDIP) for a $13.1 million project that will create 457 new jobs for the South Coast Region within the first five years of operation. The Fall River location will manufacture vinyl windows and distribute them to customers in New England. Construction is anticipated to start in summer of 2003 with completion by January 2004.

"This new facility is significant for Silver Line in many ways," said Ken Silverman, President & CEO of Silver Line Building Products. "From a business standpoint, Massachusetts is a strategic location that supports our company's growth and expansion plans. Locating our company here will help us focus directly on the needs of building professionals in this region."

In outlining his six-pronged TOPS program, Mitt Romney said government can play an important role in economic development by doing the following:


Preserving a stable and competitive tax base;
Holding down the cost of doing business in Massachusetts;
Taming the high cost of housing by increasing the supply;
Connecting our higher education system to regional
workforce needs;
Reforming state government to improve the delivery of
services; and
Working aggressively to bring more jobs to the state.
 

"In order to put Massachusetts back to work, the most important thing that government can do is to create the right environment for economic expansion and job growth. Employers will do the rest," said Romney.


July 17, 2003

ROMNEY APPOINTS REEBOK'S PAUL FOSTER TO MASSPORT BOARD

Governor Mitt Romney today announced the appointment of Paul D. Foster, a Vice President at Reebok International, to the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) Board of Directors.

Foster replaces Lucy Flynn for a seven-year term on the seven-member board.

"Paul Foster has a unique blend of public and private sector experience that will make him an asset to the Massport Board as they continue taking strides to make all the facilities they manage first-class," Mitt Romney said. "I am thrilled Paul has agreed to take on this important assignment."

Foster has significant public and private sector leadership experience. Currently, he is the Vice President of Trade, Communications and Governmental Relations at Reebok International, a position he has held for 12 years. He is also the Executive Director of the Reebok Human Rights Foundation.

Prior to joining Reebok, Foster spent eight years as the Vice President for Corporate Communications at Boston Whaler, Inc.

Before entering the private sector, Foster worked for the City of Boston for 14 years, including six years during two different stints as the Deputy Commissioner at the Boston Transportation Department.

"It is an honor and a privilege to serve Governor Mitt Romney in this capacity," said Foster, who attended his first Board meeting today. "I look forward to working with Chief Executive Officer Craig Coy and the other members of the Board."

Massport, an independent public authority, oversees Logan International Airport, Hanscom Field, Worcester Regional Airport, the Tobin Memorial Bridge and the Port of Boston, which collectively employ more than 30,000 people and generate more than $8 billion each year for the regional economy.

Foster's appointment drew praise from Massport officials.

John Quelch, Chairman of Massport's Board of Directors, said, "I want to welcome Paul Foster to the Board and thank him for agreeing to serve our region in this way. Paul's experience will make him a strong partner in the board's efforts to help Massport formulate strategies that will make our facilities world-class."

Craig Coy, Massport's Chief Executive Officer, added, "Paul Foster's mix of private sector community work at Reebok and the many years he served the City of Boston make him a great addition to our seven-member Board of Directors. That Paul is eager to roll up his sleeves and jump into the work of this very active board is even better."

Foster holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Prince Edward Island and a master's degree from the Boston University School of Communications.

Foster, age 63, resides in Boston.


July 18, 2003

ROMNEY WELCOMES ANOTHER COMPANY TO MASSACHUSETTS

High-tech firm STARBAK pulls up stakes in Ohio to come to Bay State

WALTHAM – Governor Mitt Romney today praised STARBAK Communications for its decision to relocate to Massachusetts from Ohio as he touted the advantages that make the Bay State attractive for business growth and development.

"Obviously, you faced a choice. You could have remained in Ohio, or moved to any of the other 49 states. Instead, you came to Massachusetts," Mitt Romney told company officials at a welcoming ceremony. "We have the people, the capital and the technology market. But of course, you know all that. That's why you came here."

Romney also outlined his six-point TOPS program – Tapping Our Potential in the State – to get the Massachusetts economy back on track.

"I am committed to putting Massachusetts back to work. As difficult as our challenges are, we have enormous potential," Mitt Romney said, citing "a diverse economy, highly-educated workforce and major academic and research institutions."

Romney also celebrated STARBAK's latest round of venture capital funding, which will enable them to increase their workforce by over 10 percent by the end of this year. Of the three venture capital firms investing $3 million in the company, two have offices in Boston – Atlas Venture and Venrock.

STARBAK Communications, with 43 employees, is a leader in award-winning streaming media solutions. According to company officials, they relocated to Waltham to be closer to their customers, to a highly-talented workforce and to the venture capital community.

"This move emphasizes our ongoing commitment to best serve our strategic partners and customers," said Joe Cameratta, STARBAK's chairman and CEO. "Boston is home to many of our current partners and customers, whom we can better serve with face-to-face interaction. We look forward to expanding our customer base here as well as we continue to develop relationships with reseller, enterprises, and end users of streaming media technology."

Cameratta continued, "As we continue to grow, so does our need for world-class engineers. Boston is a hotbed of technology with an impressive pool of engineering talent, and we look forward to incorporating new members into our dedicated and experienced team."

STARBAK Communications, privately-funded, is the only company focused on providing end-to-end solutions that enable customers to create, manage and deliver video applications over IP, such as distance learning, corporate communications, employee training, telemedicine, government applications, and more. Dedicated to reducing the cost and complexity of delivering streaming multimedia to customers, employees, and business partners, the company has implemented high performance Windows Media and RTSP streaming and cache proxy engines running under various UNIX operating systems including Linux. These solutions are easily integrated into existing network infrastructures while providing performance far superior to competitive products, including the ability to stream multiple formats from a single unit.

In outlining his six-pronged TOPS program, Mitt Romney said government can play an important role in economic development by doing the following:

• Preserving a stable and competitive tax base;

• Holding down the cost of doing business in Massachusetts;

• Increasing the supply of housing, thereby bringing down prices;

• Connecting our higher education system to regional workforce needs;

• Reforming state government to improve the delivery of services; and working aggressively to bring more jobs to the state.

"In order to put Massachusetts back to work, the most important thing that government can do is to create the right environment for economic expansion and job growth. Employers will do the rest," said Romney.


July 21, 2003

ROMNEY UNVEILS NEW INNER CITY INVESTMENT AWARD

First award goes to Lawrence businessman Maurice Ferre

Governor Mitt Romney today recognized the importance of business investment and job creation in the Commonwealth's urban centers by creating the Governor's Inner City Investment Award.

Romney presented the first award to Dr. Maurice Ferre, founder of Lawrence- based Visualization Technology, Inc. The award will be presented monthly to an individual whose leadership and business success have brought new economic investment and jobs to the Bay State's cities.

"Dedication to the community is what distinguishes entrepreneurs like Maurice," said Romney. "His commitment to professional success is matched only by his concern for the well being of his employees, friends and neighbors."

The award is a component of Romney's "Jobs First" initiative, and honors the dedication and hard work of those men and women who contribute to the revitalization of the Commonwealth's cities. Mitt Romney also recently created the Governor's Entrepreneurial Spirit Award to recognize the innovation that drives the state's economy.

"Entrepreneurs take initiatives and risks in areas where success is most likely. Massachusetts is a state with tremendous human capital, advanced medical technology and a strong business infrastructure that make companies like VTI a success," said Dr. Maurice Ferre. "I was privileged to work with a most resilient and hard working team at VTI. With this recognition my resolve to continue contributing to our diverse community only grows."

Romney noted that, "Over the last decade, the urban crime rate has gone down and urban investment has gone up. This has happened for one simple reason: We now realize that our cities are engines of economic growth. Visualization Technology is a great example of the kind of investment that is bringing the Massachusetts economy back on track."

After graduating from Boston University Medical School, Ferre founded Visualization Technology, Inc., locating the start-up company in Lawrence in 1993.

Starting with a staff of just three employees, VTI began designing 3D medical imaging equipment. The equipment, often referred to as a smaller version of the Global Positioning System, allows surgeons to see 3D views of a patient's brain or knee while maneuvering through delicate tissues. Ferre's imaging equipment has made countless operations both safer and less invasive for patients. Today, doctors in more than 500 hospitals use VTI's technology.

Last year, General Electric acquired VTI, now known as GE Medical Systems Surgical Navigation. Ferre insisted that the company stay in Lawrence. GE agreed, keeping VTI right where it began – in a converted mill in the heart of the city now employing 170 people. Ferre is now pursuing a new venture in medicine and health care technology.

"Maurice Ferre's accomplishments in the fields of medicine and technology illustrate in a dramatic way the extraordinary range of contributions Latinos make to our economy," said Alvaro Lima, President, Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce. "Tens of thousands of Latinos in Massachusetts perform the basic tasks that support economic growth. Mr. Ferre has demonstrated that Latinos can participate - and, indeed, lead - at the other end of the spectrum, where knowledge and entrepreneurship combine to create jobs and wealth."

Last month, Mitt Romney launched a summer long campaign called "Jobs First" to expand job growth. The "Jobs First" program is a component of the Governor's TOPS program (Tapping Our Potential in the State). The initiative will employ a number of strategies to work with both large and small employers to attract, retain and create jobs in Massachusetts.


July 23, 2003

ROMNEY CELEBRATES NEW CHAPTER IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Signs legislation that provides flexibility in meeting housing goals

Governor Mitt Romney today celebrated the signing of a new law that will allow MassHousing to continue to make loans to finance affordable housing in the Commonwealth.

Within weeks, the quasi-public agency was poised to come up against its legal debt cap for rental housing, which would have prevented it from making any new loans for mixed-income rental housing developments.

"This new law will allow MassHousing to finance mixed-income homes without interruption," said Romney. "We must work harder, and be smarter, to increase the state's housing supply and have it affordable to those across a broad range of incomes."

While MassHousing had additional lending capacity to make loans to first-time home buyers, the measure signed by Mitt Romney allows MassHousing to combine two separate debt limits for rental housing and home ownership into one. No new funds are being made available. Rather, the action allows MassHousing to make better use of its existing resources.

Romney signed the bill at the Providence House in Brighton, which will become a 102-unit assisted living complex for the elderly. Adjacent to the Providence House will be the rehabilitated Seton Manor, an existing 20-unit building that houses people with HIV/AIDS.

Both developments are receiving financing from MassHousing, with the aid of the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Commonwealth's Affordable Housing Trust Fund and the City of Boston.

"We are grateful to Governor Romney, HUD Committee Co-Chairs Rep. Kevin Honan and Sen. Harriette Chandler and the Legislature for their quick action in getting this bill passed and signed into law," said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason. "We can now continue to do what we do best, which is make loans that produce attractive and much-needed rental housing units."

Chartered in 1966, MassHousing sells bonds to generate loan proceeds that it lends to developers who build or rehabilitate mixed-income rental housing, and to low- and moderate-income homebuyers. MassHousing's bonds are not obligations of the Commonwealth, and do not affect the Commonwealth's debt ceiling. The statute that created MassHousing included two debt limits for rental housing and home mortgage loans. The limits have been periodically raised over the years.

"The state's housing crisis requires that we give top priority to produce housing for our workforce and to stimulate economic development. This MassHousing funding presents an opportunity for our state government to fulfill the dreams of thousands of first-time homebuyers and for renters to find an affordable, decent place to live," said Kevin G. Honan, HUD Committee Co-Chair.

Since making its first loan in 1970, MassHousing (formally the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency) has provided approximately $7.5 billion in financing for 79,000 rental-housing units and 43,000 home mortgage loans.

July 24, 2003

ROMNEY ANNOUNCES NEW JOBS INITIATIVE TO PROMOTE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND REVITALIZATION

Boston is One of 63 Communities in Massachusetts Eligible for New Markets Tax Credits

ROXBURY – Standing in front of Hibernian Hall in Roxbury, Governor Mitt Romney today announced the New Markets Tax Credits Connection, a clearinghouse of application information, investor attraction and project advocacy for all eligible Massachusetts communities. In another effort to stimulate job growth, Mitt Romney reached out to community leaders to encourage them to apply for the tax credits to promote economic development and revitalization.

As part of Romney's six-point TOPS program – Tapping Our Potential in the State – this is one of many efforts to get the Massachusetts economy back on track. At the event, he encouraged financial institutions to participate in the New Markets Tax Credits program.

The New Markets Tax Credit Program permits taxpayers to receive a credit against federal income taxes for making qualified equity investments in designated Community Development Entities (CDEs).

Romney noted that only two groups from Massachusetts — the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC), and Nuestra Comunidad — received tax credits in 2002, representing only $26 million out of a total of $2.5 billion that was available from the federal government. By contrast, Phoenix, Arizona alone collected $170 million.

"Our aim is to increase our share," said Romney. "We must do better if we're serious about pumping millions of dollars into our economy."

The New Markets Connection will be a clearinghouse of application information, investor attraction and project advocacy for all eligible Massachusetts communities.

"I am committed to putting Massachusetts back to work," Mitt Romney said. "Our goal with this clearinghouse is to increase the amount of credit allocation to Massachusetts organizations and projects, so we can begin to attract and direct resources to qualifying communities whose reinvestment is an important pathway to entrepreneurship, community life and above all, jobs."

The forthcoming round of New Markets tax credits represents nearly $3.5 billion in credit allocations, and there are currently 63 communities in the Commonwealth including Roxbury, Lawrence, Salem, Pittsfield, Fall River, Springfield, New Bedford, Worcester, and Lynn that are eligible to benefit from these credits.

"Together we can revitalize our communities by growing employers and renewing community centers," said Barbara Berke, Director of Economic Development. "The New Market Tax Credits provides a significant incentive for coming together to make these investments a reality."

The New Markets Tax Credit Connection will provide the following services:

Information and Advocacy
 

Through a web site and direct communication with CDCs, the Connection provides information and counseling on the application for and utilization of federal New Markets Tax Credits.

Investors Communication and Attraction
 

As the key element of viable tax credit projects, investment capital commitments from area financial institutions will be sought by the administration.

Matchmaking
 

The Connection will reach out to cities, towns and CDCs to assemble a database of "deals" that may be candidates for tax credit use or allocation.

Coordination and Strategy
 

The state agencies and quasi-public entities engaged in business lending and real estate finance will be available to review potential projects from underserved communities.

Federal Resource Development and Advocacy
 

By identifying potential projects and investors, the clearinghouse positions Massachusetts applicants competitively in the national allocation process.

"In order to put Massachusetts back to work, the most important thing that government can do is to create the right environment for economic expansion and job growth," said Romney. "New Market Tax Credits are one important way we can bring economic development and jobs to Massachusetts."

July 28, 2003

ACTING GOV. HEALEY RESTORES TEACHER BONUS PROGRAMS

Signs amendment to state budget that keeps incentive program alive

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today signed an amendment to the state budget that had been sought by the administration to fulfill the state's promise to award outstanding professionals with teacher signing bonuses and master teacher incentives for an additional year.

"Governor Mitt Romney and I believe strongly in attracting and retaining the most qualified and inspiring teachers for our students," said Healey. "A commitment was made to individuals who left successful careers to enter teaching. We plan to live up to that commitment."

In the budget sent to the Governor's desk, the Legislature abolished the program. Mitt Romney filed an amendment to restore $4 million in funding so that teachers will receive promised bonuses for Fiscal Year 2004.

The bonus program is part of the Massachusetts Institute for New Teachers (MINT), which focuses on attracting qualified and motivated colleges graduates and mid-career professions to public school classrooms. Bonus recipients receive $20,000 over their first four years of teaching in Massachusetts public schools. Master teachers, or those who have obtained National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification, are eligible for $5,000 bonuses every year for up to 10 years for mentoring new teachers.

Because of the incentive program, Geoffrey Ames, a former Marine, said he left a career with the state Department of Corrections to teach social studies in Chelsea public schools.

"I think I always wanted to teach and the incentive program finally got me to think about it more seriously. I used to listen to the inmates I worked with and many of them told me that they may not be in the position they were in if they had stayed in school," said Ames.

Ames used must of his first installment of the bonus to purchase a new computer. Also, he spent over $2,000 on new materials and workbooks for his students. He is a graduate of North Shore Community College and Salem State and is currently working on his master's in theology.

"I am pleased that despite the state's fiscal crisis, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor recognize the importance of our master teachers and bonus recipients and have made it possible for their bonuses to continue for another year," said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. "Through these programs we have been able to attract top-notch educators, and as a result, improve the quality of education in our classrooms."

For more information on the signing bonus program, look online at www.doe.mass.edu/eq/bonus. For more information on the master teachers program, look online at www.doe.mass.edu/eq/mt.


July 31, 2003

HEALEY ANNOUNCES "JOBS FIRST" DAY AT STATE'S CAREER CENTERS

Job fairs, resume workshops and employer briefings among services available

Lending a boost to job seekers across the Commonwealth, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today announced that the state's 32 career centers will be transformed into bustling sites of activity on Thursday, September 4, 2003 to mark "Jobs First" Day in Massachusetts.

Healey said each of the career centers will sponsor a variety of stepped up activities to assist unemployed individuals find jobs.

Speaking at Boston's JobNet Career Center, Healey said, "To help job seekers, Governor Mitt Romney and I have already extended the hours at the career centers. Now, with the events at our career centers across the state on September 4th, we have taken another step closer to ensuring that every person who is looking for a job has the tools to find one."

Healey said career centers will offer job fairs, interviewing seminars, resume writing workshops, visits from companies with job openings and other services tailored to meet the specific needs of local employers and job seekers.

In addition, Healey said she, Governor Mitt Romney and members of their Cabinet will visit the career centers on September 4th to see firsthand the different job services being provided.

Examples of events to be held on "Jobs First" Day at the career centers include:


Hyannis – The Career Opportunities Center will hold a job fair with several employers on-site recruiting for current job openings. Two workshops, "Resume Critiquing" and "Interviewing Skills," will also be held.
 

Worcester – A human resources manager from a local company will be at the Workforce Central Center speaking to job applicants about the status and types of jobs available in the biotech industry and skills needed to work in that field. Employers can learn how to access current labor market data.
 

Boston – The JobNet Center will provide tours and hold employer-related industry briefings, and demonstrate how to post job vacancies on-line. Additionally, job seekers will receive an "Employability Report," customized to their expectations of job availability, pay, job location and future job growth.
 

Lawrence – ValleyWorks Career Center will host a recognition event sponsored by the City's Mayor in partnership with the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce to promote the City's Summer Youth Jobs Initiative.
 

Additional details will follow as the September 4th date approaches. For information on the Commonwealth's 33 Career Centers, visit the Web site at the Division of Employment and Training at www.detma.org.


August 1, 2003

HEALEY ANNOUNCES $5.2 MILLION FOR GLOUCESTER HOUSING

Century-old glue factory to be transformed into housing

GLOUCESTER – In an effort to boost the supply of housing across the Commonwealth, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today announced a $5.2 million investment that will transform the 100-year-old LePage Glue Factory into 115 new homes on 21 acres.

"At a time when rents and home prices throughout the Commonwealth continue to rise, Governor Mitt Romney and I are dedicated to increasing the housing stock across the state," Healey said. "With the investment of these resources, many families can continue to live and work in Massachusetts."

Joined by Senator Bruce Tarr, Mayor John Bell and other state and local officials, Healey pledged $250,000 from the state's Affordable Housing Trust Fund to Cape Ann Housing Opportunities, Inc. (CAHO), a Gloucester based non-profit organization, to support the first phase of the multi-stage development.

Healey said that CAHO received nearly $5 million in state financial resources for the first construction phase as part of $75 million worth of grants, loans and tax credits awarded earlier this summer by Governor Mitt Romney to create affordable housing opportunities in 21 communities throughout the Commonwealth.

Approximately $4.2 million of the funds for Gloucester will be generated through private investment in exchange for 10 years of state-administered federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Another $750,000 is being administered from the state Department of Housing and Community Development's (DHCD) HOME program.

"Cape Ann Housing Opportunities is transforming the potential of the LePage property into the reality of affordable homes for families on Cape Ann," said Tarr. "It's great that their local initiative is being propelled by a strong financial partnership with the state."

Phase One of the project, slated for completion in late 2005, involves renovating three former mill buildings, resulting in 39 new apartments that will be rented to low- and moderate-income families. The development will offer all of its residents a range of community facilities and services.

Phase Two will yield 37 condominiums which will be sold at both affordable and market rates. CAHO will also create additional apartments and ownership units on the 21-acre site in the near future.

Healey said that when the 147 Essex Avenue project is complete, it will blend 115 rental and homeownership units, with 77 of them set aside for low- and moderate-income residents. She also noted that the development's central location will provide its residents with easy access to local buses and the commuter rail station.

"There is an ever increasing demand in Massachusetts to develop housing that is affordable to those across a broad range of incomes," said Jane Wallis Gumble, DHCD Director. "I am delighted that we can be a partner in this important project which will provide new rental and homeownership opportunities to Cape Ann households."


August 4, 2003

ROMNEY HONORS ZIPCAR WITH ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT AWARD

Governor Mitt Romney today recognized the innovation that drives the Massachusetts economy by honoring Zipcar's Scott Griffith and Robin Chase with the Governor's Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

The award is presented to individuals who best demonstrate the entrepreneurial spirit that helps strengthen the economy and inspire others to turn their ideas into action.

"Today, we recognize entrepreneurs from a truly innovative company," said Romney. "Honoring Zipcar with this award shows our appreciation and value for entrepreneurs who contribute to our economy and generate new wealth, prosperity and jobs."

Zipcar provides reliable and convenient access to on-demand transportation.

In the fall of 1999, Robin Chase was inspired by a car-sharing service she saw in Germany where cars were parked around the city for members of the service to rent by the hour instead of owning their own vehicles. Upon return to the United States, Chase refined the concept to appeal to the mainstream public. Capitalizing on the capacity of the Internet and wireless data transmission, Zipcar's strategy is to make car reservations and access hassle-free and seamless. Chase was Chairman and CEO of the company for its first three years. President and CEO Scott Griffith joined the Zipcar team in 2003.

Since its launch in June of 2000, Zipcar has helped reduce traffic congestion and auto emissions, contributing to a cleaner environment and a new way of transportation planning in cities. Today, 7,000 members drive 250 Zipcars in Boston, New York and Washington D.C.

"Zipcar is an exciting Massachusetts company that combines our Commonwealth's strengths in technology, innovation and community toward a mission of improving the quality of urban life," said Zipcar's Griffith. "We are pleased and honored to be doing business in a state that both supports and acknowledges our efforts. Successful businesses need access to growth capital, a pool of talented people to hire from and an environment that supports growth - Massachusetts excels at all three."

Last month, Mitt Romney presented the first Entrepreneurial Spirit award posthumously to the late Bernie Goldhirsh, founder of Inc. magazine.


August 5, 2003

ROMNEY AWARDS $3.3 MILLION IN WORKFORCE TRAINING FUNDS

Presents $128,198 grant to Micro Networks to train 130 employees

WORCESTER – Governor Mitt Romney today awarded $3.3 million in workforce training grants to 70 businesses across the Commonwealth to help train more than 5,300 employees.

"These grants are an investment in the future of our workforce. Learning does not begin and end in the classroom – it extends to the factory floor and the boardroom," said Romney, who made the announcement at Micro Networks Corporation, which received a $128,198 grant.

He added, "These grants, which will train people in management leadership, problem solving, high tech and manufacturing, are just one more way that the Commonwealth is working in partnership with the private sector to ensure more and better jobs for the future."

Romney said the Workforce Training Fund, administered by the Division of Employment and Training, provides businesses with matching grants to provide job-related training to incumbent employees. Since being launched five years ago, more than $68 million has been awarded to nearly 1,100 companies to train more than 105,000 employees.

Micro Networks is one of 70 businesses across the Commonwealth to receive a grant from the Workforce Training Fund, enabling the company to train 130 employees in such programs as MicroSoft Office, ISO 9000:2000 requirements, military standards and process development.

"The Commonwealth is proud to be home to Micro Networks," said Romney. "We are also proud of the partnership we are forming with the 130 employees who will directly benefit from today's grant. This investment will allow the employees of Micro Networks to continue to do what they do best: build the instruments that keep the peace."

Micro Networks opened its doors nearly 30 years ago in Worcester and supplies high performance, high reliability data conversion products and custom modules for weapons and flight control systems to defense contractors.

For information on the Workforce Training Fund and to view a complete listing of Fund awards by region, visit www.mass.gov/det/workforce.

August 6, 2003

ROMNEY HOLDS SECOND "JOBS FIRST" FORUM

Takes his jobs campaign to Springfield, gets feedback from local business leaders

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Mitt Romney today held the second in a series of "Jobs First" forums across the Commonwealth as he took his campaign to stimulate job growth on the road to the Pioneer Valley.

At the forum, which was held at Big Y Foods in Springfield, Mitt Romney outlined his six-point TOPS program – Tapping Our Potential in the State – to get the Massachusetts economy back on track. He also solicited input from Springfield-area business leaders about how the state can help with their needs.

Romney noted that the unemployment rate in Springfield was at 5.6 percent in June, higher than it was a month ago at 5.2 percent. He said state government should focus on the employment needs of all regions, including Western Massachusetts.

"I am committed to putting Massachusetts back to work," Mitt Romney said. "As difficult as our challenges are, we have enormous potential – a diverse economy, a highly educated workforce and major academic and research institutions."

"But we can only be successful by working together, all of us, Democrats and Republicans, business and labor, to create an environment that allows job growth and development to take place," he added.

In outlining his six-pronged TOPS program, Mitt Romney said government can play an important role in economic development by doing the following:

• Preserving a stable and competitive tax base;

• Holding down the cost of doing business in Massachusetts;

• Taming the high cost of housing by increasing the supply;

• Connecting our higher education system to regional workforce needs;

• Reforming state government to improve the delivery of services; and

• Working aggressively to bring more jobs to the state.

"In order to put Massachusetts back to work, the most important thing that government can do is to create the right environment for economic expansion and job growth. Employers will do the rest," said Romney.

At the forum, Mitt Romney also joined company officials in announcing Big Y's 50th store that will open in Walpole later this year. Their latest supermarket, at 63,500 square feet, will employ approximately 300 employees.

"This new store is the first Big Y in the Boston area," said Don D'Amour, Chairman & CEO of Big Y. "From a business standpoint, Massachusetts is in a strategic location that supports our company's growth and expansion plans. Locating our company here will help us focus directly on the needs of consumers in this region."

Big Y, which is the second largest independently owned supermarket chain in New England, currently employs more than 8,300 people in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Founded in 1936 by brothers Paul and Gerald D'Amour, the store was named after an intersection in Chicopee where two roads converged to form a Y.

August 11, 2003

ROMNEY HOLDS THIRD "JOBS FIRST" FORUM

Takes his jobs campaign to Framingham, solicits feedback from local business leaders

FRAMINGHAM – Governor Mitt Romney today held the third in a series of "Jobs First" forums across the Commonwealth as he took his campaign to stimulate job growth on the road to the MetroWest region of the state.

At the forum, which was held at Lifeline Systems in Framingham, Mitt Romney outlined his six-point TOPS program – Tapping Our Potential in the State – to get the Massachusetts economy back on track. He also solicited input from Framingham-area business leaders about how the state can help with their needs.

Romney pledged that his Administration will focus on the employment needs of all regions of the Commonwealth, including MetroWest.

"I am committed to putting Massachusetts back to work," Mitt Romney said. "As difficult as our challenges are, we have enormous potential – a diverse economy, a highly educated workforce and major academic and research institutions."

"But we can only be successful by working together, all of us, Democrats and Republicans, business and labor, to create an environment that allows job growth and development to take place," he added.

In outlining his six-pronged TOPS program, Mitt Romney said government can play an important role in economic development by doing the following:

• Preserving a stable and competitive tax base;

• Holding down the cost of doing business in Massachusetts;

• Taming the high cost of housing by increasing the supply;

• Connecting our higher education system to regional workforce needs;

• Reforming state government to improve the delivery of services; and

• Working aggressively to bring more jobs to the state.

"In order to put Massachusetts back to work, the most important thing that government can do is to create the right environment for economic expansion and job growth. Employers will do the rest," said Romney.

At the forum, Mitt Romney also joined company officials in announcing an expected 15-year capital investment of $11 million for Lifeline Systems and the creation of 187 new jobs for the MetroWest region.

Founded in Cambridge in 1974 by Dr. Andrew Dibner, Lifeline Systems provides communications equipment and personal response services to its subscribers, primarily the home elderly and disabled.

In 2000, Lifeline moved their corporate headquarters to Framingham and renovated almost 100,000 square feet of an old Denison Mill building at 111 Lawrence Street. Lifeline spent almost $20 million on this renovation and currently houses both a call center and manufacturing facility at their headquarters.

In addition to their investment, Lifeline agreed to expand their workforce to 600 in return for a 15-Year Tax Increment Financing (TIF) from Framingham and the 5 percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC) from the Commonwealth. In November 2000, Lifeline was approved by the Commonwealth's Economic Assistance Coordinating Council (EACC) as a certified project under the Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP).

The most recent phase of their expansion – a $2 million renovation of a 29,000 square foot building across the street at One Clark's Hill – has recently been completed.


August 12, 2003

ROMNEY ANNOUNCES LIFE SCIENCES CLUSTER WILL CREATE 700 JOBS

Eight companies from Agawam to Boston plan to add jobs in the next three to five years

Governor Mitt Romney today praised the decision by eight Bay State life sciences companies to expand and create 700 new jobs in Massachusetts in the next three to five years.

Romney made the announcement surrounded by the CEOs and presidents of the growing companies who are attending the drug Discovery Technology World Congress where the Governor delivered welcoming remarks to 6,500 attendees at the Hynes Convention Center this morning.

"This exciting and robust job expansion will reach cities and towns stretching from Fall River to Springfield," said Romney. "Over the long-term it promises to provide a boost to both the state and local economies."

Mitt Romney was joined by:
 

Abbott Bioresearch Center of Worcester
Alkermes of Cambridge and Chelsea
AVANT Immunotherapeutics of Needham and Fall River
endoVia Medical, Inc. of Norwood
Ipsen of Milford
MicroTest Laboratories, Inc. of Agawam
Therion Biologics of Cambridge
ViaCell, Inc. of Boston
One of the companies, AVANT announced today that it will establish an 11,000 square foot process development and pilot manufacturing facility in Fall River to support the clinical development of its portfolio of bacterial vaccines.

MassDevelopment, the economic development entity for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and AVANT have worked closely together over the last several months to develop a financing framework that allows AVANT to establish its own manufacturing capability while remaining in the Commonwealth and creating new jobs.

"We are very pleased that AVANT is now able to move to the next level in terms of our corporate growth. With the assistance of MassDevelopment, we can now complement our research and clinical expertise with the capability to develop and manufacture our own products," said Una Ryan, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of AVANT Immunotherapeutics."

"Massachusetts is home to cutting-edge research and industries," said Romney. "Companies locate and stay here to tap into an unparalleled R&D sector supported by nearly 120 colleges and universities, the highest concentration of academic institutions in the world."

Robert W. Cunningham, President & CEO of endoVia Medical, Inc. said his company is developing the next generation of computer-assisted devices for Minimally Invasive Surgery. He credited the brainpower at our local hospitals and universities for the technology that has made his company so successful.

"Our company was founded on technology from local hospitals and universities, and we have developed technologies using a strong, skilled labor force of local engineers and technicians," said Cunningham. "To decide to bring the contract manufacturing in-state and in-house seems a natural evolution, to continue to take advantage of that strong labor force."

This job expansion announcement dovetails with the administration's recently announced economic development campaign, called "Massachusetts: It's All Here." The initiative is a multi-million dollar marketing effort to retain and recruit businesses in Massachusetts. The campaign is primarily aimed at the fast-growing sectors in the state – biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, new defense and plastics. The effort includes an integrated marketing campaign, a plan to call upon business within and outside the state poised for expansion, and a coordinated effort to make it easier for businesses to build facilities in Massachusetts. For more information visit www.massmeansbusiness.com.

August 13, 2003

ROMNEY ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF business LEADER SURVEY

Findings Will Be Used to Help Guide the State's Economic Recovery

BOSTON – As part of the Commonwealth's economic development strategy, Governor Mitt Romney announced today the launch of a business leader survey to measure the potential for future growth and to help guide efforts to revive the economy. This detailed survey — which will be launched online Friday, August 15 in the Northeast, Southeast and Cape and the Islands — will ask CEOs and business leaders to comment on their economic outlook, their ties with other companies and government and their plans for future growth. Within two weeks, the survey will be distributed in the Berkshire, Pioneer Valley, and Central regions, as well as the Greater Boston area.

"We need to make sure we have the best available information about the state of our economy," said Romney. "The findings from this survey will help us to identify the competitive strengths and weaknesses of each region, which will help guide our efforts to improve the economy so that we can have more jobs."

Questions the survey will address include:

• Over the next six months, will your company expand the number of people it employs?

• How important are issues in the external environment (i.e. public policy, the business environment, etc.) to your company, and how much time do you spend engaged on them?

• Considering elements of your local business environment, which five currently have the greatest positive impact on your business's success?

The survey will support the competitive assessment being developed by Harvard business School Professor Michael Porter for each RCC region. These assessments will also identify the key industry clusters in each RCC region.

Participants will be invited to participate via e-mail. Interested respondents will also be able to access the survey at www.massmeansbusiness.com . This approach saves time for agency staff and the respondent while eliminating costs related to postage, call centers, and date coding.

The project also reflects the dynamic partnership between state government, academia, and the private sector. The Monitor Group is providing the survey and data analysis support. Regional partner organizations, mostly Chambers of Commerce and local industry councils, will distribute an invitation to participate in the survey, via e-mail, to their members in the RCC regions.

"Input from local business leaders is critical in developing priorities to promote firm investment and job growth," said Romney.

August 14, 2003

ROMNEY INTRODUCES STATE-OF-THE-ART MBTA BUSES

First of 578 environmentally friendly vehicles debut at Dudley Sq. Station

Governor Mitt Romney today introduced the first of 578 new buses, symbolizing the rebirth of the MBTA bus fleet and the T's commitment to improving environmental performance and enhancing the quality of service.

"Today, we are revolutionizing bus service at the MBTA. We are taking an aging, polluting fleet and replacing it with ultra-new, world-class, clean energy buses," said Romney, speaking at Dudley Square Station in Roxbury.

Romney said the $350 million bus replacement program is consistent with his "Fix It First" transportation policy and will pay dividends in terms of a cleaner environment and better service to the inner city, which relies heavily on bus service. Over the course of the next 16 months, the average age of an MBTA bus will drop sharply from 14 years old to 4 years.

Joined by officials from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and community activists, Mitt Romney highlighted the environmental benefits by noting that once the new fleet is in place particulate emissions from MBTA buses will drop by 95 percent.

"Everyone in Massachusetts will benefit from the environmental impact of these changes. And for inner city areas like Roxbury that rely heavily on bus service, the new fleet will mean cleaner, safer and more efficient transportation," Mitt Romney said.

The buses are comprised of 343 CNG (compressed natural gas) buses (44 of which are 60-footers), 175 emission-control diesel buses and 60 duel-mode trackless trolleys. With room for a capacity of one hundred people, the 60-foot articulated buses will service Route 39 between Back Bay Station and Forest Hills - the MBTA's busiest in the system - and the increasingly popular Silver Line, where ridership has doubled in the last year.

"Put simply, this investment marks a new era in the provision of transit services in the Boston area. The importance of this announcement cannot be underestimated," said Transportation Secretary Daniel A. Grabauskas. "We are changing the face of a major component of the MBTA, and in doing so, we are responding to the challenge to provide better, cleaner and more reliable transportation alternatives."

The 40-foot buses will be placed immediately into service on Route 10 from Copley Square to City Point in South Boston, Route 22 from Ruggles Station to Ashmont Station in Dorchester, and Route 66 from Dudley to Harvard Square via Allston. In the coming weeks and months, the new buses will become more visible as they spread to more routes and other communities.

"Unquestionably, this is the most important initiative I'll undertake as General Manager of the MBTA," said Michael H. Mulhern. "An extraordinary transformation is taking place in the neighborhoods of Boston. By providing a reliable and comfortable service in easy-to-access, low-emission buses, the quality of life is improved markedly."

All 578 of the MBTA's new buses are scheduled to arrive between now and November of 2004.

August 15, 2003

A DAY AFTER BLACKOUTS, Mitt Romney NAMES PAUL G. AFONSO AS CHAIRMAN OF DEPARTMENT OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND ENERGY

Announces task force to look into state's preparedness to deal with massive power failure

A day after massive blackouts hit the Northeast, Governor Mitt Romney moved quickly today in announcing the appointment of Paul G. Afonso as the new Chairman of the Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE), which regulates the utility industry in Massachusetts.

Romney also announced the formation of a task force led by Afonso and comprised of industry and state officials to look into the state's preparedness to deal with a similar catastrophe and determine if any new measures are necessary to keep power disruptions from spreading.

"We are fortunate that we were not severely affected by the power outages," said Romney. "The New England power grid worked as it should have, cutting ties to other regional grids and isolating our area, but we need to take stock of what happened and take precautions as necessary."

For the past four years, Afonso has been instrumental to the agency as General Counsel. He replaces Paul Vasington, who resigned last month to pursue other interests. The DTE regulates the rates and practices of the state's utilities, including electricity, gas, water and telecommunications companies.

"As demonstrated yesterday, the energy and telecommunications fields are vital to our way of life," said Romney. "Paul's firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing these industries is unmatched. He will provide continuity and steady leadership as we work hard to make Massachusetts one of the most stable and competitive markets in the country."

"When we started our search for a new Chair, we looked for someone who possessed the intellect, leadership, temperament and consensus-building traits needed to manage a large agency. Paul fits the bill perfectly," said Beth Lindstrom, Director of Consumer Affairs and business Regulation.

As General Counsel for DTE, Afonso developed an organized and efficient decision-making process to provide regulatory certainty and consumer protection within the Massachusetts market. During his tenure as General Counsel, DTE continued its regulatory policies promoting competition in the telecommunications sector and the development and monitoring of service quality standards for both the gas and electric sectors.

"It is a true honor to serve the Mitt Romney Administration," said Afonso. "I thank Governor Mitt Romney and Director Lindstrom for their continued support and the responsibility they entrust to me. I look forward to continuing our good work with my fellow commissioners and the very talented staff at DTE."

Afonso is 1986 graduate of Boston College and a 1989 graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center. After graduating, Afonso spent ten years in private practice in Washington, DC before returning to Boston to accept the General Counsel position at DTE in June of 1999.

Afonso is active in the Portuguese-American community both nationally and in Massachusetts. He serves as a member of the Portuguese American Leadership Council of the United States and as a board member of the Portuguese Heritage Scholarship Foundation. He speaks Portuguese fluently and was born in Azores, Portugal. He immigrated with his parents at the age of three.

Afonso lives in West Roxbury, Massachusetts with his wife, Mary Lou, and their 18-month old daughter Caroline.

August 18, 2003

ROMNEY ANNOUNCES $5.1 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDS

Federal workforce training grant will assist dislocated workers in south central mass

Governor Mitt Romney today announced that the United States Department of Labor has awarded Massachusetts a $5.1 million National Emergency Grant.

Romney, who was informed by Labor Secretary Elaine Chao of the grant, said the funds will help more than 800 individuals in Middlesex, Norfolk and Worcester counties who have been laid off from 22 companies get the skills they need to find new jobs.

"I am grateful for the support the Commonwealth of Massachusetts continues to receive from the Bush Administration," Mitt Romney said. "These training dollars will help hundreds of individuals who want and need jobs find them."

Romney said the grant will help provide outreach and recruitment, intake and orientation, assessment, career plan development and service planning, basic education and ESL training, occupational training, job search, job development and placement.

August 20, 2003

ROMNEY RECOGNIZES CITY FRESH FOODS WITH INNER CITY AWARD

Governor's Inner City Investment Award Given to Dorchester Businessman

Governor Mitt Romney today recognized the importance of business investment and job creation in the Commonwealth's urban centers by honoring City Fresh Foods Founder and CEO Glynn Lloyd with the Governor's Inner City Investment Award.

Presented monthly, the Inner City Investment Award is given to individuals whose leadership and business success has brought new economic investment and jobs to the Bay State's cities.

"Dedication to the community is what distinguishes entrepreneurs like Glynn Lloyd," said Romney. "City Fresh Foods is a great example of the kind of company that will help put our state back on track."

The award, part of Romney's "Jobs First" initiative, honors the dedication and hard work of men and women who contribute to the revitalization of the Commonwealth's cities. Mitt Romney also recently created the Governor's Entrepreneurial Spirit Award to recognize the innovation that drives the state's economy.

City Fresh Foods, a nine-year-old company in the Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood of Dorchester, employs 38 local residents of Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. The business provides catering services of healthy ethnic foods to a variety of institutions in and around the Boston area, including Citizens Bank, ABCD and Meals on Wheels.

"City Fresh Foods is a successful company because of two things: healthy meals and quality employees," said Glynn. "And both of those are vital needs in the state's urban communities. Our venture has been nothing short of rewarding."

The company has partnered with organic growers to ensure that its meals are made with the best natural ingredients. The meals are delivered in a non-polluting electric truck. In addition, to provide educational and financial opportunities for their employees, City Fresh Foods offers English language training, computer workshops and job efficiency seminars.

One client summed it up well when he said, "Glynn and his brother, Sheldon, are always willing to listen and do whatever they can to help others."

Mr. Lloyd began his life as an entrepreneur at the young age of 12 by establishing a landscaping business, which boasted more than 100 accounts by the time he graduated from high school.

Prior to starting City Fresh Foods, Mr. Lloyd was a teacher in the Louisiana public school system and taught the GED program in Boston. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors at Four Corners Main Streets, an organization dedicated to community development in the Four Corners neighborhood where City Fresh Foods is located.

Mr. Lloyd resides in Roxbury.

August 21, 2003

ROMNEY SIGNS FISCAL YEAR 2003 DEFICIENCY budget

Governor Mitt Romney today signed the Fiscal Year 2003 deficiency budget, approving $25 million in spending to pay for expenses that occurred last year.

"With this deficiency budget, Massachusetts has met many of its outstanding obligations from the last fiscal year," said Romney. "We look forward to working closely and collaboratively with the Legislature to meet the rest of our fiscal needs."

Romney approved the following spending items in the deficiency budget:


$15.4 million for the Committee for Public Counsel Services for their work representing indigent clients;
$5.6 million for the Regional Transit Authorities;
$2.9 million for the Monson and Greater New Bedford School District to maintain foundation school spending;
$350,000 for the Worcester District Attorney's office;
$286,469 for the Treasurer's Office to pay for bank fees;
$208,950 for the Judicial Conduct Commission;
$145,745 for the Plymouth District Attorney's Office for rental agreements; and
$106,000 for state boulevards and highways.
Romney also approved several outside sections of the budget that will:


Allow the Bureau of State Office Buildings to recoup costs from outside groups for special events held at the State House during business hours;
Clarify the recently enacted ferry fee;
Expand membership of the recently formed study commission for public construction projects; and
Prevent the closure of six Registry of Motor Vehicles branches and the elimination of 35 direct staff positions by permitting the Registry to retain renewal fees for the maintenance of service.
In addition, recognizing that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) cannot accurately or precisely track or measure ridership, Mitt Romney signed the provision that removes a prohibition on a fare adjustment if annual ridership has decreased by more than four percent in the previous year. He directed the MBTA to rid the system of any inefficiencies, conduct a comprehensive review of its finances, reach out to the public, and make efforts to increase the number of people who use the T before putting in place a fare adjustment.

Romney also vetoed several outside sections of the deficiency budget, including:


A measure allowing the state to collect $46 for a marriage license fee since the service is provided by cities and towns and not the Commonwealth;
A provision seeking to exclude MBTA employees from the health insurance contribution rates that all state employees now pay under the reforms in the Fiscal Year 2004 budget; and
A section extending a special exemption in the state's retirement law that was repealed as part of the Fiscal Year 2004 budget.
In addition, Mitt Romney returned a section for amendment that may have had unintended consequences to Chapter 91, the Public Waterfront Act. His change will narrow the scope to ensure that this section only applies to existing Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) related to Chapter 91 that have already been through an extensive public process.


August 25, 2003

ROMNEY ANNOUNCES $17.6 MILLION TO CREATE MORE HOUSING

Tax credits, grants and low-interest loans to produce over 548 rental apartments

Governor Mitt Romney today announced $17.6 million in tax credits and grants to construct nearly 550 new rental apartments in Lowell, Walpole and Mattapan.

"This financial commitment represents an important blend of public resources which will leverage millions of private dollars and help ease the state's current housing supply shortage," said Romney. "In doing so, it will also serve as an investment in the future of our economic well being by making Massachusetts an attractive state in which to work and live."

Approximately $14.8 million of the funds will be leveraged through private investment in exchange for $5.9 million in state low-income housing tax credits over each of the next five years. Two million dollars will be awarded from the state's Affordable Housing Trust Fund and $750,000 will come from the state Department of Housing and Community Development's (DHCD) Housing Stabilization Fund. These programs are all designed to encourage developers to produce housing for income eligible seniors, families, individuals and special needs residents across the state.

Mattapan Heights II project developer Trinity Financial will receive $1 million in trust funds as well as $2.7 million in state tax credits to continue its ongoing redevelopment of the former Boston Specialty and Rehabilitation Hospital on River Street in Mattapan. This phase of the project involves the rebuilding of five historic structures that will result in 94 new apartments, 71 of which will be reserved for low- and moderate-income families.

Winn Development will construct the Boott Mills Apartments in Lowell in an historic mill building with the help of $1.26 million in state tax credits and a $750,000 grant from the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF). When completed, the project will consist of 123 market rate apartments and 31 affordable ones.

The Gatehouse Group will build The Preserve development in Walpole on a vacant 20-acre parcel with $1 million in trust funds and $1.98 million in state tax credits resulting in 150 market rate apartments and 150 for low-and moderate-income families.

"Just two months ago, the Governor committed nearly $75 million in various state resources to construct over 1,600 new units of housing across the Commonwealth," said DHCD Director Jane Wallis Gumble. "These new awards will go a long way in helping us to further increase the state's housing supply."

All three developments have already received more than $60 million in project financing from the quasi-public agency, MassHousing, the state's affordable housing bank.

Trust fund awards are targeted for projects that create or preserve housing throughout the state for households that do not exceed 110 percent of the area median income as defined by the federal government. DHCD oversees the trust program and MassHousing administers the funds.

Since 2001, more than $40 million has been awarded from the fund to create or preserve 2,649 housing units, 2,170 of which are affordable to low- and moderate-income residents. Another $10 million has been awarded to modernize a number of state-owned public housing developments across Massachusetts.

"The Commonwealth continues to finance and subsidize different types of high-quality housing that are appropriate for host communities," said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason. "The projects receiving funding today include old industrial buildings in urban areas that will be rehabilitated as well as new housing in our suburbs that protects and enhances conservation land."


August 28, 2003

ROMNEY APPOINTS STATE'S 1ST SECRETARY OF VETERANS' SERVICES

Commissioner Kelley's elevation to cabinet honors veterans and their contributions

Governor Mitt Romney today swore in Thomas Kelley as the first Secretary of Veterans' Services, elevating the state agency that advocates on behalf of the Commonwealth's veterans to a cabinet level post in recognition of their contributions to state and country.

"For anyone who follows the news, the past few weeks has seen an increase in terrorist attacks against peace and civilization. From the bombing of the United Nations hotel in Baghdad to the continuing assaults against our troops in Iraq, we are coming to fully appreciate the sacrifice our men and women in uniform make on a daily basis," said Romney.

Kelley, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, has been serving as the commissioner of veterans' services since 1999.

"By elevating the commissioner's office to the secretariat level, we are bestowing on our veterans a stronger and more direct voice in the administration of our government ," Mitt Romney said. "It is a status they richly deserve."

Romney credited the Legislature with the idea of creating the cabinet-level post and said he was happy to sign it into law as part of the Fiscal Year 2004 budget.

"I am truly honored to serve as the Commonwealth's first Secretary of Veterans' Services," said Kelley. "This move sends a strong signal that veterans and their priorities are respected and matter in Massachusetts."

Veterans' Services advocates on behalf of the 540,000 veterans and 900,000 immediate family members in the Commonwealth. The Secretariat will provide veterans and their family members with support services to ensure that they have access to the federal and state benefits they have earned through their service to our nation.

"Our veterans and their families have given so much of themselves to protect and defend our country that our state government in return should do every thing possible to ensure their voices are heard," said Romney.

August 3, 2003

ROMNEY LAUDS STUDENTS' HIGH SCORES ON 2003 MCAS

Students outperform previous peers on both English and math sections of exams

Governor Mitt Romney today released the statewide results of the latest administration of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exam, which show continued improvement in test scores.

Romney said that students in every grade hit an unprecedented high on the 2003 MCAS test, with more 10th graders of all ethnic backgrounds passing both the math and English portions of the exam on their first try than ever before.

"Education reform is working in Massachusetts," Mitt Romney said. "I am proud of the progress shown by our students," said Romney. "My Administration will continue to push for high standards that will restore the value of a high school diploma and better prepare our students for life after school."

According to the results, 75 percent of all 10th grade students earned their competency determinations by passing both exams administered in May, up from 69 percent in 2002 and 68 percent in 2001, the first year students took the exams knowing they needed to pass to earn a high school diploma.

This improvement is especially evident in 10th grade results when broken down by ethnic group: 80 percent of all Asians passed both exams, up from 68 percent in 2001; 52 percent of African-Americans passed both exams, up from 37 percent in 2001; and 44 percent of Hispanics passed both exams, up from 29 percent in 2001.

"These scores serve as proof positive that what we are doing is working in all grades, in all subjects and with students of every ethnicity," said Education

Commissioner David P. Driscoll. "But while it is encouraging to see that more of our minority students are passing the 10th grade MCAS exam on the first try, I would like to see the percentage continue to rise."

A record 89 percent of 10th graders passed the English exam, and 80 percent passed the math. Among the students, 87 percent of males and 91 percent of females passed the English exam, and 79 percent of males and 81 percent of females passed the math.

Last year, 86 percent of all 10th graders passed the English exam and 75 percent passed the math exam on their first try.

The percentage of students passing the English exam rose in all grades and the percentage passing the math exam rose in grades 4, 6 and 10. Sixty-seven percent of eighth graders passed the math exam, the same percentage as last year.

The 2003 results also showed:


The tests on which the highest percentage of students performed at the advanced or proficient levels were grade 7 English (66 percent), grade 10 English (61 percent) and grade 4 English (56 percent).

More than 98 percent of all students enrolled in grades 3, 4 and 7 participated in the English exams, as did 95.5 percent of 10th graders. More than 99 percent of students in grades 6 and 8 participated in the math exams, as did 98.7 percent of fourth graders and 96.7 percent of students in grade 10.
The MCAS exam has been given annually as part of the state's Education Reform law since 1998. Local results from the May administration will be released later this month.

For more information on the MCAS exam, go to www.doe.mass.edu/mcas.

September 4, 2003

ROMNEY, HEALEY CELEBRATE 'JOBS FIRST' DAY AT CAREER CENTERS

Governor, Lt. Governor, economic development team to visit 21 one-stop centers

To highlight the first ever "Jobs First" Day at the state's One-Stop Career Centers, Governor Mitt Romney, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey and members of their economic development team today visited 21 of the 32 career centers across the state to get a first-hand look at the services and programs offered.

"The core of our 'Jobs First' initiative is to ensure that every citizen who is in need of a job can get one," said Romney.

"To attract employers and encourage faster growth rates, the Administration has already commissioned the career centers to extend their hours, and now with the events across the state today, we are one step closer to making sure every person who is looking for a job is given the tools to find one."

Today, career centers throughout the state were transformed into bustling centers of activity, holding a variety of events free of charge, including job fairs, interviewing seminars, resume writing workshops and company visits.

Kicking off the day at the North Shore Career Center in Lynn, Mitt Romney formally dedicated the center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. In Lynn, he recognized General Electric (GE), a major area employer that uses the Career Center to recruit and hire all new employees. He also recognized Cheryl Tate of Lynn, a 56-year-old homemaker who since 2001, has used the state's career center services and now works for the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as a head security screener at Boston's Logan Airport.

"All across the Commonwealth, today and every day, the state's 32 Career Centers are at the front line, providing hope and resources for job seekers such as Cheryl Tate," said Romney. "I will not be satisfied until we get many more citizens back to work. Through the state's one-stop career centers, we will work to accomplish this one person and one job at a time."

In addition to the ribbon cutting at the North Shore Career Center in Lynn, Mitt Romney met with job seekers and local employers at ValleyWorks Career Center in Lawrence, a city experiencing a high job loss over the past two years.

From Lawrence, he traveled to the Career Center of Lowell, where he greeted participants of an industry roundtable discussion, "Anticipating Technology Trends," led by UMASS Lowell Professor Dr. Edward March and paid tribute to four local employers who have hired area youth to perform summer jobs.

Healey visited career centers in Brockton, New Bedford and Quincy. In Brockton, Healey observed a job search strategy session conducted in Spanish as well as in English. At the Greater New Bedford Career Center, she met representatives from the Stop & Shop Company, who will be on hand to recruit staff for their warehouse, scheduled to open in nearby Freetown early next year.

"We want people to know that our career centers are open for business," said Healey. "I've seen people post their resume on-line, learned helpful techniques to succeed in the job hunt, and met with local employers who find the centers to be valuable resources as they look get information to grow their business and hire staff."

At the Quincy Career Center, she sat in on recruitment sessions with several employers including: The Home Depot, Toys 'R Us, Kmart and Verizon.

During the past year, career centers in Massachusetts have served more than 170,000 individuals, enrolled nearly 100,000 individuals in career and skill related workshops and provided career counseling and planning services to more than 87,000 people.

Events held today include:


Lynn – North Shore Career Center of Lynn hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Governor. Tours of the Center were conducted throughout the day.
Lawrence - ValleyWorks Career Center hosted a luncheon to celebrate the Merrimack Valley Mayors Summer Jobs for Youth initiative.
Lowell – Career Center of Lowell recognized four employers with an employer roundtable led by Dr. Edward March of UMass Lowell.
Quincy – Quincy Career Center hosted a mini job fair showcasing employers from the DOL's National business Partnerships program, and a resume critique workshop for job seekers.
New Bedford – The Greater New Bedford Career Center had a Workforce Training Fund employer presentation that included information on various assistance programs available to area businesses. Tours of the Career Center were given to employers.
Brockton – CareerWorks hosted seminars on interviewing, resume critique, and job search strategies.
For information on the Commonwealth's 32 Career Centers, visit the DET website at www.detma.org.

September 5, 2003

ROMNEY LAUNCHES NEW CRACK DOWN ON REPEAT DRUNK DRIVERS

Orders Registry of Motor Vehicles to begin use of ignition interlock system

Governor Mitt Romney today stepped up efforts to make Bay State roads safer by filing legislation to crack down on repeat drunk drivers. He also directed the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to require the installation of interlocking ignition devices on all vehicles driven by repeat drunk drivers using a conditional license.

"Massachusetts will not tolerate drunk drivers," Mitt Romney said. "These commonsense measures will keep drunk drivers off our roads and ensure that our roads are as safe as possible for the motorists of the Commonwealth."

Romney said that federal law requires all states to put in place minimum one-year driver's license suspension for repeat drunk drivers, to require the installation of an ignition interlock system on all vehicles registered to repeat offenders and to mandate drug and alcohol assessments for repeat drunk drivers. Without these measures on the books by October 1, 2003, $7 million in federal highway funds will be automatically transferred from the state's road and bridge program to the state's Highway Safety Bureau.

"I want Massachusetts to have the discretion to spend this money as we see fit, not as Washington mandates," said Romney. "Since fiscal year 2001, $15 million has been directed away from the job of updating our aging roads and bridges at a time when we could have used the money."

State law currently allows for a one-year license suspension for second time drunk driver offenders. However, after only six months, individuals may apply to the RMV for the reinstatement of their license. Romney's legislation will increase the suspension period, requiring an 18-month license suspension and allowing second time offenders to petition for a hardship license after one year.

Romney noted that 43 other states require interlocking device systems for repeat drunk drivers and that it is long overdue for Massachusetts to put it in place. He said that if a repeat offender is granted a hardship license exemption and allowed to drive a car prior to the completion of a suspended sentence, that driver will have to take a breathalyzer test before the car will start. If the driver is intoxicated, the car will not start.

Repeat offenders – not taxpayers – will pay the estimated $75 installation charge for the interlocking device and the $50 monthly maintenance fee.

"My drunk driving message is extremely simple: you booze, you cruise, you lose," said Romney. "This legislation and the introduction of the ignition interlocking devices will go a long way to prevent repeat drunk drivers from driving drunk again."

To meet the federal requirement, Romney's legislation requires mandatory drug and alcohol assessments for repeat drunk drivers by which each offender will undergo a mandatory course of treatment. This process will be a requirement for any drunk driving related parole or probation.

Although the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Massachusetts has decreased from 407 in 1982 to 234 in 2001, the percentage of total traffic deaths in Massachusetts attributable to alcohol at 49 percent is higher than the national average of 41 percent. Enhancement of tough drunk driving laws will enable Massachusetts to achieve the far more important accomplishment of reducing the number of alcohol-related fatalities.

Earlier this year, Mitt Romney signed the "per se" law, stipulating that if a motorist is detected having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, then that alone of proof of driving under the influence. Before the new measure, Massachusetts law left open the question as to whether or not an individual who has a BAC of .08 or higher is truly intoxicated. In a court of law, .08 percent BAC was previously considered evidence of intoxication, but not irrefutable proof.


September 9, 2003

ROMNEY INVITES PUBLIC TO 9-11 STATE HOUSE CEREMONY

Governor Mitt Romney today invited Massachusetts citizens to join him on Thursday morning, September 11th, for a special ceremony in front of the State House to honor the victims and their families on the two-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

"Two years have passed since the terrorist attacks against our nation. As we approach the anniversary of that horrific day, the thoughts and prayers of Americans everywhere turn to the victims and the loved ones they left behind," said Romney.

Romney encouraged the public to come to the State House on Thursday morning to join Massachusetts in remembering the individuals who were lost. He said the 20-minute ceremony outside of the State House will begin at 8:30 a.m., with a flag raising ceremony and coincide with the national moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., when the first plane struck the World Trade Center. Jim Ogonowski, the brother of John Ogonowski, the pilot of that plane, will join Mitt Romney in raising the flag.

Later that morning, Mitt Romney will attend the groundbreaking for a 9/11 memorial in Boston's Public Garden. At 1:00 PM, he will present the 3rd Annual Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery in the House Chamber of the State House.

September 10, 2003

ROMNEY FOCUSES ON BIOTECH AS ANOTHER COMPANY EXPANDS IN MASS

Therion Biologics opens state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE – Governor Mitt Romney today applauded Therion Biologics for its decision to expand its manufacturing capabilities in the Bay State as he joined employees of the company in celebrating the opening of a new 11,000 square foot manufacturing facility.

"The manufacturing facility that you opened today will begin Therion's next stage of development: the move from research and development into the commercialization of vaccines," Mitt Romney said.

He added, "It is a tremendous breakthrough and you could not have chosen a better place to expand."

With Therion's private equity financing totaling $39 million, Therion will fund the advanced clinical development of PANVAC-VF™ and PROSTVAC-VF™, its lead vaccine candidates to treat pancreatic and prostate cancer, respectively. The funds will also be used to expand manufacturing operations to support the production of trial- and commercial-sized quantities of its proprietary cancer vaccines.

Therion Biologics Corporation develops therapeutic vaccines for cancer and preventive vaccines for AIDS. The Company has two lead programs involving multiple clinical trials: PANVAC-VF™ for pancreatic cancer and PROSTVAC-VF® for prostate cancer. Therion is also applying its technology platform to develop vaccines to treat melanoma, breast cancer and other solid tumors. According to company officials, their decision to expand in Massachusetts was based on the proximity to leading clinical institutions and access to a highly talented workforce.

Mark Leuchtenberger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Therion Biologics Corporation, praised the Mitt Romney Administration. He said, "We are honored to celebrate this momentous occasion with Governor Romney. His presence here today is a testament to his ongoing support of the Commonwealth's biotechnology industry."

Last month, Mitt Romney announced that eight companies from Agawam to Boston, including Abbott Bioresearch Center, Alkermes, AVANT Immunotherapeutics and Therion Biologics plan to add more than 700 jobs in Massachusetts over the next three to five years.

Therion Biologics currently employs 75 individuals and the expansion will add another 25 employees over the next year.

September 11, 2003

ROMNEY PRESENTS SWEENEY AWARD FOR CIVILIAN BRAVERY

On anniversary of 9/11, Governor commends winners for their courage

Remembering the bravery of Madeline Amy Sweeney in the final moments aboard American Airlines Flight 11, Governor Mitt Romney today honored five Bay State residents by presenting them with the Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery.

"September 11th forced us to reexamine many of the assumptions and definitions by which we measure our lives," said Romney. "Being a hero means taking risks to one's self for something greater than one's self."

Romney was joined by Michael Sweeney, Amy's widower, and their children, Jack and Anna, to make the award presentations.

"The Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery is named in recognition of Amy's brave spirit – it is a truly special award," said Michael Sweeney. "It celebrates life and the ability of the human spirit to reach beyond concern for one's self, to act with concern for others, even in the face of potentially devastating consequences. My family is very proud of Amy for what she was able to do on that most horrific day."

Romney and Michael Sweeney presented the first award to 13-year-old Andrew Macdonald. In the early morning hours of February 15, 2003, Andrew awoke to the smell of smoke in his family's three-story home in Hull. Realizing the danger that his family was in, he quickly woke up his two younger sisters, Alesia and Emily.

Andrew, staying calm throughout the entire ordeal, helped his sisters put on their shoes, wrapped them in blankets and led them out the back door of the house to a safe location across the street.

"Andrew's bravery deserves to be commended," said Romney. "His selfless behavior in a time of tremendous stress and danger are completely consistent with the ideals of the heroes of September 11th."

"I don't think of myself as a hero," said Andrew Macdonald. "I'm just an ordinary kid that did the right thing at the right time."

The second award was presented to four volunteers of the Pilgrim Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol, a civilian arm of the Air Force, which assists in local search and rescue operations: Timothy Churchill, age 17, of Middleboro; Doreen Churchill (mother of Tim), age 43, of Middleboro; Thomas Melucci, age 18, of Halifax; and Geoffrey Monks, age 16, of Middleboro.

On March 3, 2003 at 1:00 AM, the four responded when a small plane carrying a family of seven from Florida to New Hampshire crashed in the vicinity of Beartown State Forest, near the New York state line.

While Doreen maintained radio contact with local authorities, the others joined together with several EMTs and hiked up to the crash site. They marched through high snowdrifts and battled wind gusts that dropped the temperature as low as 35 degrees below zero.

The team came upon the crash site and spotted the first survivor – a two-year-old boy in a small stream. Tom wrapped the boy in his jacket to keep him warm and away from the elements. The team located two of the boy's brothers who were alive under some debris from the crash. They reported their findings to an Albany helicopter and the children were taken safely away.

"In large part because of the bravery shown by each of these volunteers, the three brothers are alive and well today," said Romney. "Their bravery and selfless dedication represent the very best that our state and our nation have to offer."

"It is with great pride, that we accept this award," said Doreen Churchill, representing the group. "The true heroes are those that can not be here with us today. We will never forget the great sacrifices that so many Americans have endured in the past. Because of their sacrifices, and in their memory, we will strive to put others before self and to always be vigilant. We are just four links in a chain of thousands that persevere in continuing to build a greater chain of service, leadership, self sacrifice and devotion to community, state, and country."

The Governor's Award for Civilian Bravery is named in honor of Madeline Amy Sweeney. For 14 years, she was an American Airlines flight attendant. She lived in Acton, Massachusetts with her husband, Michael Sweeney, and their children. On September 11, 2001, Amy Sweeney was working on the first airplane to devastate New York City by flying into the World Trade Center. Before the plane hit the tower, Amy Sweeney contacted the airline's ground services crew to convey critical information about the five hijackers and their fatal actions on the plane that morning.

Recipients of the Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery must demonstrate exceptional bravery, without regard for personal safety, in an effort to save the life or lives of another or others in actual imminent danger.

"We must never lose sight of what we lost on September 11th – as a people, as parents, and as children," said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. "Yet, through all the loss we remain undaunted. We remember not only our fallen – we remember their dreams and that's why we are here today."

This is the third presentation of the Madeline Amy Sweeney Award. Last year, Tiago Medeiros of Fall River was honored for pulling Kelly Fateaux from her burning car and saving her life. That same year, the honor was posthumously awarded to Madeline Amy Sweeney, fellow American Airlines flight attendant Betty Ong of Andover and John Ogonowski of Dracut, the pilot from that flight.

September 15, 2003

ROMNEY UNVEILS JOBS PACKAGE TO STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMY

Legislation includes new local aid for housing creation, tax rebates for businesses

Saying he is committed to strengthening the economy, Governor Mitt Romney today took
the next step in his campaign to create more jobs in Massachusetts with comprehensive legislation that he said will "benefit all companies and all types of workers."

Romney said the bill "will help provide us with a resurgent, across-the-board economic recovery."

Romney laid out the details of the jobs bill in a series of meetings with key business, labor and academic leaders, and with members of his Regional Competitiveness Councils, which are all-volunteer boards that guide economic development in different areas of the state.

The legislation – to be filed once final input is received – is focused on expanding key businesses, training workers and developing more housing and commercial space.

Among other initiatives, it includes:

  • A targeted tax rebate to companies that create new jobs in biotechnology, life sciences and medical device manufacturing;
  • New local aid for communities that create more housing, paid for by a sales tax rebate on building materials;
  • Career assistance for workers, such as a non-degree tuition assistance loan program and grants to encourage training partnerships among community colleges, industry and career centers;
  • Expansion of Statewide Technology Transfer Center at UMass to increase likelihood that technology developed at the school will have commercial application and lead to job creation;
  • Doubling the Economic Opportunity Tax Credit from 5 to 10 percent for business development of brownfields; and
  • Matching grants of up to $200,000 to revitalize urban centers, keeping jobs near housing and helping maintain the local tax base.
The bill has a three-year price tag of $125 million. An estimated $50 million of this amount is funded by instituting a change that conforms the state's tax refund practices to IRS time limits. The remainder is paid for through self-funding mechanisms or non-General Fund sources.

Romney said the bill "addresses a number of systemic problems – such as housing and urban decline – that have undercut previous job creation efforts in Massachusetts," and he credited the public, private and nonprofit leaders serving on the Regional Competitiveness Councils with many of the innovative features being proposed as part of the legislation.

The Governor noted the bill builds on the Commonwealth's strengths by providing incentives to move jobs from the laboratory to manufacturing facilities.

Under the proposed tax rebate, eligible manufacturing companies in the biotech, life sciences and medical devices field that create at least 25 new jobs will be entitled to a rebate equal to 50 percent of the state income tax paid to the state for each new employee of the company.

"If you create a product here, we want you to make that product here," Mitt Romney said.

And he said the lack of housing, cited as the number one barrier to business growth in Massachusetts, will finally be addressed head-on with incentives to communities that increase their number of housing units.

In addition to new local aid to reward housing starts, Mitt Romney proposes freeing up state-owned surplus property for residential use by offering communities a share of the sales price of the land if they take "housing friendly" action, such as zoning changes, that pave the way for development.

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey introduced a manager at the New Balance Athletic Shoe Company, Kevin Watts, to highlight the type of career assistance that will see an expansion under the bill.

"As a manager, Kevin was able to learn about lean manufacturing techniques. Lean theory is designed to cut down on waste and increase efficiency. This training has created a better manufacturing process that will preserve jobs right here in Massachusetts," Healey said.

According to Healey, the bill targets a gap in tuition assistance by making it available to individuals who do not want to embark on a college degree program, but need specific education or training that will allow them to re-enter or advance in the workplace.

She also hailed the grant program supporting training partnerships between community colleges, industry groups and the state's career centers, saying it will match the needs of growing businesses with job seekers.

Earlier this year, Mitt Romney launched his "Jobs First" campaign, which consisted of a number of initiatives aimed at job growth and economic development. Among the steps taken were:

  • Creation of Regional Competitiveness Councils;
  • The establishment of a New Markets Tax Credits Connection, a clearinghouse of information to help eligible communities apply for federal grants;
  • The launch of a business leader survey;
  • The announcement of workforce training fund grants to 70 businesses across the state;
  • A series of jobs forums hosted by the Governor around the state;
  • A "Jobs First" day at the state's 32 Career Centers, which showcased their services and newly-expanded hours;
  • Created the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and the Inner City Investment Award to recognize the contributions of businesspeople and the companies they lead.

ROMNEY "JOBS FIRST" PROPOSAL

Governor Romney's "Jobs First" proposal has several components to help stimulate job creation in Massachusetts and get our unemployed workers jobs. The Administration has spent months meeting with different groups across the state – corporations, small businesses, labor unions, industry councils, regional groups, chambers of commerce and citizens at large – to find out what they need to create new jobs and prepare our workforce for those jobs. Based on this input, we have developed a comprehensive plan. The components of the plan include:

1. EXPANDING KEY BUSINESSES

The Mitt Romney "Jobs First" plan spurs new and existing businesses to increase the number of jobs and investment in Massachusetts. This includes growing our emerging technologies, which are potentially the future engine of our economy.

Targeted tax rebate for new manufacturing jobs. Of the 160,000 jobs lost in this recession, over 50 percent (82,000) were in the manufacturing sector. This program will reduce the cost to relocate or expand manufacturing in Massachusetts by providing a rebate of 50 percent of the state income tax withheld for new jobs created. This rebate will be piloted for biotechnology, life sciences and medical device manufacturing. (3-year value: $10M)
Make the Investment Tax Credit permanent.
Regional business Support. To successfully grow jobs in each of the regions, we need a dedicated regional staff to actively drive job creation by proactively selling each region's competitive advantages to employers looking to relocate, expand or sustain jobs in Massachusetts. (3-year value: $2.1M)

  • Massachusetts Statewide Technology Transfer Center. This expanded center, to be affiliated with and housed at one of the UMass campuses, will accelerate and improve the efficiency of technology transfer from research institution to industry. A transfer center will facilitate the introduction of new products or services, which will create jobs. (3-Year value: $2.1M)
  • Matching funds for federal Research and Development grants. These matching grants, to be offered to colleges, universities and other entities (public or private) for research and development activities in new and emerging technologies, will improve the competitiveness of Massachusetts' research institutions in competing for federal funding. (3-Year value: $15M)
  • Bridge Loans to qualified grant recipients. These loans will be offered to small businesses and other qualified grant recipients for the period between the award of the grant and the actual receipt of funds. All loan payments will revert to this fund for future loans. (3-Year value: $6M)

2. TRAINING WORKERS

The Mitt Romney "Jobs First" plan improves the skills of laid off and incumbent workers through increased training opportunities. When employers are surveyed about why they choose to grow or expand in Massachusetts, they most often cite our highly skilled workforce. We must continue to invest in our workers.

Restore appropriations for the Workforce Training Fund. Employers pay $8.10 per employee per year into the Workforce Training Fund to pay for workforce training grants. Grants are awarded to both employers and labor unions that undertake employee training to: a) Promote job growth, job retention or increase wages; and b) Improve organizational productivity, competitiveness and their ability to do business in Massachusetts. (3-Year value: $57.8M)
Non-degree tuition assistance loans. Most existing loan programs are focused on degree only programs.This low-cost, broad based loan program will allow individuals to enroll in non-degree, short-term training programs leading to a recognized credential to advance their chosen careers or change careers to reenter the workforce. (3-Year value: $1.8M)
Training partnership between community colleges, one stops and industry. This program will provide grants to partnerships between community colleges, local workforce boards, One Stop Career Centers and specific businesses or industry groups to develop curricula to provide training to develop the skills of unemployed and underemployed workers within that business or industry. By building partnerships between the public and private sectors, the program matches the needs of in-demand businesses/industry sectors with unemployed and underemployed job seekers. (3-Year value: $1.8M)

DEVELOPING MORE HOUSING AND COMMERCIAL SPACE

The Mitt Romney "Jobs First" plan offers targeted initiatives which begin to address the high cost of housing in Massachusetts – often cited as the number one barrier by employers to expanding or locating jobs in the Bay State. It also encourages the redevelopment of the 7,000 brownfields sites so that more jobs can be created near where workers live.

  • Provide communities up to a $3,000 sales tax rebate for the targeted development of new or renovated housing. To encourage communities to increase the number of housing units built, this proposal will provide cities and towns with up to a $3,000 rebate on the sales tax paid by builders for the materials used in the targeted development of new or renovated single and multi-family homes. This provision sunsets after three years to encourage immediate activity. (3-Year value: $9M)
  • Housing mitigation payment to communities to encourage residential use of state surplus property. This provision creates an incentive to encourage cities and towns to make state surplus property "housing-friendly" by changing zoning regulations to allow for new housing starts. If the land is used for housing, communities will be eligible to receive up to 50 percent of the enhanced value of the surplus property when it is sold by the state. (3-Year value: $6M)
Matching grants for local urban revitalization. This program will offer matching grants of up to $200,000 to seven Massachusetts cities (one in each region) to establish business district revitalization programs that create new businesses and jobs. (3-year value: $1.4M)
Increase the Economic Opportunity Credit for brownfields sites from 5 to 10 percent. This initiative expands the successful Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) to offer businesses that locate on a brownfield site a 10 percent ITC credit instead of the standard EDIP ITC credit of 5 percent. (3-Year value: $2.7M)
Extends tax credit for brownfield site clean up. (3-year value: $1.8M)
Recapitalize the BRAC insurance fund. To mitigate the risk for businesses to expand on brownfields, the Brownfields Redevelopment Access to Capital (BRAC) insurance program makes available and subsidizes environmental insurance to borrowers and developers who purchase, clean up or develop brownfields sites in Massachusetts, and to lenders who finance the projects. (3-Year value: $8M)

September 16, 2003

ROMNEY ADMINISTRATION APPOINTS NEW DCR COMMISSIONER

Katherine Abbott to lead changes in decentralized, service-oriented parks agency

Katherine Abbott, an environmental conservationist and advocate for the Boston Harbor islands, has been selected as the first commissioner for the state's new Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Mitt Romney administration announced today.

"This is a great day for all those that use and enjoy our state's parks and recreational facilities," said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, who administered the oath. "The reforms currently taking place within the Department of Conservation and Recreation will ensure the quality and affordability of the recreational facilities in Massachusetts."

Abbott has extensive experience in the management of public lands and recreational facilities. She began her career with the state parks system in 1980. During her tenure at the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, she managed the first statewide management-planning program for forest and park and streamlined land acquisition procedures that resulted in a more efficient use of state capital dollars.

"Throughout her career, Kathy Abbott has proven herself as a passionate advocate for the environment and a shrewd manager," said Environmental Affairs Secretary Ellen Roy Herzfelder. "Kathy will lead an ambitious program of reforms that will make our state parks and recreation system a national model of excellence."

Most recently, Abbott served as President and CEO of the Island Alliance, a consortium of public and private entities that supports the Boston Harbor Islands National Park.

As commissioner, Abbott will lead a comprehensive process of change that will eliminate overlap between the two legacy organizations and create a new regional management structure. Top priorities include:

  • Improving customer service by decentralizing management to the regions.
  • Consolidating administrative functions to reduce duplication and overlap, reassigning staff where appropriate.
  • Achieving an estimated $4.6 million in savings.
"Every day, across our Commonwealth, thousands of people enjoy the broad recreational opportunities our state has to offer and it is an honor to be called upon to lead this new department," said Abbott.

Governor Mitt Romney proposed the Department of Conservation and Recreation in his FY04 budget in February. DCR merges the functions of the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) with the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), eliminating duplication between the two agencies and allowing them to maximize their expertise and equipment.


September 18, 2003

ROMNEY ANNOUNCES $6 MILLION CHARTER SCHOOL GRANT

Massachusetts charter schools will receive a $6 million grant to build and improve their facilities from the U.S. Department of Education, Governor Mitt Romney and U.S. DOE Regional Administrator Michael Sentance announced today.

Romney said the grant is important because Massachusetts' 46 charter schools do not qualify for state funds to build, purchase or maintain their buildings. As a result, many schools have difficulty obtaining a lease or funds to transform vacant buildings into classrooms for students.

"Thanks to the support of the Bush Administration, we will ensure that charter schools can continue to educate and nurture the children of the Commonwealth in safe and stimulating environments," said Romney.

He added, "Since 1995, charter schools have provided nimble and innovative methods of teaching our kids and pushed all of our public schools to perform at a higher level."

"This grant is an important part of the school reform effort in Massachusetts and this country," said Michael Sentance, New England Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Education. "The MassDevelopment program will assist charter schools to improve their classrooms and improve the learning for thousands of students in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts charter schools have proven to be an important ally in school reform in this state and kept their promise to improve student achievement and leaving no child behind."

The Massachusetts Development Finance Agency (MassDevelopment) won the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program grant from the U.S. Department of Education. With this grant, MassDevelopment will create the Massachusetts Charter School Guarantee Fund to guarantee debt for the acquisition, construction, renovation and leasehold improvement of charter school facilities. The fund will assist schools that range from start-ups to established schools. The agency will use the grant to leverage $60 million in private financing to assist as many charter schools as possible.

"This guarantee fund will significantly enhance the ability of charter schools across the Commonwealth to obtain the facilities needed to provide our children with a unique and alternative education," said Michael Hogan, President & CEO, MassDevelopment.

"Throughout the Commonwealth, charter schools are using creative teaching techniques and providing students the education needed to go on and graduate from college," said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. "This grant will allow more charter schools to obtain the financial backing they need to help more students realize their dreams."

Charter schools are public schools that are given the freedom to organize their activities around a core mission, curriculum, or teaching method and set their own budgets and staffs. Massachusetts charter schools were created with the philosophy to increase student achievement, to give parents more educational choices, develop best practices and be held accountable for results. A charter school must demonstrate positive results within five years or lose its charter.

Currently the Bay State has 39 Commonwealth charter schools and seven Horace Mann charter schools.

September 19, 2003

ROMNEY ANNOUNCES NEW MERCURY EMISSION REGULATIONS

Governor Mitt Romney today unveiled proposed regulations that will require the state's oldest power plants to significantly reduce mercury emissions, putting Massachusetts in the forefront of reducing air pollution.

"Massachusetts has been a national leader in the effort to clean up our oldest and dirtiest power plants," said Romney. "The implementation of these new mercury standards, coupled with major reductions in other air pollutants now underway, will ensure that the citizens of the Commonwealth will breathe the cleanest air possible."

Under Romney's direction, the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have proposed a two-phase mercury emissions standard. The first phase requires facilities to capture 85 percent of the mercury contained in combusted coal by October 1, 2006. The second phase requires facilities to capture 95 percent of the mercury by October 1, 2012. In total, the regulations will cut mercury emissions by over 130 pounds per year.

The new regulations are based on a mercury feasibility report, which was released last year using data from power plant smoke stack tests and other research. The report indicated that it is technologically and economically feasible to remove 90 percent or more of mercury in flue gas.

The regulations will apply to four coal-fired power plants: Brayton Point Station in Somerset; Salem Harbor Station; Mount Tom Station in Holyoke; and Somerset Station. The two other facilities affected by the state's comprehensive air pollution regulations – Mystic Station in Everett and Canal Electric in Sandwich – operate on oil or natural gas, not coal.

The stringent mercury regulations are part of the Commonwealth's toughest-in-the-nation clean-air rules requiring reductions in the pollutants that cause or contribute to the formation of acid rain, smog, regional haze, mercury deposition and global climate change. Those rules require the state's oldest power plants to significantly reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon dioxide (CO2) and mercury. Recently, Massachusetts has also required municipal waste combustors to cut their mercury emissions by 90 percent or more and the state has aggressively advocated for increased recycling of mercury products.

Romney noted that mercury emissions in Massachusetts have been reduced by over 60 percent in the last five years. He said, "Our comprehensive mercury reduction efforts are a major step towards eliminating mercury pollution and will have a positive effect on the environment and public health for many years."

As a result of widespread mercury contamination, state health officials previously issued a statewide advisory warning pregnant women, nursing mothers of reproductive age and children under 12 not to consume any fish caught in fresh water bodies in Massachusetts due to health risk. More recently, the advisory was expanded to include certain marine species, including tuna and mackerel. Exposure to mercury can cause neurological and developmental effects in children. Air pollution has also contributed to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

The mercury regulations will also allow a facility to apply for an "alternative reduction plan" for off-site mercury reductions to provide initial flexibility during the time when the plants will be testing newly installed SO2 and NOx controls. Those controls are expected to provide mercury reduction co-benefits, which could preclude the need for additional mercury controls.

DEP will sponsor public hearings on the new mercury regulations in early to mid-November at sites near the four coal-fired plants in Somerset, Salem and Holyoke. The public is invited to attend and comment on the mercury regulations in preparation for the issuance of final regulations.

The proposed mercury regulations are available at www.mass.gov/dep/bwp/daqc/daqcpubs.htm#regs

September 19, 2003

HEALEY BREAKS GROUND ON ASSABET RAIL TRAIL

New Bike Path Represents $3 Million Investment in Hudson/Marlboro Area

HUDSON – Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today joined state and local officials at a groundbreaking ceremony for a $3 million project to construct a portion of the Assabet Rail Trail in Hudson and Marlboro.

"This is an exciting day for the families of Marlboro and Hudson. Approximately four miles of new connecting trails will soon be available for biking and jogging," Healey said. "In the months ahead, Governor Mitt Romney and I will continue to look for additional ways to enhance the Commonwealth's biking and jogging paths. Massachusetts is a beautiful state and we want to ensure that every resident and visitor has a chance to enjoy all that the Bay State has to offer."

When complete, the project will create four miles of rail trail between Fairbanks Boulevard and Lincoln Street in Marlboro and from the Hudson-Marlboro town line to Route 62 in Hudson. The two sections will be connected by a stretch of existing trail in Marlboro. The Assabet Rail Trail will be 12.5 miles long and run from Marlboro to the South Acton commuter rail station.

"The Romney-Healey Administration has stressed that we must be truly multi-modal in developing our transportation network," said Transportation Secretary Daniel Grabauskas. "This rail trail is not only a great recreational opportunity – it is also part of a larger system that provides a means of getting from 'Point A' to 'Point B.'"

The rail trail will be 12 feet wide. The project also involves the refurbishment of a former railroad trestle bridge and the rehabilitation of an underpass at the Route 85 connector in Hudson. A wood post-and-rail fence will be installed along some portions of the trail, and improvements at a number of intersections along the trail will be incorporated.

"This project is part of an effort to infuse over $400 million a year into MassHighway construction activity throughout the Commonwealth," said MassHighway Commissioner John Cogliano. "This amount is exclusive of the Central Artery project, and represents an historic investment in our transportation infrastructure."

The project was awarded to Steven and Roger Contracting Corporation of Lowell, Massachusetts. It is anticipated that the project will be completed in April 2005.


September 22, 2003

ROMNEY PRESENTS ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT, INNER CITY INVESTMENT AWARDS

Honors unique Boston restaurant, Springfield IT firm for their contributions

A unique Boston restaurant specializing in dessert fare and an information technology firm creating new jobs in Springfield were honored today by Governor Mitt Romney for their contributions to making Massachusetts a better place to live and work.

Romney presented the Governor's Entrepreneurial Spirit Award to Finale's Paul Conforti and Kim Moore, and the Governor's Inner City Investment Award to Court Square Data Group's Keith Parent.

Both awards, which are presented monthly, are part of Romney's "Jobs First" initiative. The Entrepreneurial Spirit Award recognizes individuals who best demonstrate the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the Massachusetts economy and who inspire others to turn their ideas into action. The Inner City Investment Award honors the dedication and hard work of men and women who contribute to the revitalization of the Commonwealth's cities through business investment and job creation.

"Today, we recognize entrepreneurs from two innovative companies: Paul Conforti and Kim Moore of Finale for their perseverance, creativity and quality of product, and Keith Parent of Court Square Data Group for his business investment in an urban community where employment needs are greatest," Mitt Romney said. "These awards show our appreciation for those who contribute to the Massachusetts economy and generate new wealth, prosperity and jobs."

Finale is an upscale dessert-focused restaurant that was conceived when a group of friends, including Paul Conforti and Kim Moore, were having dinner to celebrate the end of the first year of business school. With Paul's interest in entrepreneurial ventures and service management, and Kim's love of retail concepts and media relations, the duo teamed up to create a venture that was a success by Valentine's Day of 1999. In June 2002, after four successful years in Park Plaza, Finale expanded to include a second location in Harvard Square.

When industry specialists claimed Finale's business plan wouldn't work, it was the advice and reinforcement of many successful Massachusetts restaurateurs and food specialists that kept us focused on success," said Moore. "This is a great state to start a business in and one we are proud to be associated with."

Court Square Data Group is a Springfield-based provider of Information Technology consulting services with offices in Boston, Groton Connecticut and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1995, the company offers IT consulting services in the areas of infrastructure, data management, asset protection and regulation support. IT product offerings include an Enterprise Resource Planning package for manufacturing companies and a financial reporting and forecasting application.

The company focuses in the life sciences and manufacturing industries and targets organizations throughout the Northeast. A rapidly growing firm, Court Square Data Group has grown to over 65 employees.

The success of Court Square Data Group is tied to its connection and support for leading Massachusetts industries and its location in an inner city community. Court Square Data Group is an excellent example of a business that is thriving in a Massachusetts city because of the transportation network, skilled workforce and proximity to information technology companies with whom they work to develop services. At the same time, it is contributing to the growth of jobs and wealth in Springfield and the Pioneer Valley.

"Much of our success and ability to grow is attributable to location," said Parent. "Springfield has been an excellent community in which to find talented employees, access to our customers and links to the life sciences industries that are generating more and more jobs in Massachusetts."


September 23, 2003

ROMNEY CELEBRATES CONSOLIDATION OF ROCKLAND PLANT

$6 Million Plant Consolidation Saves 85 Jobs; Adds 20 New Jobs

ROCKLAND – Governor Mitt Romney today touted the advantages that make Massachusetts attractive for job growth and business development while praising the TACC Division of Illinois Tool Works (ITW) for its efforts to consolidate several of its operations and to locate them in the Bay State.

"You went through a tremendous evaluation process to decide where to consolidate the plant. You analyzed over 30 scenarios and considered many other states. In the end, you decided to stay here in Massachusetts and for that, I salute you," Mitt Romney told company officials during a tour of the facility.

During the evaluation process, ITW considered variables including capital, operating and utility costs as well as the availability and cost of both skilled and unskilled labor. The company ultimately decided to consolidate their operations in Rockland, retaining 85 jobs at their South Shore location. Mitt Romney said ITW expects future job growth as a result of their consolidation and noted that 20 new jobs have already been added to date.

"Massachusetts proved to be the best decision considering all the variables," said Romney. "We have the people, the capital and the technology market."

ITW TACC is a division of ITW, a $10 billion manufacturing company that operates in 43 countries. Currently, six ITW companies, which collectively employ over 400 people, have facilities in Massachusetts. ITW TACC has been headquartered in Rockland on the South Shore for more than 30 years. They continue to be a leader in the production of adhesives for the commercial use and residential construction markets.

Today's celebration also includes a significant investment in state-of-the-art safety and emissions control technology that reduces emissions by 75 percent, which allows them to significantly increase production in Rockland while reducing emissions.

"The people at ITW, ITW TACC, the town of Rockland and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have worked together diligently to make our future success possible," said Jim James, General Manager of ITW TACC. "The support we've received reinforces our decision to centralize in Rockland and has poised ITW TACC for further growth."

Romney said government can play an important role in economic development by preserving a stable and competitive tax base; holding down the cost of doing business in Massachusetts; reducing the supply of housing by increasing the supply; connecting our higher education system to regional workforce needs; reforming state government to improve the delivery of services; and working aggressively to bring more jobs to the state.

Last week, Mitt Romney announced a $125 million three-year proposal to jumpstart the economy. The "Jobs First" bill – which will be filed shortly – focuses on expanding key businesses, training workers, and developing more housing and commercial space. Key components include:

A targeted tax rebate to companies that create new jobs in biotechnology, life sciences and medical device manufacturing;
New local aid for communities that create more housing paid for by a sales tax rebate on building materials;
Career assistance for workers, such as non-degree tuition assistance loan program and grants to encourage training partnerships among community colleges, industry and career centers;
Expansion of Statewide Technology Transfer Center at UMass to increase likelihood that technology developed at the school will have commercial application and lead to job creation;
Doubling the Economic Opportunity Tax Credit from 5 to 10 percent for business development of brownfields; and
Matching grants of up to $200,000 to revitalize urban centers, keeping jobs near housing and helping maintain the local tax base.
Romney said his proposal "addresses a number of systemic problems – such as housing and urban decline – that have undercut previous job creation efforts in Massachusetts," and he credited the public, private and nonprofit leaders serving on the Regional Competitiveness Councils with many of the innovative features being proposed as part of the legislation.


September 24, 2003

ROMNEY SIGNS LEASE EXTENSION AT MASS MILITARY RESERVATION

Agreement contains tough environmental protections, delivers jobs and economic vitality

BOURNE – Governor Mitt Romney today signed a 25-year extension to the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) Army and Air Force Leases from 2026 to 2051.

According to Romney, the leases contain tough environmental protections that guard the Cape's water supply. He said the extension also ensures the military continues to play a role in the economic vitality of the region and in the state's homeland defense efforts.

"With these extensions to the Massachusetts Military Reservation leases, we are ensuring the continued presence of the United States military – a major contributor of jobs and revenues to the Cape's economy and a key component of our homeland defense network," said Romney. "At the same time, we are protecting the region's water supply known as the Sagamore Lens, Cape Cod's sole source aquifer."

The Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) provides a training ground for the Army National Guard as well as an air base for the Air National Guard. On September 11, 2001, following terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center, fighter jets from MMR were the first dispatched to patrol the skies over the United States.

The MMR is the second-largest employer of civilians in the region, with 700 workers whose salaries exceed $35 million annually. The base provides an estimated $10 million in annual revenue in the form of goods and services. As an economic multiplier, the MMR contributes more than $100 million to the Cape economy.

Romney said the lease extensions were needed to secure federal funding for facility modernization on the lower base (Cantonment Area), a task that is essential to the future of MMR and a significant concern to the state and the region. The World War II vintage buildings require repair, maintenance and military construction funding over the next 15 to 20 years. The lease extension provides assurance to the military that if federal funds are provided, the military will be able to utilize the modernized facility for at least 25 years after the funding has been committed.

"This extension of the Army's lease at the Massachusetts Military Reservation affirms the mutual commitments of the Army, the Commonwealth and our neighboring communities to provide our soldiers the best training possible while providing the best environmental stewardship possible," said Ray Fatz, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health.

Maureen T. Koetz, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health, praised the lease extensions, saying, "We are pleased to have reached an agreement that allows MMR to maintain its role as a premier East Coast readiness facility, an economic contributor to the region, and an important conservation area sustained by the Department of Defense."

The Mitt Romney Administration took steps to ensure that the lease extensions would not result in increased risk to the region's water supplies. In addition to addressing homeland security and economic concerns during lease negotiations, Romney's Administration extended the unprecedented environmental protections codified in the terms of the 2001 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Commonwealth and the Army into the lease agreement until 2051.

These protections safeguard the 15,000-acre Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve by precluding development and ensuring that all activities in this area, including the limited military training, do not threaten the drinking water supplies and wildlife habitat.

The Administration also worked with the four neighboring communities (Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee and Sandwich) to resolve outstanding water problems that have resulted from contamination emanating from MMR. Over the past few months, agreements were reached between the military and those four communities on federal reimbursements for water supply resources impaired by MMR pollution.

Today, a Memorandum of Understanding was also signed by the Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard and the four water superintendents outlining a process for addressing future water-related issues of concern to the Upper Cape water suppliers.

Finally, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has

agreed to move ahead with the promulgation of clean up and drinking water standards for

perchlorate, a recently discovered chemical contaminant associated with the use of rocket propellants and other sources. The military, in separate letters to Mitt Romney and the Bourne Water Superintendent, has agreed to comply with all applicable duly promulgated state regulations including these new clean up and drinking water standards, and to continue the current pace of environmental clean up activities without regard to the lease extension.

> "The water suppliers are most grateful to the Governor for his commitment to resolve the water supply issues that are so critical to the Upper Cape and for the assistance of his administration in successfully negotiating this understanding with the military that will help us continue to provide safe drinking water to the residents of the Towns of Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee and Sandwich," said David Rich, Chairman of the Board of Managers of the Upper Cape Regional Water Supply Cooperative.

Efforts to clean up MMR and to protect the drinking water of the Upper Cape will continue to be a central focus of federal, state and regional resources over the coming decades, with or without the lease extension. Securing federal base modernization funds could help in this effort by ensuring an active and invested tenant.

The lease extensions offer a number of other benefits: it extends the MOA signed in 2001, grants additional state access to the site (in the Cantonment Area) for environmental monitoring and compliance, and prevents extension of the PAVE PAWS license beyond 2026 without a public process.

MMR LEASE EXTENSION

Fact Sheet and Response to Comments

Background:

The Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) property is divided into two areas:

The Cantonment area is the southern 5,000 acres of the base where all development and intensive activities occur and where development is planned consistent with the comprehensive Master Plan.
The northern 15,000 acres, known as the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve, is the training area of the base called Camp Edwards. It contains large tracts of permanently protected open space and forested areas where National Guard and Reservists units from the northeast practice maneuvering, set up and secure camps, and conduct training scenarios. The Reserve sits atop the apex of the sole source aquifer for the Cape (the so-called Sagamore Lens) and an impact area where contamination exists from unexploded ordinance and unspent fuel.
Why is the military seeking lease extensions for the MMR?
Buildings within the Cantonment area that are utilized by the Massachusetts National Guard were constructed during WWII and must be revitalized. Modernizing these old structures and creating new ones will bring the base up to current building standards, making it able to support operational missions. The proposed base modernization projects have already undergone state environmental review and a length community master planning process.

Federal funding from the Department of Defense (DoD) is needed to modernize MMR. Repair, maintenance and military construction projects within the Cantonment area are proposed over the next 15 to 20 years. The lease extension will provide an assurance to the federal government that this investment is well spent – in other words, the military will be able to utilize the facility for at least 25 years after these major capital projects are completed.

By extending the length of the lease, Massachusetts is also demonstrating its strong commitment to having a significant military presence in our state. This is particularly important at this time as the Department of Defense is undergoing its Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005 process. Massachusetts is committed to the long-term viability of MMR, which is so important to the men and women who train there, to our collective homeland security, and to the regional economy of Cape Cod.

Why does the lease extension have to include Camp Edwards?

While the northern 15,000 acres is not the focus of these proposed military infrastructure investments, Camp Edwards is included in the lease extension as an integral component of the base that is vital to its future as a comprehensive training facility. This area, known as the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve, is currently being transferred to the care and custody of the Division of Fish and Game where the land will remain permanently protected as open space. All uses, including limited training activities, will be carefully monitored to ensure that they comply with the rigorous Environmental Performance Standards.

Does the lease extension give the military carte blanche approval to construct new buildings throughout the base?

In July of 2001, after an extensive public process that lasted more than four years, a comprehensive Master Plan for the base was developed, reviewed and found adequate under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) in July of 2001. The base modernization projects proposed in the Cantonment area that independently trigger MEPA thresholds will have to file for further environmental review. No construction is planned for the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve and no development is allowed in this area.

How would a long-range military presence at the MMR impact the environment?

All intensive military activities take place within the Cantonment area and they are conducted in accordance with applicable state, federal and DoD environmental regulations. Any future military activities will also be conducted in accordance with all applicable federal and state regulations. The lease extension does offer the Commonwealth additional access to the Cantonment area to allow for environmental inspection and monitoring.

Will the lease extension allow a longer period of time for cleanup of the base?

While serious contamination has occurred in the past as a result of military activities within the Cantonment area and the impact area, efforts are on-going to clean up the contamination under the oversight of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The clean up schedule is based on the requirements of existing laws and regulations, not on the length of the lease. Additionally, the DoD has pledged to continue to invest heavily in these clean up activities as well as efforts to address water supply contamination resulting from activities at MMR.

Have the towns reached agreement with the military on the water supply issues?

The military has worked with the Water Superintendents of the four surrounding communities (Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich) to address outstanding issues relative to existing contamination of area water supplies. Substantial progress has been made and both the towns and the military are anxious to continue these efforts. The Massachusetts National Guard has also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the four Water Superintendents outlining a new cooperative and interactive process for resolving any future water supply issues.

What about perchlorate?

Perchlorate, a newly uncovered and currently unregulated groundwater contaminant, poses significant concern to the Town of Bourne and the other Upper Cape communities. Over the past months the Water Superintendents have received written assurance from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that state regulations governing perchlorate contamination will be promulgated early next year. In addition, the Army has provided written assurance to the Town of Bourne that they will comply with all duly promulgated and applicable state standards and work hand in hand with the communities to address the issue of alternative water supplies.

Does the lease extension impact the recently created Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve?

Given the need to permanently protect the water supply and wildlife habitat in the northern area of the base, the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve was created through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the military and the state and codified into law in March of 2002. This agreement and law established a new management structure to monitor and enforce a set of Environmental Performance Standards to ensure that current and future military training - and any other activities occurring in the Reserve - would be compatible with efforts to protect the water supply and wildlife habitat.

The lease extension incorporates and extends this Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the life of the lease. It ensures that military training at Camp Edwards in the Reserve will not negatively impact the environment. The MOA has in it 18 Environmental Performance Standards (EPSs), guidelines for what can and cannot be done in the Upper Cape Water Reserve that go above and beyond already existing state and federal regulations. An example of an EPS is that none of the Reserve can be developed.

Is the Northern 15,000 acres still permanently protected open space under the new lease?

Yes. The legislation that created the upper Cape Water Supply Reserve (Chapter 47 of the Acts of 2002) called for the Northern 15,000 acres to be transferred to the Division of Fisheries and Game for water supply and wildlife habitat protection as well as for environmentally compatible military training purposes. The legislation explicitly envisioned continued military training in the Northern portion of MMR subject to environmental performance standards. The lease extension honors the intent of this legislation by incorporating the Memorandum of Agreement between the Commonwealth and the military.

We are following through with the commitment in the legislation to transfer the underlying interest in the Northern 15,000 acres, known as the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve, to the care and custody of the Department of Fish and Game where the land will remain permanently protected as open space. All uses, including limited training activities, will be carefully monitored to ensure that they comply with the rigorous Environmental Performance Standards.

How are the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and its Environmental Performance Standards (EPSs) for the Reserve enforced?

The MOA created the Environmental Management Commission (EMC), comprised of three commissioners from Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Conservation and Recreation and Department of Fish and Game. Two councils, the Citizens Advisory Council and the Science Advisory Council advise the EMC. Each of these three groups meets separately at public meetings conducted on the Upper Cape, to date they have met collectively 18 times since the inception of the MOA.

The EMC has full time staff at the base daily, the Executive Environmental Officer and the Environment Officer (EO) at the MMR are present daily to monitor training and environmental program activities at the Reserve. They have full access to all Massachusetts Army National Guard information and training areas. They conduct on-site inspections of training and remediation activities at the base.

The MOA mandates the Massachusetts Army National Guard produce an annual report. The 2002 report provided baseline information on environmental programs at Camp Edwards. The oversight committees reviewed the document and concurred with the statement in the Massachusetts Army National Guard's first annual report that Military training is in compliance with Environmental Performance Standards.

Do the lease extensions and the water agreements protect the area communities from attempts to weaken the current obligations of the military to comply with environmental laws and regulations?

The MOA governing the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve established environmental performance standards governing all activities conducted within the area of Camp Edwards to ensure the permanent protection of drinking water and wildlife habitat. These standards, many of which are more rigorous than current regulatory requirements, will be in place for the life of the lease extensions regardless of any change in federal or state law. In addition, the military has provided written commitments to continue the clean up of MMR, to comply with all duly promulgated applicable state standards and to work closely with the four area communities to address drinking water issues. Lastly, Governor Mitt Romney has stated his intention to oppose any congressional action that would weaken the military's obligation to comply with environmental standards at MMR.

September 25,

ROMNEY CUTS RED TAPE TO HELP BAY STATE SMALL BUSINESSES

Executive Order creates small business advocate, eases regulatory burden for small biz

In another effort to stimulate job growth, Governor Mitt Romney today issued an Executive Order that creates a small business advocate within state government and calls for a review of administrative rules and regulations to ensure they do not have an adverse impact on small businesses.

"With nearly half of the Massachusetts workforce employed by small businesses, we can not have government creating regulatory mazes that hamper the growth of small businesses," said Romney. "This Executive Order will protect and fortify the Commonwealth's small businesses by giving them a voice in the regulatory process."

Saying small businesses are the backbone of the Massachusetts economy, Romney's Executive Order accomplishes the following:

* Designates a Small business Advocate for the state;
* Requires that Cabinet Secretaries designate small business liaisons from among existing staff; and
* Mandates that state agencies that take any regulatory action that affects small business submit a small business impact statement for approval by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance to ensure it does not have a harmful impact.
 

Romney noted that small, independently owned businesses comprise 98 percent of the Commonwealth's commercial enterprises and that nearly 50 percent of the employment in the Commonwealth is derived from small businesses. Between 1999 and 2000, small businesses added more than 84,000 jobs in Massachusetts – 72 percent of the total job growth for the Commonwealth.

"The numbers are clear," said Romney. "Small businesses are not just apart of our economy. They are the engine of economic growth and innovation."

The Bush Administration's Small business Administrator, Hector Barreto, praised Romney's efforts on behalf of small businesses.

He said, "We salute the efforts of Governor Mitt Romney to reduce the regulatory barriers in Massachusetts so that small businesses can grow and succeed in the long term. By taking these steps, the state of Massachusetts will create an environment where small businesses can flourish."

The Small business Administration's Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Thomas Sullivan, added, "Massachusetts small business owners have a friend in Governor Romney. By signing this Executive Order, he has given them a seat at the table when regulatory decisions are made. When their voice is heard, better decisions are made and that means more jobs and growth for Massachusetts."

Gail Goodman, CEO of Roving Software, a small business in Waltham noted, "I want to thank Governor Mitt Romney for this action, and for appointing liaisons and advocacy officials in this administration. The impact of public regulation – permitting, consumer regulations and legislation – is often not reviewed for its impact on the small business owner. As anyone who's started a business knows, money is tight and time is even tighter. The more government can work with small business and consider the impact of rule making on the entrepreneur, the healthier small businesses of Massachusetts will be, and the more they can contribute to the state's economy."

Today's action is one of many steps Mitt Romney has taken to spur economic growth and job creation in the Bay State. Most recently, Mitt Romney introduced legislation, which will be filed shortly, to benefit all companies and all types of workers. Key components include:

* A targeted tax rebate to companies that create new jobs in biotechnology, life sciences and medical device manufacturing;
* New local aid for communities that create more housing paid for by a sales tax rebate on building materials;
* Career assistance for workers, such as non-degree tuition assistance loan program and grants to encourage training partnerships among community colleges, industry and career centers;
* Expansion of Statewide Technology Transfer Center at UMass to increase likelihood that technology developed at the school will have commercial application and lead to job creation;
* Doubling the Economic Opportunity Tax Credit from 5 to 10 percent for business development of brownfields; and
* Matching grants of up to $200,000 to revitalize urban centers, keeping jobs near housing and helping maintain the local tax base.
 

"In order to put Massachusetts back to work, the most important thing that government can do is to create the right environment for economic expansion and job growth," said Romney. "This order is one important way we can bring economic development and jobs to Massachusetts."


September 26, 2003

ROMNEY NAMES DIVERSITY AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY COUNCIL

Reaffirming his commitment to creating a state government workforce that is reflective of the entire Massachusetts community, Governor Mitt Romney today swore in the members of the newly created Diversity and Equal Opportunity Advisory Council.

The council was established as part of an Executive Order issued by Mitt Romney earlier this year that created the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity to promote a state government culture that recognizes the value of diversity. Since Mitt Romney took office in January, 37 percent of all Executive Branch hires have been minority.

Romney thanked the members of the council, from both the public and private sectors, for serving his Administration in this important role. "With the help of the council members, my Administration will work hard to foster a culture of inclusion that values diversity. We want Massachusetts to be recognized as a great place for people from all backgrounds to work and raise a family."

As their first task, Mitt Romney charged the panel with reviewing and finalizing guidelines for implementing the Executive Order. Until the new guidelines are in place, he said all former policies and procedures will remain in place.

Romney also said the council will play a key role in all future administration initiatives designed to boost workplace diversity.

The council will be chaired by Ruth Bramson, the state's Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer, and vice-chaired by Sandra Borders, Director of the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity.

Other members of the council are:

* State Senator Dianne Wilkerson;
* State Representative Jeffrey Sanchez;
* Pamela Dashiell, General Counsel, Office of the Attorney General;
* Ann Looney, General Counsel, Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists;
* Ralph Cooper, Executive Director, Veterans' Benefits Clearinghouse;
* Marie Trottier, Disability Coordinator, Harvard University;
* Benaree Wiley, President and CEO, The Partnership, Inc.;
* Carol Sanchez, President, Boston Chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting;
* Jane Edmonds, Director, Department of Labor and Workforce Development;
* Reverend Richard Richardson, President and CEO, Children's Services of Roxbury;
* Leonard Alkins, President, Boston Chapter, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People;
* Donald Wong, President, Kowloon Restaurant;
* Jonathan Spampinato, Director of Communications and Development, Visiting Nurses Association of America; and
* Oswald Mondejar, Human Resources Manager and Disability Coordinator, Partners Healthcare at Massachusetts General Hospital.
 

"We want to move beyond simply valuing diversity to understanding that diversity is valuable to the state, our citizens, our communities and our businesses," said Bramson.

The first meeting of the council will take place on Monday, September 29.


September 29, 2003

ROMNEY ANNOUNCES SHOT IN THE ARM FOR FLU VACCINE PROGRAM

Innovative agreement forged between commonwealth and private sector health plans

Governor Mitt Romney today joined leaders of seven private health care plans to announce an innovative partnership to ensure the state can supply flu vaccine this winter.

Romney announced that the health plans have agreed to contribute approximately $1.4 million to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Vaccine Trust Fund, which when combined with state and federal funding, enables the Department of Public Health to purchase 568,000 doses of flu vaccine for distribution, which is the same number of doses distributed last year.

"With winter coming, flu season is fast approaching," said Romney. "We want to make sure that everyone in Massachusetts who wants a flu shot can get one. The creation of this vaccine trust fund will allow us to do that by partnering with private sector health care providers in order to ensure a steady flu vaccine supply."

Although the account to purchase vaccine was level funded in this year's budget, the cost of a single dose of flu vaccine rose by 16 percent, from $5.90 last year to $7.06 this year. Without this infusion of private health care plan funds, the Commonwealth could purchase only 350,000 doses of the vaccine.

The creation of the new fund also helps the Department of Public Health ensure that the childhood vaccination program is not reduced. That program provides all recommended childhood vaccines free for all children, regardless of insurance status.

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey said, "State supplied doses of the flu vaccine account for about half of all flu vaccines administered in Massachusetts. Massachusetts has among the highest vaccination rates in the nation with 69 percent of adults 65 years of age and older receiving annual flu shots."

Healey said the following the health care plans are participating in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Vaccine Trust Fund: Aetna; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Fallon Community Health Plan; Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; Health New England; Neighborhood Health Plan; and Tufts Health Plan.

"The state's health plans recognize the serious fiscal challenges the state faces and by supporting this program they are doing their part to ensure that Massachusetts residents have access to necessary care," said Dr. Marylou Buyse, a practicing primary care physician and president of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans. Six of the seven participating health care plans are MAHP members.

State supplied flu vaccine is distributed to local boards of health, community health centers, nursing homes, senior centers, visiting nurse associations and private health care providers that serve high-risk clients.

"Our immunization program is the bedrock of our health care system," said Public Health Commissioner Christy Ferguson. "Anytime a person walks into a hospital with serious complications from the flu, there are cost ripples throughout the health care delivery system. This partnership represents good public health policy and sound economic sense."

The state has received its initial shipment of vaccine and is currently distributing it throughout Massachusetts. The remaining doses will be available for distribution to provider sites by the week of October 5. Health care providers are encouraged to start vaccinating their high-risk patients as soon as vaccine is available. Public immunization clinics are usually scheduled in October and November. Since flu season usually does not get underway in New England until December, and doesn't peak until January or February, it is not too late to get vaccinated in November, December or even later.

Individuals at risk for complications from the flu should get vaccinated each year. This includes everyone 50 years of age and older, and younger people with chronic medical conditions such as heart and lung disease, including asthma, metabolic diseases such as diabetes or an immune system compromised by disease or medication. Pregnant women who are in the second or third trimester during flu season (usually November through March) should also get vaccinated.

Influenza causes approximately 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations each year nationwide. In Massachusetts, it is estimated that over 800 people die from influenza complications and an additional 4,600 are hospitalized.

October 1, 2003

ROMNEY ANNOUNCES $8.9 MILLION TO CREATE 825 MORE HOMES

NORTHAMPTON – Continuing his pledge to boost the supply of housing across the Commonwealth, Governor Mitt Romney today announced $8.9 million in grants from the state's Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) to help build 825 new homes statewide, 717 of which will be affordable to low-and moderate-income families.

"Our housing supply shortage is often cited as the number one barrier to business growth and job creation in Massachusetts and we are working overtime to build more housing" said Romney. "That is why my recently announced 'Jobs First' program includes additional local aid incentives for increased housing production and also proposes rewards for communities with state-owned surplus property to take action to spur residential development."

Romney made the announcement in Northampton, where he celebrated the awarding of $1 million of the AHFT funds to The Community Builders, the developer of Northampton's Village at Hospital Hill. Along with the AHTF award, the project in Northampton will also receive federal low-income housing tax credits worth more than $2.7 million in private investment as well as $750,000 federal HOME funds and $860,114 in state Facilities Consolidation Funds. This investment will help fund phase one of the project, which will revitalize two existing buildings at the former Northampton State Hospital site to create 33 new apartments, 26 of which will be rented to low- and moderate-income households.

"The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Northampton have worked together for many years on a redevelopment plan for this valuable real estate parcel," said Housing and Community Development Director Jane Wallis Gumble. "It is fitting that Governor Mitt Romney would come to Northampton to announce these awards because so many state agencies were involved in making this redevelopment phase possible, including DHCD, MassHousing and MassDevelopment for its overall site control responsibilities."

"The Village at Hospital Hill is a wonderful model of how state and local government can work together with the non-profit private sector to address a wide array of community needs in ways that are consistent with local interests," said Patrick Clancy, President and CEO of The Community Builders.

Since the inception of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund in 2001, nearly $52 million in private housing funding has been awarded to 93 projects to ultimately create a total 3,906 total homes, 3,146 of which are affordable to low- and moderate-income families. In that time, 799 have been completed, 930 are under construction and 910 are pending construction.

"The Affordable Housing Trust Fund is doing exactly what it was intended to do," said MassHousing Executive Director Tom Gleason. "It is providing modest amounts of funding that are helping to get worthy development projects off the ground that might otherwise never be built."

Romney said the rest of the $8.9 million in grants will be invested in 13 other projects across the state, including in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Provincetown, Quincy, Taunton, Worcester and Yarmouth. He said a second Northampton project being developed by TCB – Northampton Independent Living – will receive $105,000 in trust funds. The project will provide six independent living apartments for Department of Mental Health clients.

October 4, 2003

ROMNEY APPOINTS THREE NEW UMASS TRUSTEES

Repeats his interest in making UMass one of the best public universities

Governor Mitt Romney today announced his first three appointments to the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees as he repeated his interest in making UMass one of the best public university systems in the country.

Romney's picks will play a role along with the entire board in finding a new president to lead the five-campus system. The appointees are:

  • Dr. John DiBiaggio, former president of Tufts University;
  • Dr. Christine Cassel, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine; and
  • William O'Shea, Executive Vice President for Lucent Technologies and President of Bell Labs.
The three appointees will serve five-year terms expiring on September 1, 2008.

"Each of these individuals are superstars in their respective fields and two of them are graduates of our state university system," said Romney. "I'm thrilled that these talented people have agreed to volunteer their time to work with the other board members in making the University of Massachusetts a top-flight institution."

DiBiaggio, who is regarded as a national education expert, served as President of Tufts University from August 1992 to September 2001. From 1985 to 1992, he was President of Michigan State University and from 1979 to 1985, he served as President of the University of Connecticut. Dr. DiBiaggio holds three earned degrees and 12 honorary degrees.

"I am very flattered and deeply honored for the invitation to serve on the Board of Trustees of such a prestigious institution," said DiBiaggio.

DiBiaggio added, "I was particularly impressed that when the Governor called me he did not ask for political affiliation or suggest an agenda to pursue with regard to the University. He just said he wanted an established academic on the board that would follow the values and ideals that are consistent with the reputation of UMass."

O'Shea is the Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Marketing for Lucent Technologies and President of Bell Labs, the communications industry's most heralded research and development organization.

O'Shea earned his bachelor's degree from Lowell Technological Institute, a precursor to the UMass Lowell campus. He brings 30 years of private sector experience in development, manufacturing and marketing. He earned a master's degree from Northeastern University and is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School for Senior Executives.

"As a graduate of Lowell Technological Institute, I am honored to be appointed by Governor Mitt Romney to the UMass Board of Trustees," said O'Shea. "I look forward to working with the board, university leaders and the Governor in the shared mission of continued excellence at UMass."

Cassel is the President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and received her medical degree from the UMass Medical School in Worcester. As the head of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Cassel leads a distinguished group of recognized leaders in medical education, clinical practice, academic medicine and research.

In addition to her years of experience in the practice of medicine, Cassel is an expert on medical ethics and geriatric medicine. She received her medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, which is a statutory requirement.

"Higher education creates the promise of the future, and I am very excited about that promise for the University of Massachusetts," said Cassel.

"On behalf of my colleagues, I want to thank Governor Mitt Romney for making three truly remarkable appointments to the UMass Board of Trustees," said Grace K. Fey, Chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees.

"We see the strength of Governor Romney's commitment to the University of Massachusetts reflected in the caliber of the people who are joining our Board. The fact that two of these distinguished leaders are graduates of the University of Massachusetts is a source of great pride. I am certain that Bill O'Shea, Dr. Christine Cassel and Dr. John DiBiaggio will bring wisdom, enthusiasm and commitment to our board," Fey said.

The university's board of trustees is responsible for overseeing the operations of the five-campus, 60,000-student UMass system. The board selects the president and chancellors, approves academic programs, awards tenure and sets student charges. The board is comprised of 22 members – 17 gubernatorial appointees and five student members with one student trustee elected from each campus.

October 10, 2003

HEALEY CELEBRATES RECONSTRUCTED GLOUCESTER SEAWALLS

Deteriorating and contaminated Cripple Cove and Stacy Blvd get needed facelift

GLOUCESTER – Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today joined local and state officials at the Benjamin Smith Park-Cripple Cove Public Landing to celebrate the completion of Cripple Cove and Stacy Boulevard seawall reconstruction projects.

"Reconstructing these seawalls provides Gloucester's maritime community with the foundation for a thriving harbor," said Healey. "Governor Mitt Romney and I recognize the importance of commercial fishermen and maritime businesses to the economic health of our great state. We will continue our commitment to sustain one of Massachusetts most vital industries."

Healey said that with the reconstruction, the previously collapsed section of the Stacy Boulevard seawall along Blynman Canal will soundly handle the harbor's busy traffic. The work on the Cripple Cove seawall included removing lightly contaminated sediment from the adjacent Benjamin-Smith Park that hosts a playground. The project also built a careening facility for use by recreational and commercial fishing boats for bottom maintenance and repairs.

"We are very pleased to officially announce the reopening of Benjamin Smith Park and the completion of Cripple Cove and Blynman Canal seawall reconstruction," said Gloucester Mayor John Bell. "We thank the Romney/Healey Administration for their support and look forward to a long standing partnership with the Commonwealth as we continue to revitalize our waterfront assets for an improved quality of life for all Gloucester citizens."

Today's celebration is part of a larger project to restore four seawalls in Gloucester Harbor, all which promise to support the commercial fishing industry and to prepare the harbor for much needed dredging. The four seawalls include Robinson's Landing, Cripple Cove and Stacy Boulevard, which are all complete, as well as Fort Square, which is currently under construction. The Romney/Healey Administration contributed $2.2 million from the Seaport Advisory Council to the seawall reconstruction projects.

To date the Seaport Advisory Council has invested over $52 million in capital improvement projects for Massachusetts' vital port and harbor assets.

"The completion of the seawall projects marks a significant step toward the Seaport Council's goal to revitalize the state's port assets," said Executive Secretary of the Seaport Council, Richard Armstrong. "Under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Healey, the Council will continue its aggressive strategy to preserve, restore and improve the Commonwealth's landside infrastructure to equip Massachusetts' maritime industries with state-of-the-art port facilities needed to be competitive in today's marketplace."


October 14, 2003

ROMNEY APPOINTS JUDGE DAHER TO CHAIR ETHICS COMMISSION

Former Chief Housing Court Justice will lead agency with integrity

Praising his integrity and reputation as a "straight shooter," Governor Mitt Romney today swore in George Daher, the former Chief Justice of the Housing Court, as the new Chairman of the State Ethics Commission.

"In his more than 30 years of service to the Commonwealth both by leadership and by example, Judge Daher has compiled a track record of unblemished integrity and unflinching dedication to the values of honest and ethical government," Mitt Romney said.

He added, "Judge Daher's courage, his willingness to stand up and speak out about injustice, to cross the political power structure and to take on the insiders make him the best possible choice for this important position."

The State Ethics Commission, established in 1978, is charged with enforcing the Commonwealth's conflict of interest laws. The agency also provides free legal advice, education and other information regarding the state's conflict of interest and financial disclosure laws.

As Chief Justice of the Housing Court from 1978 to 2002, Daher was a tenacious fighter for fairness and equality, consistently raising expectations for government service in the Bay State and working diligently to improve confidence in our public institutions. Daher also served as a judge in the Boston Housing Court, culminating his career with the city as Chief Justice of that court. Before being named to the bench, Daher was a trial lawyer for 13 years.

Recently, Judge Daher served as the hearing officer in the disciplinary case against Superior Court Judge Maria Lopez. Daher was universally praised for his thoughtful and well-reasoned decision in that case.

"Public service is a privilege and an honor and can never countenance any breach of trust or integrity," said Daher. "The public trust in elected officials and public employees is mandatory if we are to survive as a society. I am honored to serve as Chairman of the Ethics Commission and look forward to working with the other Commission members."

"The State Ethics Commission is charged with the important task of ensuring that our public officials and employees live up to the highest ethical stands," said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. "Under Judge Daher's leadership, the agency will fulfill its dual mission of education and enforcement, I can't think of a better person for the job."

The State Ethics Commission consists of five members appointed to staggered, five-year terms. The Governor appoints three of the commission members with the Secretary of State and Attorney General each appointing one member.

Daher, a graduate of Suffolk University Law School, resides with his wife in Westwood.

October 17, 2003

ROMNEY HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF TRAINING WORKERS

63 Massachusetts Companies Win $4.6M in Workforce Training Fund Grant Awards

MIDDLEBORO – Governor Mitt Romney today met with workers in Southeastern Massachusetts to call for more skills training for the Commonwealth's workforce. In his economic development bill, Mitt Romney proposed restoring the full appropriation for the Workforce Training Fund, which was reduced earlier this year.

In calling for full funding of this program, Mitt Romney released $4.6 million in Workforce Training Fund grants to help 63 Massachusetts companies statewide upgrade the skills of their workers.

Each year, employers pay $8.10 per employee into the Workforce Training Fund for a total of about $21 million. The funds are awarded to companies in the form of grants to provide workforce training for employees. Legislative action has led to reduction in the fund's appropriation to $8.5 million for this fiscal year. Romney's bill proposes using the full $21 million for its intended purpose – to train workers, which will promote job growth, increase job retention and improve organizational productivity and competitiveness.

"Businesses start up and find a home in Massachusetts because of the opportunities our Commonwealth provides to workers and employers," Mitt Romney said. "Our highly skilled workforce is one of our most competitive advantages and in order to maintain this workforce, we must continue to invest in our workers."

As part of the $4.6 million awarded today, Mitt Romney announced a $250,000 grant for Ocean Spray Cranberries, Incorporated. The funds will be used to staff a state-of-the-art production line, which will result in 43 new jobs for the Commonwealth. The cranberry producer is one of 63 businesses across the Commonwealth who will receive state Workforce Training Fund grants.

"When you think of cranberries, you think of Ocean Spray," said Romney. "With this grant, workers will be trained to help the company continue to make high-quality cranberry products faster and more cost effectively. And more jobs will come to Southeastern Massachusetts."

"The state's Workforce Training Fund grant helps seed the $18.5 million investment we've made in installing a new production line for our Craisins® sweetened dried cranberry business," said Ocean Spray President & CEO Randy Papadellis. "We're proud of our 74-year history in Massachusetts, and with the state's support, our presence here is growing."

Administered by the state's Division of Employment and Training, the Workforce Training Fund provides businesses with matching grants to provide job-related training to incumbent employees. Since its launch five years ago, the fund has awarded more than $73 million to 1,151 companies to train more than 111,000 employees.

For information on the Workforce Training Fund, and to view a complete listing of awards by region, please visit www.mass.gov/det/workforce.


October 20, 2003

ROMNEY WORKS FOR RESURGENCE OF MASSACHUSETTS ECONOMY

Pushes proposal to provide tax rebates to companies that create manufacturing jobs

WORCESTER – Bringing his campaign to create more jobs to Central Massachusetts, Governor Mitt Romney today highlighted his proposal to provide tax rebates to companies that create new manufacturing jobs in the biotechnology, life sciences and medical device industries.

"We want to encourage companies that create and develop their ideas in our Commonwealth to stay and manufacture their products here," Mitt Romney said after touring the Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives Incubator Park.

He added, "My proposal, which is part of the jobs bill I filed, will help businesses expand and give them incentives to stay right here in Massachusetts as they move from the lab to the factory floor."

Romney's economic development bill provides companies in the biotechnology, life sciences and medical device industries with a tax rebate for each new manufacturing job. Romney's proposal will provide eligible companies with 50 percent of the state income tax they pay for 10 or more new employees.

Romney noted that many R&D firms are attracted to the Bay State for our dense concentration of research universities and skilled workforce. But once they have a product developed, they move out of state or out of the country to manufacture it because costs are lower.

"Massachusetts is the premier state in the world as far as knowledge,
expertise and infrastructure for the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industry," said Steve Parkinson, President and CEO of Worcester-based CereMedix, Inc. "That is why CereMedix is based here."

He added, "We are now embarking on the search for the best location for our planned manufacturing operation and are looking at many states and countries that are offering significant incentives. The Governor's initiative to attract manufacturing to locate in Massachusetts helps enormously. We are based here so we would rather stay in our own backyard to manufacture provided the option is made competitive."

"If you create a product here, I want you to make that product here," Mitt Romney said.

"I applaud the Governor's support of the biotech industry and the good jobs that our companies in Worcester are creating everyday," said Kevin O'Sullivan, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives, a business development venture that assists start-up biomedical and biotech companies. "The tax rebate will help convince many of the companies that get their start here at the incubator to stay and manufacture their products in Massachusetts."

Romney urged the Legislature to take action on his jobs creation bill quickly so that companies can begin creating more jobs with the use of the tax rebate and other incentives to help get the Bay State economy going again.

October 21, 2003

ROMNEY INVESTS $19.3 MILLION IN LIBRARIES STATEWIDE

Capital budget allocates funds for 32 ongoing and new library projects

Governor Mitt Romney today announced $19.3 million to fund 32 new and ongoing library projects throughout the Commonwealth. Mitt Romney made the announcement at an event promoting literacy.

"Massachusetts has a long and proud tradition of supporting education and investing in our people," said Romney. "Lieutenant Governor Healey and I are committed to ensuring that our libraries continue to be state-of-the-art resources for all of our citizens."

The $19.3 million for the Public Library Construction Program comes out of the $1.278 billion capital budget for Fiscal Year 2004.

The Public Library Construction Program, created in 1990, provides grants to communities to help fund construction of new library buildings, additions, renovations and special projects.

Cities and towns are eligible for these funds only once every 20 years and the Board of Library Commissioners must approve all awards. The state reimburses towns between 20 and 60 percent of construction costs on approved projects (60 percent of the first $1.2 million in costs, 40 percent of costs between $1.2 million and $3.0 million, 30 percent of costs between $3 million and $6 million and 20 percent of costs over $6 million).

Romney added, "There is no denying the power that literacy unlocks in each individual. When we invest in your libraries, we are investing in our future."

Public Library Construction Program Recipients

CITY/TOWN FY04


Ongoing Projects

Blackstone $767,472

Brockton $310,116

Canton $258,557

Chicopee $1,111,737

Dracut $747,074

East Longmeadow $147,318

Easton $1,377,358

Gardner $1,034,417

Lakeville $507,747

Lenox $53,104

Lexington $301,155

Maynard $173,421

Merrimac $502,122

Norfolk $1,228,931

North Adams $507,411

Palmer $665,520

Provincetown $751,382

Rowley $517,156

Springfield $136,724

Sunderland $431,710

Wellesley $57,098

Williamsburg $59,042


New Projects – Approved

Ashland $606,083

Boylston $493,842

Leominster $906,432

Lunenburg $534,769

Watertown $1,783,444


Pending New Projects -- Waiting for town action*

Ashby $421,235

Berlin $482,146

Mendon-Upton $1,428,903

Orange $516,196

Rochester $517,474


Total $19.3 Million

October 22, 2003

ROMNEY PRESENTS INNER CITY INVESTMENT, ENTREPRENEURIAL AWARDS

Honors Boston-based electrical firm and a creative Randolph snack company

A Boston electrical construction and maintenance firm and a Randolph snack company were honored today by Governor Mitt Romney.

Romney presented the Governor's Entrepreneurial Spirit Award to the President and Co-Founder of Stacy's Pita Chips, Stacy Madison. The Governor's Inner City Investment Award went to the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of City Lights Electrical, Maryanne Cataldo.

Both awards, which are presented monthly, are part of Romney's "Jobs First" initiative. The Entrepreneurial Spirit Award recognizes individuals who best demonstrate the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the Massachusetts economy and who inspire others to turn their ideas into action. The Inner City Investment Award honors the dedication and hard work of men and women who contribute to the revitalization of the Commonwealth's cities through business investment and job creation.

"These awards recognize the tremendous talent, ambition and hard work that forge a stronger and more dynamic economy," said Romney. "The business leaders we honor today show us that perseverance and determination turn dreams into success stories."

Stacy's Pita Chips is a healthy snack food company that grew out of a strategy to keep hungry office workers happy while waiting in line at a sandwich cart located in Downtown Crossing in Boston and operated by Stacy Madison and Mark Andrus. The lines at the cart grew longer each day and, to show their appreciation to their waiting customers, Stacy and Mark would serve homemade pita chips. The free pita chips were an instant sensation.

Customers encouraged Stacy and Mark to start selling the chips to stores and Stacy's Pita Chips was born. The duo opened a 500-square foot production facility in the Sam Adams Brewery in Jamaica Plain, which they quickly outgrew, and in 2000 moved to a 50,000-square foot facility in Randolph. Today, Stacy's Pita Chips are sold in 35 states and the company employs 85 people.

"The state of Massachusetts has always been supportive as we've grown this company," said Madison. "Its colleges, universities, banks and government funding have all been part of helping us grow and expand. Plus it's our home!"

The Inner City Investment Award recipient, City Lights of Boston, is a high-growth, full-service electrical construction and maintenance firm specializing in commercial, industrial, and institutional projects. City Lights was founded in 1989 by Maryanne Cataldo, a master electrician with 20 years of construction management and field experience.

Cataldo's philosophy is to combine education with experience to forge a strong team. City Lights employees 200 workers and grew from revenues of $250,000 in Fiscal Year 1989 to $48 million in Fiscal Year 2003.

In 2002, City Lights was awarded a contract to upgrade baggage handling security at Logan Airport. They have also completed projects for State Street Bank, CitiStreet, Harvard University, Omni Parker House, Hale and Dorr Law Offices and Batterymarch Park. Last year, City Lights ranked 85th nationally in the Inc. Magazine InnerCity 100, and Maryanne Cataldo was the Massachusetts Small business Association Entrepreneurial Success Award winner for 2003.

"Through City Lights Electrical Company, I am pleased to be able to give back to the next generation in the community the opportunity that was given to me," said Cataldo. "We have now expanded to other states and have a high tech subsidiary, Intelligent Systems. However, our base will always be Boston, Massachusetts."


October 23, 2003

HEALEY KICKS OFF ENERGY AWARENESS MONTH

Provides tips to consumers to help them save money and energy this winter

MAYNARD – As part of Energy Awareness Month, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today visited the home of Mark Price to provide consumers with helpful tips on how to winterize their homes in order to save money and energy.

"With winter just around the corner, I encourage every resident in Commonwealth to fully explore the different ways to cut back on energy costs and consumption this winter," said Healey. "Not only will individual families benefit, Massachusetts as a whole will come out ahead as well."

Healey noted that approximately 40 percent of homes in Massachusetts are heated with oil. She said last winter's oil prices were 51 percent higher than the previous year and that energy experts expect this year's prices to be similar. Healey warned that a cold winter could push oil prices even higher.

She said, "Massachusetts residents don't have control over the price of heating fuel, but there are measures all residents can take to reduce their heating bills while reducing their energy usage."

Healey urged consumers to look at the following ways to save energy and money this winter:

Thermostats

Lower thermostat settings to 65°- 68° or less during high use periods and to 50°- 60° during sleeping and unoccupied periods. Experiment with degree settings and make the changes gradually to ensure comfort with the new temperatures.

Be sure thermostats are accurately calibrated to register correct room temperatures.

Install automatic setback thermostats that adjust the heat throughout the day.
Windows and Doors

Repair broken or cracked glass and putty older windows; check to see that windows close properly and window locks pull sashes together.
Make sure doors close properly; repair or replace non-working doorknobs, latches and striker plates.
Weather-strip windows, doors and attic accesses; caulk the frames around windows and doors from the inside using a clear, pliable caulk.
Replace standard curtains with insulated or quilted window coverings.
Install exterior storm windows, including cellar storm windows. For windows that are rarely opened, consider installing interior storm windows.
Draft Protection

Make sure fireplaces are fitted with a tight sealing damper that is closed when the fireplace is not in use. If a fireplace is used infrequently, use a chimney block to eliminate heat loss.
Caulk or stuff foundation cracks and openings. Make sure kitchen and bathroom vent dampers close properly.
Insulate attics (especially attics with less than seven inches of insulation), walls, and flooring over unheated crawl spaces or cellars.
Insulate heating ducts and pipes. Seal duct seams with appropriate tape or sealant specially designed for this purpose.
Heating Systems

Tune and clean oil-heating systems every year; tune gas-heating systems every two to three years.
For hot air heating systems, check the air filter monthly; clean or replace the filter if dirty. For hot water or steam heating systems, fix any leaks in the distribution system; replace malfunctioning air vents on distribution lines where necessary.
If replacing a present oil or gas heating system, consider purchasing a high efficiency unit with an Annual Fuel Use Efficiency Rating of 85 percent or more. Make sure the heating system is properly "sized" for the home; many systems are too large for the space being heated and the result is a considerable waste of energy.
Hot Water Savings

Install low flow showerheads and faucet aerators to save energy and water.
Reduce hot water heater temperature to 120°.
Repair leaking hot water faucets, tanks and pipes.
Lighting and Appliances: Check with Utility for Available Rebates

Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent lights. Over its lifetime, a fluorescent bulb will between $30 and $50.
Replace large appliances with an energy star appliance; there are often rebates from local utility companies available.
"You'd be surprised at the little things you can do at home or work that can have a dramatic impact on your well-being and energy costs," said Beth Lindstrom, Director of Consumer Affairs. "Simply moving furniture that obstructs air ducts or radiators can dramatically improve the flow of heat in a room."

"Last winter, consumers were hit hard by fuel prices and the outlook for this year isn't any more promising," said David O'Connor, Commissioner of Energy Resources. "Saving energy is an important way to help prevent large energy bills and these tips provide consumers with a first step toward managing their energy consumption."

For additional energy savings, Healey recommended that residential customers take advantage of the statewide Massachusetts Home Energy Service by calling its toll-free number 1-866-527-SAVE (7283).

Massachusetts Home Energy Service covers the ratepayer funded energy efficiency programs from the gas and electric utilities. Heating oil customers may be eligible for some heating programs through their electric companies. The program includes incentives for such energy efficiency measures as insulation, lighting, and appliances.

For more information on the tips offered here as well as energy price information, visit the Division of Energy Resources website at www.mass.gov/doer.


October 29, 2003

ROMNEY TAPS GROGAN TO HEAD EDUCATION TASK FORCE

Task force to tackle the challenge of improving troubled schools

Governor Mitt Romney today announced the formation of an education task force to devise intervention strategies to turn around the state's underperforming school districts as part of the next stage of education reform in Massachusetts.

The task force will be chaired by Paul Grogan, President of the Boston Foundation, and comprised of 14 members representing legislators, educators and community leaders.

"We need to get our underperforming school districts back on track," Mitt Romney said. "It is time for the interests of the entrenched educational bureaucracy to take a back seat to the interests of our children and teachers."

Romney charged the task force with coming up with reforms for the school districts the Board of Education labels as underperforming. He asked them to consider several ideas for these districts, including giving principals greater leeway to hire and fire teachers; full-day kindergarten for children whose parents take a parental preparation course; merit pay for excellent teachers and those willing to work in underprivileged urban areas; and removing students with severe discipline problems from regular classrooms.

Grogan is well known for helping to establish the Adult Literacy Initiative and the Boston Compact, a partnership between Boston's corporate community and the public schools designed to help students stay in school and secure good jobs.

"I am honored to accept Governor Romney's request to chair this task force, which is made up of a number of outstanding leaders," said Grogan. "I look forward to advising the Governor on the next critical steps to make sure our schools are meeting the needs of students and their families."

The task force will hold their first meeting in mid-November and report back to Mitt Romney by the end of the year with their recommendations.


October 30, 2003

ROMNEY WORKS FOR RESURGENCE OF MASSACHUSETTS ECONOMY

Pushes proposal to provide tax rebates to companies that create manufacturing jobs

ANDOVER – Bringing the Romney/Healey administration's campaign to create more jobs to the Merrimack Valley, Governor Mitt Romney today highlighted a proposal to provide tax rebates to companies that create new manufacturing jobs in the biotechnology, life sciences and medical device industries.

"We want companies that develop their products in Massachusetts to manufacture them in Massachusetts," Mitt Romney said, after a tour of Wyeth BioPharma , one of the largest biopharmaceutical operations in Massachusetts.

He added, "My plan, which is part of the economic development bill I filed, will help businesses grow and give them incentives to stay in our Commonwealth as they move from the lab to the factory floor. My administration is committed to helping companies like Wyeth reach their full potential."

Romney's economic development bill provides tax rebates to companies in the life sciences, biotechnology and medical device industries that create 10 or more manufacturing jobs. Under the plan, eligible companies will receive 50 percent of the state income tax they pay for the new employees.

Romney noted that many R&D firms are attracted to the Bay State for our dense concentration of research universities and skilled workforce. But once they have a product developed, they move out of state or the country to manufacture it because costs are lower.

"We applaud Governor Mitt Romney for his focus on job creation and reducing barriers for business – especially for biotechnology companies that face such high risk in getting our products to market and into the hands of patients who need them," said Chris Perley, Managing Director of Wyeth BioPharma in Andover. "The tax rebate that Governor Mitt Romney has proposed in his 'Jobs First' bill is exactly the type of incentive that global companies like Wyeth need in order to focus and maintain jobs in Massachusetts."

Romney urged the Legislature to take action on a job creation bill quickly so that companies can begin creating more jobs with the use of the tax rebate and other incentives to help get the Bay State economy going again.

October 31, 2003

ROMNEY SIGNS BILL TO RESTORE INLAND FISH AND GAME FUND

New law will keep federal aid flowing to Bay State wildlife efforts

In a move that will preserve more than $4 million in federal matching funds, Governor Mitt Romney today signed into law a measure to restore the Inland Fish and Game Fund, a sportsmen- and women-funded account that helps fund the state's wildlife restoration and maintenance efforts.

"The future of wildlife funding in Massachusetts is secure with the signing of this bill into law," said Romney. "These funds will continue to benefit all Massachusetts citizens as we work to promote strong environmental stewardship and recreation."

This year's budget eliminated the Inland Fish and Game Fund as a dedicated fund. After learning that this change could jeopardize federal funding for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Mitt Romney filed legislation to restore the fund.

"I would like to thank Governor Mitt Romney and the Legislature for taking this action to preserve the Inland Fish and Game Fund and assure the continuation of the management and conservation of the Commonwealth's wildlife and fisheries resources," said George Darey, Chairman of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board.

The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has historically received about 90 percent of its operating budget from the Inland Fish and Game Fund. This funding has contributed to the conservation and management of the state's wild plant and animal heritage, which were at a dangerously low level a century ago. Today, the state's deer population exceeds 80,000, black bear number almost 2,000, the wild turkey has been restored and the bald eagle has returned from the brink of extinction. In 2002, the state returned 300,000 shad to the Commonwealth's rivers and stocked 500,000 trout.

November 5, 2003

ROMNEY APPOINTS HOOLEY AND HURLEY TO PAROLE BOARD

Governor Mitt Romney today named Joyce Hooley and Tina Hurley to the Massachusetts Parole Board.

Today's appointments are Romney's first to the seven-member Parole Board, which determines if an inmate should be released early and what the conditions of that release will be. The Board also acts as the Advisory Board of Pardons, which makes recommendations to the Governor on pardons and commutations.

The Governor's Council must approve Romney's appointments to the board. Once approved members serve for a five-year term.

Joyce Hooley of Duxbury was reappointed to the board. Prior to joining the board she served in various positions at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility from 1995 to 2002. Hooley was a Parole Board member from October 1986 to July 1995 and was interim chairman of the Parole Board from September 1992 to January 1993. Previously she served as Pardon Coordinator at the Parole Board for six years.

Hooley earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts and is a certified trained mediator and rape counselor.

Tina Hurley of Cohasset has served as Director of Transitional Services since 2001 for the Parole Board. She previously was the Director of Special Projects for the Department of Youth Services. Hurley also served the Parole Board for more than 10 years in various positions.

Hurley holds a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts and a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University.

November 6, 2003

ROMNEY APPOINTS LINDSTROM TO STATE LOTTERY COMMISSION

Consumer Affairs Director Named to Five-Person Lottery Commission

Governor Mitt Romney today named Consumer Affairs Director Beth Lindstrom to the five-member Massachusetts Lottery Commission, which oversees and approves the Lottery's types and prices of games, the prize structure of games, the methods of prize payment and the licensing of agents.

"As Director of Consumer Affairs, Beth Lindstrom has been instrumental in protecting the rights of consumers while balancing the needs of business so that our economy can prosper," Mitt Romney said.

He added, "Her experience as a consumer advocate combined with her former role as Executive Director of the Lottery make Beth the perfect addition to the Commission."

In December 2002, Lindstrom was appointed by Mitt Romney to head the Office of Consumer Affairs and business Regulation. She worked at the State Lottery from 1992 to 1999 in several capacities including Executive Director and Chief of Staff. During her tenure, the Lottery saw tremendous revenue growth and introduced new products and innovation.

The Massachusetts State Lottery was established by the Legislature in 1971 in response to the need for revenues for the 351 cities and towns of the Commonwealth. To provide an operating structure for the Lottery, the Legislature established a five-member commission chaired by the Treasurer and comprised of the Secretary of Public Safety, the State Comptroller and two gubernatorial appointees.

In addition to Lindstrom, members of the Commission include: Treasurer Timothy Cahill, Public Safety Secretary Ed Flynn, State Comptroller Martin Benison and Janice Saragoni, who was appointed by the Governor earlier this year.

Lindstrom holds an MBA from Northeastern University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut. She and her family reside in Groton.

November 7, 2003

HEALEY ANNOUNCES UPGRADES AT SOLDIERS' HOMES

HOLYOKE – Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today announced that the Mitt Romney Administration will invest $28 million in capital funds to upgrade the Holyoke and Chelsea Soldiers' Homes.

"Governor Mitt Romney and I pledge to be there for our veterans who were there for us when our nation needed them," said Healey. "Their health, welfare and comfort remain a priority for the Mitt Romney Administration."

The funds will pay for air conditioning for both the Holyoke Soldiers Home and Quigley Memorial Hospital, which is part of the Chelsea Soldiers Home. Only fans and window units have been used to cool both facilities since they were built more than 50 years ago.

In the $17.2 million Holyoke project, other major renovations include the expansion of the outpatient clinic, which serves more than 4,500 veterans, a new kitchen that has not been modernized since the facility was constructed in 1952 and asbestos removal. In addition, 16-bed wards will be modernized to accommodate three patients per room.

"Even while struggling with the fiscal crisis, we have prioritized our veterans," said Healey.

"I am pleased the Romney-Healey Administration has authorized funding for this significant quality of life project at the Soldiers Home in Holyoke," said Senator Michael Knapik. "Together with the Legislature, they are showing their support and commitment to our state's veterans."

In addition to the air conditioning, a sprinkler system will be installed in Chelsea for its 189 long-term care patients, and the roof will be replaced on the dormitory that houses 99 veterans per night. The Chelsea complex was built in 1948.

Construction, which is expected to start in the spring, will take two years to complete.


November 12, 2003

ROMNEY SIGNS LAW TO EXPAND STATE DNA DATABASE

SUDBURY – Declaring that "the long arm of the law just got a little longer," Governor Mitt Romney today visited the State Police crime Lab to sign legislation requiring all convicted felons to provide DNA samples to the state's database.

"I want to make sure that our law enforcement officials have the best possible tools at their disposal to do their jobs and keep our neighborhoods safe," Mitt Romney said. "The state's DNA database is one of the most important tools they have."

The new law requires every convicted felon in the Bay State, including those now incarcerated or on parole, to provide a DNA sample to the state database. The prior law only required felons convicted of 33 sex-related and violent crimes to submit such samples. Studies indicate that by the time a defendant is convicted of one of these designated offenses, he or she has already committed 34 other crimes on average.

The current database has approximately 20,000 samples. With the expanded law, the number is expected to grow to 100,000 in just a few years.

Romney said 28 other states have similar laws in place, helping law enforcement officers compare crime scene evidence against DNA samples for known offenders. Virginia's all-felon DNA database has resulted in 1,100 "cold hits." Only 15 percent of those cases would have been solved if the Virginia database had been limited to violent offenses.

"DNA evidence can help get dangerous criminals off the street sooner rather than later," said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, a criminologist. "It saves lives and protects innocent, law-abiding citizens."

The new law also extends the time period for an offender to submit the DNA sample from 90 days to one year from the date of conviction, preventing criminals from slipping through legal or administrative loopholes.

Romney and Healey were joined at the bill signing ceremony by John and Magi Bish of Warren, whose daughter, Molly, was murdered in June 2000. Her killer has never been identified and the Bishes lobbied lawmakers to expand the DNA database to make it easier to track down criminals.

"Our family has been personally touched by this issue," said John Bish. "The tragic loss of our daughter Molly has taught us about the importance of DNA testing. It is our hope that the expansion of the state DNA database will lead to the increased conviction of serious offenders and spare families from the unexpected and unexplained loss of a loved one."

"As a former criminal prosecutor, I feel strongly that we should provide our law enforcement officials with the tools they need to solve crimes and get criminals off the street," said state Senator Cheryl Jacques. "This new law will send a clear signal to criminals – that you can run, but you can't hide."

"The expanded DNA database will allow law enforcement to track down repeat offenders and lock them up," said state Representative Reed Hillman, former Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. "I applaud the Governor and Lieutenant Governor for their support of this important law that will help keep our cities and towns safer."


November 14, 2003

ROMNEY PROCLAIMS SUPPORT OF THE GUARD AND RESERVE WEEK

President and 50 Governors Sign Proclamation to Honor Guard and Reserve

Joining President George W. Bush and the nation's 50 governors in honoring our servicemen and women, Governor Mitt Romney today proclaimed the coming week "Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week."

"Through their service, National Guard and Reservists play an important role in our efforts to advance democracy, peace and freedom across our nation and around the world," said Romney. "This week, we ask employers to recognize their sacrifice and commitment."

To mark this week, companies are encouraged to provide individual statements of support for the National Guard and Reserve, adapt human resources policies to be flexible to individuals serving in the military and consider salary differentials and continuation of benefits for those employees called away to military duty. Companies such as Home Depot, Verizon Communications, and Clear Channel Airports have already donated goods and services to demonstrate their support for servicemen and women and their families.

As the Commonwealth's largest employer, state government should also help those employees who have been called to active duty, Mitt Romney said. He urged the Legislature to pass a proposal that provides state employees on unpaid military leave lost pay and said he looked forward to signing it into law.

"Families across Massachusetts are making sacrifices by having their loved ones away on military duty," Mitt Romney said. "We don't want them to worry also about paying their bills. This extra help will help ease that burden for state employees."

During the ceremony, Reverend David Mahn, State Chair of the Massachusetts Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves, gave the "Above and Beyond" Award to Colonel Thomas J. Foley, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, for the support the State Police have given to the Guard and Reservists mobilized to active duty at home and abroad.

"The National Guard began here in Massachusetts and it is wonderful to have the support of the Governor continue the tradition of support that began here more than 350 ago," said Mahn.

Present at the ceremony were the 182nd Infantry, 181st Infantry, and the 101 Engineers, which are the oldest units in the United States formed in 1663.


November 17, 2003

ROMNEY PRESENTS INNER CITY, ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT AWARDS

Honors art and technology company and Lowell environmental business

An art and technology company based in the Berkshires that produces custom models for medicine and a Lowell environmental company were honored today by Governor Mitt Romney.

Romney presented the Governor's Entrepreneurial Spirit Award to the Chamberlain Group's co-founders, Lisa and Eric Chamberlain, and the Governor's Inner City Investment Award to Mill City Environmental Corporation President Brian Chapman.

Both awards, which are presented monthly, are part of Romney's "Jobs First" initiative. The Entrepreneurial Spirit Award recognizes individuals who best demonstrate the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the Massachusetts economy and who inspire others to turn their ideas into action. The Inner City Investment Award honors the dedication and hard work of men and women who contribute to the revitalization of the Commonwealth's cities through business investment and job creation.

"These awards recognize the tremendous talent, ambition and hard work that drive new and growing businesses in Massachusetts," said Romney. "The leaders we recognize today demonstrate excellence in entrepreneurship and help create new jobs and economic vitality for the communities they serve."

The Chamberlain Group, based in Great Barrington, is an art and technology company that creates soft, anatomically-accurate organ and tissue models. These models set an unsurpassed standard in medical training, providing a new means for device manufacturers, teaching institutions and practitioners to educate and train procedures and techniques.

Working closely with their clients to define their individual needs, the Chamberlain Group creates custom models with superior visual and experiential realism, capturing the consistency, response, and movement of living tissue. Among their clients are Boston Scientific, Genzyme, Yale Medical School, Beth Israel Hospital (NY) and the Cleveland Clinic.

"Eric and I believe entrepreneurship and quality of life go hand in hand," said Lisa Chamberlain. "Massachusetts and Great Barrington give us both. We are near our clients and a talented workforce, and we live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. There's no better place."

The Inner City Investment Award recipient, Mill City Environmental Corporation, is a waste management and remediation firm. Located in historic Boott Mill in Lowell, Mill City Environmental handles a wide spectrum of environmental services, from site remediation and testing, to management of hazardous and non hazardous waste materials, to site restoration activities that rejuvenate land and buildings for new uses.

As a native of Lowell, President Brian Chapman wanted to give back to the city where he was raised.

"We feel the business climate here in Lowell is one of growth and opportunity, and not just for the high tech startups," said Chapman. "It's conducive to small businesses, and it's also a good climate for us because the environmental industry is pushed by two things – building construction and clean-up projects. There's a lot of both in the area."


November 18, 2003

ROMNEY ARGUES FOR NO DELAYS IN WEB POSTING OF SEX OFFENDERS

Says Barrios amendment "ties the hands" of law enforcement

Governor Mitt Romney today called on members of the legislative conference committee currently considering the supplemental budget bill to reject the amendment that unnecessarily delays the posting of information on the Internet on the state's most dangerous sex offenders.

"This potential delay in giving the public wider access to photographs of our state's worst sex offenders is counterproductive," Mitt Romney said. "It ties the hands of law enforcement at a time when we should be working together to give the public the information they need to protect themselves."

Both the House and Senate adopted amendments to the supplemental budget bill permitting Internet posting of sex offender information. But Senate language, sponsored by state Senator Jarrett Barrios, would prohibit Internet dissemination until the Sex Offender Registry Board classifies all known offenders, a process that will not be completed until spring.

"Governor Mitt Romney and I applaud House and Senate members for passing this critical public safety measure," said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. "But we shouldn't have to take two steps backward in order to take a step forward. The conferees should reject the Barrios amendment."

Said Public Safety Secretary Ed Flynn: "I strongly urge the Legislature to pass this bill without the Senate amendment and give the Sex Offender Registry Board the tools it needs to fulfill its core mission."

Romney noted that 35 other states and several of the Commonwealth's local police departments already post sex offenders images on their Web sites.

More than five months ago, Mitt Romney filed legislation to post Level 3 sex offenders' information on the Internet in the wake of a Superior Court order that prevented the Administration from moving forward with the initiative without explicit statutory authority.

There are currently 647 classified Level 3 sex offenders in the Sex Offender Registry's database that are ready to be posted on the Internet. Only detailed information on Level 3 high-risk sex offenders will be put on the Web. The public will be able to view offender's photo, name, home and work address, the charges the sex offender has been convicted of and a physical description.

November 18, 2003

ROMNEY ARGUES FOR NO DELAYS IN WEB POSTING OF SEX OFFENDERS

Says Barrios amendment "ties the hands" of law enforcement

Governor Mitt Romney today called on members of the legislative conference committee currently considering the supplemental budget bill to reject the amendment that unnecessarily delays the posting of information on the Internet on the state's most dangerous sex offenders.

"This potential delay in giving the public wider access to photographs of our state's worst sex offenders is counterproductive," Mitt Romney said. "It ties the hands of law enforcement at a time when we should be working together to give the public the information they need to protect themselves."

Both the House and Senate adopted amendments to the supplemental budget bill permitting Internet posting of sex offender information. But Senate language, sponsored by state Senator Jarrett Barrios, would prohibit Internet dissemination until the Sex Offender Registry Board classifies all known offenders, a process that will not be completed until spring.

"Governor Mitt Romney and I applaud House and Senate members for passing this critical public safety measure," said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. "But we shouldn't have to take two steps backward in order to take a step forward. The conferees should reject the Barrios amendment."

Said Public Safety Secretary Ed Flynn: "I strongly urge the Legislature to pass this bill without the Senate amendment and give the Sex Offender Registry Board the tools it needs to fulfill its core mission."

Romney noted that 35 other states and several of the Commonwealth's local police departments already post sex offenders images on their Web sites.

More than five months ago, Mitt Romney filed legislation to post Level 3 sex offenders' information on the Internet in the wake of a Superior Court order that prevented the Administration from moving forward with the initiative without explicit statutory authority.

There are currently 647 classified Level 3 sex offenders in the Sex Offender Registry's database that are ready to be posted on the Internet. Only detailed information on Level 3 high-risk sex offenders will be put on the Web. The public will be able to view offender's photo, name, home and work address, the charges the sex offender has been convicted of and a physical description.

November 19, 2003

ROMNEY APPOINTS CANDACE KOCHIN TO PAROLE BOARD

Governor Mitt Romney today named Candace Kochin of Conway to the Massachusetts Parole Board.

Today's appointment is Romney's fourth to the seven-member Parole Board, which determines if an inmate should be released early from incarceration and what the conditions of that release will be. The Board also acts as the Advisory Board of Pardons, which makes recommendations to the Governor on pardons and commutations.

The Governor's Council must approve Romney's appointments to the board. Once approved, members serve for a five-year term.

Since 1999, Kochin has served as the Assistant Deputy Superintendent for Treatment in the Hampshire County Sheriff's Office. Previously, she served as a Superior Court Probation officer in the Hampshire Superior Court Probation Department for 10 years. Kochin also served as a victim and witness assistant in the Northwestern District Attorney's office.

Kochin earned a bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

November 20, 2003

ROMNEY CREATES PERMANENT HOMELESSNESS & HOUSING COUNCIL

Pledges not to reduce spending for homeless services in Fiscal Year 2005 budget

Following the recommendation of the Commission for Homeless Services Coordination established last winter, Governor Mitt Romney today issued an Executive Order to create a permanent Interagency Council on Homelessness and Housing to focus on solving the problem of homelessness in the Bay State.

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey released the Governor's Executive Commission for Homeless Services Coordination report, "Housing the Homeless – A More Effective Approach." The commission, created last winter by Romney, recommended supporting the homeless community through better housing supports rather than the historic reliance on emergency shelters and hotels.

"In light of the commission's findings a new approach will be taken to tackle the state's homeless problem," said Healey, speaking at the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership. "Instead of focusing exclusively on ways to improve the existing emergency shelter system, the focus will be on shifting homeless families and individuals out of emergency shelters and into more stable, transitional housing."

The Commonwealth spends more than $250 million per year on homeless individuals and families through various state agencies. The three-month study by the Executive Commission For Homeless Services Coordination lays out both short-term and long-term strategies. The Commission also advanced a draft work plan for furthering its preliminary work.

Five major themes outlined in the report are:

* Establishment of an Interagency Council on Homelessness and Housing;
* The need to increase affordable housing for those with very low incomes;
* More focus on prevention;
* Better coordinated services; and
* Improved data collection, coordinating and reporting.
 

Healey will chair the interagency council, which will not only monitor the state's progress in reducing homelessness, but also develop and implement new initiatives. The council will also serve as a link for corporate, philanthropic and faith-based organizations with government.

President Bush's point person on homeless issues praised the creation of the council. "Today Massachusetts takes a big step forward in the right direction for all its homeless citizens by moving beyond managing homelessness to ending this disgrace," said Phil Mangano, Executive Director of United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Healey said that in the Mitt Romney Administration's Fiscal Year 2005 spending plan to be unveiled in January, there will be no reduction in funding for homeless services.

"Governor Mitt Romney and I fought to preserve full funding for homeless programs during this year's fiscal crisis," Healey said. "Now, for the second straight year, we will not be proposing any reduction in funding for homeless services in the administration's budget. We view assistance to the homeless as a core function of government that, to the extent possible, should not be compromised, even in bad fiscal times."

Approximately 1,600 families with children are in emergency shelters on any given night, with about one-third of them temporarily placed in hotels because of lack of shelter space. More than 3,000 people are in shelters for individuals, which have been operating beyond capacity since 1997.

The report notes that the housing market in metropolitan Boston is one of the most expensive in the nation with the vast majority of those exiting emergency shelter doing so into subsidized housing. The recently imposed federal limit on additional Section 8 housing subsidies for Massachusetts further limits options for the homeless.

"The work of the commission illustrates a realization that the state's historic focus solely on emergency shelter is an ineffective way to manage resources and services when people can't afford to extricate themselves from the shelter system," said Health and Human Services Secretary Ronald Preston.

The Commission also recommended allowing the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) to pilot within shelter funding alternative programming that provides time-limited subsidies for housing. It currently costs DTA an average of $3,000 per month to temporarily shelter a family.

"There will always be a need for temporary emergency shelter, but the real challenge is to prevent people from becoming homeless or to quickly move them towards permanent housing when they do become homeless," said DTA Commissioner John Wagner.

Among prevention measures recommended in the report include direct payment of rents and bills to landlords and utilities by DTA for welfare recipients who are in arrears in order to reduce the number of evictions. The coordination of services would also be improved through the establishment of an executive-level intensive case-management team to manage the services of the complex, chronically homeless cases and the development of ways to engage the homeless population in activities that will maximize their employment. Also, improved data collection suggested by the Commission will allow the state to better serve this vulnerable population while better managing programs and services across multiple state systems.

"With winter just around the corner, our administration wants to ensure that every man, woman and child in Massachusetts has easy access to a warm, safe location" said Healey. "Providing quality food and shelter for the homeless is not just a core function of government; it is a moral obligation we all share as human beings."

The entire report may be viewed on the Executive Commission for Homeless Services Coordination web site.


November 24, 2003

ROMNEY SIGNS SEX OFFENDER CHANGES INTO LAW

Sexual offenders to go on Internet, register prior to prison release

Saying he is committed to keeping families and their children safe, Governor Mitt Romney today announced that he will sign a section of the supplemental spending bill to publish the state's most dangerous sex offenders photos and addresses on the Internet.

Romney said he will also sign the section requiring offenders to register with the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) 48 hours prior to their release from prison. If the offender does not comply, he or she will not be released from prison. This provision will take effect immediately after the Governor signs the supplemental budget.

The Governor said he has made no other decisions regarding the supplemental budget, but that he will definitely sign the changes to the sex offender registry laws.

"Public safety is the single most important job of government," said Romney. "Once the photos of sex offenders are on the Internet individuals will have vital information necessary to protect their families at their finger tips. Families have the right to know if sexual predators are living or working in their neighborhoods."

Approximately 3,000 incarcerated sex offenders will be affected by the provision requiring sex offenders to register 48 hours prior to their release from jail.

"The old law allowed sex offenders to leave jail and not register with the SORB for two days, giving them a huge head start in avoiding their responsibility to register," said Public Safety Secretary Edward Flynn. "Now when offenders are released, the board and local police will know where the offenders are living and will be able to take necessary precautions."

Before photos of the state's worst sex offenders can be posted on the Internet, the court injunction currently prohibiting Internet dissemination must be lifted. Mitt Romney vowed to work hard to get the injunction dissolved as soon as possible.

"The sex offender registry is an important operational tool for police departments," said Edward Davis, Lowell Police Chief. "Last week at the school, we had an incident where we were able to identify the suspect as a sex offender. Without the SORB's assistance we would not have known with whom we were dealing with. The better tools law enforcement has, the safer our neighborhoods will get."

Romney noted that 35 other states and several of the Commonwealth's local police departments already post sex offenders images on their Web sites. There are currently 654 classified Level 3 sex offenders in the Sex Offender Registry's database that are ready to be posted on the Internet. Only detailed information on Level 3 high-risk sex offenders will be put on the Web. The public will be able to view offender's photo, name, home and work address, the charges the sex offender has been convicted of and a physical description.

"On behalf of families and children across the Commonwealth, I would like to thank Governor Mitt Romney and Lieutenant Governor Healey for their tireless work on this issue," said Senator Brian Lees. "The public has the right to know about dangerous sexual predators that reside in their communities and we must make the dissemination of this information a top priority."

"Sex offender legislation is a top priority to the Criminal Justice Committee and me," said Representative James Vallee. "Posting convicted sex offenders is a good first step to ensuring that the public is protected from dangerous sexual predators. I look forward to working with the Governor and Lieutenant. Governor to further improve the Sex Offender Registry Board."


December 25, 2003

ROMNEY ALLOWS UI BILL TO BECOME LAW WITHOUT SIGNATURE

Refiles legislation containing benefit reforms, pushes lawmakers to act

Saying he will continue to fight for reform, Governor Mitt Romney announced today he will allow a bill addressing the insolvency of the unemployment insurance system to become law without his signature. Mitt Romney also refiled legislation containing benefit changes to lessen the impact on employers.

Romney said the Legislature's bill includes a change to the experience rating schedule to more fairly distribute unemployment insurance costs and provide incentives to minimize job loss. It also puts in place provisions that will curb fraud by both employers and individuals.

"Even a baby step is better than no step," said Romney. "For that reason, I will allow this bill to become law without my signature, and go back to work on convincing the Legislature to adopt reforms that will lessen the impact on employers."

Based on the most up-to-date numbers from the United States Department of Labor, the cost to employers under the Legislature's plan is $1.411 billion, which is a $597 million increase over what they paid this year. To go to Schedule G, which would happen automatically on January 1, 2004 if nothing was done, the cost to employers would essentially be the same — $1.412 billion.

Citing a need to stay competitive, Mitt Romney said, "The Legislature has put the full burden on employers at a time when we should be encouraging job growth, not discouraging it."

Yesterday, Mitt Romney met with business leaders to solicit their feedback on this important legislation, including representatives from several chambers of commerce, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Massachusetts High Tech Council. According to Romney, the consensus among business leaders was to accept the Legislature's bill and continue to push for more reform.

Taking a more balanced approach to reforming the unemployment insurance system, Romney's refiled legislation proposes to:

Reduce the duration of time individuals can receive unemployment insurance benefits from 30 weeks to 26 weeks, putting Massachusetts on the same footing as all other 49 states;
Increase the amount of time an individual needs to be working to become eligible to receive benefits, from 15 to 20 weeks; and
Redefine the "average weekly wage" to a more reasonable standard by basing it on four quarters of earnings with the three highest quarters being double weighted.
Under these proposed provisions, Mitt Romney said Massachusetts will remain number one in the nation in benefits and nobody who is currently receiving benefits will experience a reduction in benefits.

"For the sake of our state's long term economic health, I ask the Legislature to make the enactment of these proposed changes one of their top priorities when they return in January," said Romney.


November 26, 2003

ROMNEY SIGNS ECONOMIC STIMULUS, SUPPLEMENTAL budget BILLS

Vetoes $80 million to reign in excess state spending

Governor Mitt Romney today signed into law the economic stimulus package and the supplemental spending bill. At the same time, Mitt Romney issued more than $80 million in vetoes, noting that the Commonwealth is facing a budget deficit of up to $2 billion in the coming fiscal year and must reign in excessive spending.

"The economic stimulus bill that I am signing today contains a number of smart investments that will create jobs and help put the Massachusetts economy on the road to long-term economic growth and recovery," Mitt Romney said.

He added, "However, in austere fiscal times, we cannot spend more than we have. Therefore, I have reduced spending to a level that is immediately necessary."

Highlights of the economic stimulus package include:

  • Making the Investment Tax Credit permanent;
  • Providing a tax rebate for manufacturing jobs created in the biotechnology, life sciences and medical device fields to entice companies to stay in Massachusetts as they move from the laboratory to the factory floor;
  • Establishing the Technology Transfer Center at the University of Massachusetts to facilitate the transfer of technology from the state's research institutions to industry;
  • Putting in place a one-day sales tax holiday on August 14th for back-to-school shopping; and
  • Legalizing Sunday liquor sales to create a fair and level playing field for all establishments in Massachusetts.
Romney reduced spending in the economic stimulus plan by half, from $100 million to just over $50 million, which is a level consistent with

Romney also took action on the supplemental spending bill. He signed $34.1 million for costs related to higher education collective bargaining agreements, but indicated that he sees this only as a partial payment for these state employees who have not received a pay adjustment for the past three years - not as a permanent obligation going forward.

Other highlights include:

  • Posting the photos of our most dangerous sex offenders on the Internet and requiring sex offenders to register with the Sex Offender Registry Board 48 hours prior to being released from prison;
  • $3.65 million for the State Police crime Lab to implement the expanded DNA database requirements;
  • $3.7 million for the Department of Social Services to prevent layoffs of clinical staff and attorneys;
  • $3.1 million so the Department of Youth Services can avoid prematurely releasing juvenile offenders;
  • $3.2 million for the Department of Mental Retardation's residential and day programs; and
  • $1.5 million to restore funding for family Health Services at the Department of Public Health, including rape crisis centers.
Romney vetoed $30.2 million in spending from the $111 million supplemental spending bill. He said, "Holding the line on state spending is critical if we are to avoid tax increases that would damage the long-term economic vitality of the Commonwealth."


November 27, 2003

ROMNEY LENDS A HAND TO STATE EMPLOYEES ON MILITARY DUTY

Recognizing the sacrifice employees of the Commonwealth and their families have made to serve our nation since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Governor Mitt Romney today signed into law a measure to help those individuals meet their financial obligations while they are on active military duty.

"I support our troops overseas and recognize that families across Massachusetts are making sacrifices by having their loved ones away defending our nation," Mitt Romney said. "We don't want them to also worry about paying their bills. This will help ease that burden for state employees."

Mitt Romney said the new law, effective immediately, will provide state employees who have been called to active military leave since September 11, 2001 with the differential cost between their military and state salaries. In addition, state employees on active military duty will not lose any seniority, accrued vacation leave, sick leave, personal leave, compensation time or earned overtime.
 

There are 260 state employees who have been called away on military leave since September 11, 2001 and are eligible for payment under this bill, Mitt Romney said.

He noted that the average annual salary for enlisted military is $35,381 and the average annual state salary for the 260 individuals is $46,017, leaving a gap of more than $10,000.

"I know many soldiers and state employees with whom I served in Kuwait who took drastic pay cuts to serve and protect our country," said Joel Berner, an attorney with the Department of Correction as well as a Lieutenant Colonel and JAG Officer in the United States Army Reserve."It is remarkable to recognize these soldiers, but just as remarkable to acknowledge the sacrifices of their families who often struggle to make ends meet as a result of an associated pay cut."

The Massachusetts Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) applauded Mitt Romney for spearheading this law to benefit state and municipal workers mobilized for the war on terrorism.

"The signing of this bill shows the great commitment of the Commonwealth to our soldiers and their families," said David Mahn, State Chair of ESGR.

December 3, 2003

ROMNEY PRAISES YANKEE CANDLE'S ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT

SOUTH DEERFIELD – Governor Mitt Romney today visited the headquarters of Yankee Candle to honor the company with the Governor's Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

Presented monthly as part of Romney's "Jobs First" initiative, the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award recognizes individuals who best demonstrate the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the Massachusetts economy and who inspire others to turn their ideas into action.

"We established this award to acknowledge and celebrate some of the state's most innovative companies as well as to highlight the creative entrepreneurs who are helping to drive economic growth here in the Commonwealth," said Romney.

"The story of Yankee Candle is a reminder that you don't need to manufacture a cutting edge product to be innovative, exciting and extremely successful," he added.

Yankee Candle is America's leading manufacturer, designer, and distributor of scented candles. Employing over 4,000 people, Yankee Candle boasts 286 retail stores in 42 states and distributes its products to 26 countries around the world. With all of its manufacturing operations located in Massachusetts, Yankee Candle produces more than 200 million candles per year.

"When other manufacturers looked elsewhere to cut costs, Yankee recognized the long- term advantages of staying in Massachusetts," said Romney. "Tapping one of the best educated and most highly motivated work forces in the world, they now dominate the industry."

In addition to providing jobs to the local economy, Yankee Candle contributes to the state's tourism industry. The South Deerfield store is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Massachusetts, bringing in over 2.5 million visitors every year.

"To receive the Governor's Entrepreneurial Spirit Award is a distinct honor and special recognition for Yankee Candle Company and Yankee Candle employees," said Robert R. Spellman, Yankee's Chief Financial Officer. "Yankee has achieved tremendous growth since its founding and over the last 20 years has grown from $3 million to approximately $500 million."

December 4, 2003

ROMNEY USHERS IN CHANGES TO AID business COMMUNITY

Governor Mitt Romney today celebrated the signing of two new laws that will improve the business climate in Massachusetts by updating the century-old business corporation statute and allowing for the convenience of electronic signatures in the marketplace.

"The Massachusetts business Corporation Act and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act will make it much simpler to conduct private sector transactions in the Commonwealth," said Romney.

"These bills represent an important piece of housekeeping for the state's business community, one that will allow our state to keep pace with new technology and other changes taking place in the world," Mitt Romney said.

The new Uniform Electronic Transactions Act will increase efficiency and reduce paperwork and expenses by allowing for electronic transactions and record keeping.

Specifically, the new law permits contracts to be approved using electronic signatures and allows other documents to be signed electronically, which is less cumbersome than written documentation.

Significantly, the new law permits electronic prescriptions for approximately 80 percent of all drugs prescribed in Massachusetts, saving time and making life more convenient for doctors, pharmacists and consumers. The change will also protect seniors and other patients by reducing medical error due to illegible handwriting and dangerous drug interaction.

The Department of Public Health will implement standards for e-prescriptions to prevent abuse.

"Today's signing paves the way for Massachusetts to move from e-faxing to electronic transmission of prescriptions from physician to pharmacy," said Nancy Leaming, President and CEO of Tufts Health Plan. "This is an example of how government can empower businesses to find solutions that help meet the needs of the public."

The Governor also celebrated the signing of the business Corporation Act, which replaces a 100-year law that went on the books in 1903, "when Theodore Roosevelt was President and the Red Sox were known as the Boston Pilgrims," Mitt Romney noted.

The incorporation statute has not been substantially altered since 1964 even though there have been significant changes in the way business is conducted.

The new law, which affects only companies that are incorporated, does not change how taxes and filing fees are determined and will have no impact on the fees and taxes payable. Highlights include:

• Notices, proxies and consents can be sent electronically;

• Corporations may elect to allow shareholders to act by written consent that is less than unanimous;

• The treatment of derivative shareholder actions is for the first time expressly addressed, in a manner consistent with recent Massachusetts case law;

• The conversion of corporations into other entities, e.g., limited liability companies, and other entities into corporations, is permitted; and

• The rights of creditors and shareholders on the dissolution of a corporation have been addressed in detail in order to provide certainty for all concerned.

"Updating the basic business corporation law of Massachusetts will keep us competitive for seeking business opportunities for the benefit of our economy in the 21st century," said Secretary of State William Francis Galvin. "The new law supports the effort of the Corporations Division to adopt electronic filing and imaging that is in the national forefront of electronic commerce."

December 5, 2003

ROMNEY ANNOUNCES $58.9 MILLION FOR NEW HOUSING

Awards to spur 893 new homes with 178 units affordable to low-income families

NEW BEDFORD - Following up on his pledge to increase the supply of housing in the Bay State, Governor Mitt Romney today announced $58.9 million of grants, loans and tax credits to produce 893 new rental homes in 16 communities across the Commonwealth.

"Each year, we spend more than a quarter billion dollars each year to care for our homeless in the Commonwealth, but we need to focus more on long-term solutions by producing permanent housing opportunities for our citizens," said Romney.

Of the 828 apartments that will be affordable to low- and moderate-income families, 178 of those units will be specifically targeted to those earning less than 30 percent of the area median income.

Romney added, "Today's awards will not only give a much needed boost to the state's overall affordable housing supply, but it will also go a long way in preventing future homelessness because nearly 20 percent of those units will be targeted to low-income individuals and families."

Approximately $40.8 million of the funds Mitt Romney announced will be generated through private investment in exchange for 10 years of state administered federal low income housing tax credits (LIHTC). Another $14.2 million will be awarded from the state Department of Housing and Community Development's (DHCD) Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF), HOME program and Housing Innovations Fund (HIF).

DHCD and the quasi-public agency, MassHousing will also administer $3.9 million from the state's Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Romney was joined by New Bedford Mayor Frederick Kalisz, Jr. as he made the announcements in a historic downtown neighborhood at the intersection of Union and Purchase Streets where $900,000 of the funds will help redevelop two buildings into mixed residential and commercial properties.

When completed, the project, known as Lawton's Corner, will consist of 17 rental apartments, nine of which will be affordable, and more than 6,700 square feet of retail space. The developer, Hall-Keen, will use $450,000 in federal HOME funds and $450,000 from the state's Affordable Housing Trust to help finance the project.

In addition, Mitt Romney announced that another New Bedford project in the Acushnet Heights neighborhood will receive low-income housing tax credits worth $1.25 million and $550,000 in HOME funds. With the funds, the Women's Institute for Economic Development will transform the historic and abandoned old Kinyon Campbell School building into 12 units of affordable family housing and a community center. The new development will be known as Acushnet Commons.

"Taking old, blighted downtown buildings and transforming them into new mixed-use residential and commercial space and by turning a vacant and historic school building into affordable family housing and a community center will help make New Bedford a more strong, vibrant and sustainable community," said Mayor Kalisz.

In nearby Westport, another development company will receive more than $2.1 million worth of tax credits and $1.75 million in HOME and Affordable Housing Trust funds to develop 36 new apartments.

"Once again, we are able to utilize many different financial resources from numerous partners to support these housing developments throughout the Commonwealth," said DHCD Director Jane Wallis Gumble. "Through the use of various state and federal programs, as well as our close working relationship with the state's quasi-public housing agencies, we are able to continue our core mission of serving the needs of low- and moderate income families, even in these austere economic times."

December 12, 2003

ROMNEY JOINS ARCHBISHOP O'MALLEY FOR NEW LYNN HOUSING

Redevelopment at former St. Jean Baptiste site to result in 38 new affordable homes

LYNN – Governor Mitt Romney today joined Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley and local officials at a groundbreaking ceremony for nearly 40 new homes at the now vacant St. Jean Baptiste parish and school.

"Since my Administration's inception nearly one year ago, I have focused on the need to create more housing and smart growth policies that will allow us to expand housing without contributing to sprawl," Mitt Romney said.

He added, "This project is a perfect example of the type of new housing we should create in our developed urban centers close to all the services that make possible a desirable quality of life."

"The neighborhood revitalization made possible by this development at St. Jean Baptiste builds on a rich history and is a good example of how former parish property is being used to help those in need," said Archbishop Sean O'Malley. "With deep respect for those who established and sustained this parish in the past, we look forward to offering new hope and a renewed sense of community for generations to come. We are very grateful to Governor Mitt Romney and Mayor Clancy for their vision and commitment to making this possible."

The St. Jean Baptiste site is currently comprised of four existing buildings, all of which are no longer used by the Archdiocese and will be demolished for the new, two phase construction of 14 ownership and 24 rental homes. Also included in the rental development will be 2,300 square feet of community space for tenant and supportive services including after school programs, job training services and homebuyer counseling.

Of the 24 new rental apartments, 18 will be reserved for families earning less than 60 percent of the area median income; one for those who make less than 50 percent of the area median income; and five for those who earn less than 20 percent of the area median income. Of the 14 single-family homes, three will be available to those earning less than 110 percent of the area median income; and 11 will be for those earning less than 80 percent of the area median income. The Archdiocese will work closely with the Lynn Housing Authority's homebuyer program to ensure that the homes are accessible to families from a broad range of social and economic backgrounds.

Last year, the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) announced a total of $4.2 million in financing for the St. Jean Baptiste project, including $800,000 from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and $1 million from the HOME program as well as federal low-income housing tax credits, which generated an estimated $2.4 million in private funds. Also, the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, a quasi-public state agency, is providing a $1.1 million long-term loan for the rental phase of the development.

"We were proud to maximize our resources through the use of federal and state funds and join them with resources from other state housing agencies to help finance the St. Jean Baptiste project," said DHCD Director Jane Wallis Gumble. "In doing so, we are not only increasing the state's housing supply, but we are also continuing in our core mission to serve the housing needs of low- and moderate-income families in the Commonwealth."

In addition to the funds awarded by DHCD, the City of Lynn contributed more than $900,000 to the St. Jean Baptiste development. "In the past, St. Jean's Baptiste Church was a bastion of hope and stability for this great West Lynn neighborhood," said Lynn Mayor, Edward J. "Chip" Clancy, Jr.

He added, "Soon we will see a redevelopment at this location that will do the same for future generations. This success is the result of an innovative partnership between the Archdiocese, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Lynn and the Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development. It is a great example of what can be done when all involved operate with the single goal in mind of revitalizing a neighborhood."

"The high cost of housing is the main barrier to economic growth and vitality in Massachusetts," Mitt Romney said. "By creating more of it, we lower prices and make the Bay State more attractive to employers and the people who work for them."


December 17, 2003

ROMNEY KICKS OFF TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE

Wonderland & other MBTA sites to become magnets for housing and businesses

As part of his "Communities First" program, Governor Mitt Romney today announced a new initiative to use publicly owned land as a catalyst to create high-quality residential and commercial centers around transit stations.

Romney called the new initiative "the wave of the future," and arrived at today's news conference by taking the MBTA to the Wonderland Station, the site of the first planned development.

"Our program encourages development where it is needed, where it contributes new jobs, new housing and new amenities to the region and the local communities without eating up or creating the need for new infrastructure valuable open space," said Romney.

The new policy, nicknamed Take it to the T, will encourage the use of public transit, the development of residences and workplaces in proximity to transit and the creation of active pedestrian districts around transportation hubs. The MBTA, which is the second-largest landowner in the Commonwealth, will demonstrate these practices through development on its own property and by offering certain communities strategic assistance for this kind of development.

"One of the Commonwealth's strengths is its villages and towns - and a T station in town should be more than a place to park and grab the train. Our Take it to the T initiative jumpstarts our efforts to encourage vital development around T stations," said Doug Foy, Romney's Chief of Commonwealth Development.

Over the next several months, the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development will work with Revere officials to develop a Request for Proposal for land in the vicinity of the MBTA Wonderland Station. Along with three acres of land that the City of Revere is working to develop, the MBTA and the Department of Conservation and Recreation own approximately 10 acres in the area.

It is envisioned that an improvement to the quality of the parklands adjacent to the water, combined with the presence of efficient and reliable transit opportunities, will make the land more attractive to commercial, retail and residential development. Revere officials will approve zoning rules in the area that are consistent with Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) and smart growth policies in exchange for development opportunities on the publicly owned parcels.

Several other communities have been identified as having strong potential for TOD activity, including Malden, Woburn and Belmont.

"The bottom line is that smart growth is good for Massachusetts," said Romney. "With smarter development, we can build more housing, create a better tax base, nurture active communities, create shorter commutes, and protect precious land resources."

November 19, 2003

ROMNEY APPOINTS CANDACE KOCHIN TO PAROLE BOARD

Governor Mitt Romney today named Candace Kochin of Conway to the Massachusetts Parole Board.

Today's appointment is Romney's fourth to the seven-member Parole Board, which determines if an inmate should be released early from incarceration and what the conditions of that release will be. The Board also acts as the Advisory Board of Pardons, which makes recommendations to the Governor on pardons and commutations.

The Governor's Council must approve Romney's appointments to the board. Once approved, members serve for a five-year term.

Since 1999, Kochin has served as the Assistant Deputy Superintendent for Treatment in the Hampshire County Sheriff's Office. Previously, she served as a Superior Court Probation officer in the Hampshire Superior Court Probation Department for 10 years. Kochin also served as a victim and witness assistant in the Northwestern District Attorney's office.

Kochin earned a bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

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