State Representative Denise Garlick has been very busy during her first year representing the 13th Norfolk district, which includes Needham, Dover and half of Medfield.
Last Wednesday, she held a community meeting at – “Representative’s Community Report to Medfield” – to update the town on what she has been doing at the State House.
The purpose of the nearly two-hour meeting was to share information with community members and hear concerns from constituents.
“I wanted to let you know that I hold myself accountable to you … I wanted to help you understand what the scope of the role of the State Representative is,” Garlick told a packed Town House last week.
“I love this job, it’s a fascinating job,” she said. “I know that the headlines are not always good, in fact I know the headlines are heart-breakingly bad sometimes, but the capacity to do good in this job is great.”
During her presentation, Garlick told constituents:
- A legislative “session” is two years long.
- She will hear over 768 bills over the next two years. There are currently 3,000 bills before the Legislature.
- There are 13 steps to pass a bill, and it can take two years before an idea becomes a law. If the bill is not allowed during the two-year period, it must start the process anew.
- She voted ‘No’ on the gaming/casino issue under “considerable pressure” because she had given her word to the district.
- The pension system reform bill will save $30 billion over the next five years; state now has an AA credit rating.
- Human trafficking legislation joins the Commonwealth with the majority of other states since Massachusetts was one of only a handful of states that did not have a human trafficking bill.
- Massachusetts ranks number one in the country in public education, and Medfield ranks number 17 in the state.
- Massachusetts ranks number five in the nation for bringing back jobs. She noted the Commonwealth currently has 240,000 unemployed people, and 120,000 unfilled jobs. She is stressing the need to train and educate people to qualify for the open positions.
- Garlick, a registered nurse for 35 years, is on the Health Care Committee.
- The Clean Energy bill is moving through channels. She said the bill should come forward in the next few weeks.
- The town’s state funding could be level funded.
- Massachusetts leads the nation in providing benefits to veterans.
- She is on the Health Care Financing Committee, which is “talking about changing the model on which we’re delivering health care in Massachusetts.” She stressed the importance of preserving access to good community hospitals.
- She and her staff – including assistant Ture Turnbull and student intern Michaela – are available to help in any way they can. She said she received 503 constituent calls last year.
- She is teaching a class at Needham High School on how to pass a bill. She would like to offer a similar class at Medfield High School.
Garlick said that “people in Medfield are very issue-oriented” and noted the areas of concern to be the former , , the , , and the .
Garlick said she is well versed on the state hospital issue, noting “It’s the future of Medfield that’s at stake.”
She said that NSTAR has pledged better communication between the company and town officials during times of crisis. Garlick said NSTAR representatives said they are going to be hiring additional personnel to prune trees.
Garlick said she is a proponent of the rail trail that will connect her constituents in Needham, Dover and Medfield.
She said the issue of Lyme disease is a priority for her because of her health background, and she thanked the town for taking “a strong leadership position in the Commonwealth” on the disease.
Garlick knows that many are worried about a change to the MBTA’s commuter rail schedule. She said that she is deeply concerned with proposed changes to raise fares, cut service to some lines and stop running on weekends.
The question and answer period following the presentation was . Frustrated voters asked Garlick for help in addressing the policy at the state level. Garlick said she would help arrange for someone to speak to the town about the rules and regulations surrounding the affordable housing law.