Above and beyond what is expected
I was disappointed to read Peter Manoogian’s letter to the editor, which paints an incomplete and inaccurate picture of Representative Donald Wong’s voting record on education issues.
Mr. Manoogian cites “a sampling of one dozen votes” on the Fiscal Year 2017 state budget – as well as a vote on the Fiscal Year 2016 state budget – as proof that Representative Wong’s “record on education over the past several years … is not good.” But he fails to mention a number of significant budget roll call votes Representative Wong has taken in support of education issues during the current legislative session.
Last year, for example, Representative Wong voted to override the Governor’s veto of funding that had been designated for reducing the waitlist for income-eligible early education and care programs (Roll Call #15-074; 7/29/15). His support in overriding another veto in 2015 restored funding for a child care support assessment funded by the Executive Office of Early Education and Care (Roll Call #15-108; 7/30/15).
During this year’s House budget debate, Representative Wong voted to support a consolidated education and local aid amendment, which included a $15 million salary reserve for early education and care providers, an additional $500,000 in head start grants, and $1.34 million for the operation of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Roll Call #16-228; 4/26/16). When Governor Baker vetoed funding for the early education and care provider rate increase included in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, Representative Wong voted to override the veto and restore the $7.5 million in funding (Roll Call #16-308; 7/23/16).
Mr. Manoogian also cites Representative Wong’s 2015 vote to sustain the Governor’s veto of funding in the Preschool Partnership line item (3000-6025). However, he neglects to mention that in this year’s budget, Representative Wong voted to override the Governor’s veto and restore $200,000 in funding for grants to support cities, towns and regional school districts currently providing pre-kindergarten or pre-school activities (Roll Call #16-371; 7/23/16).
On the issue of funding regional public libraries, Mr. Manoogian fails to mention Representative Wong voted against the Governor in this year’s budget and voted to restore the $113,000 in regional public library funding the Governor had cut (Roll Call #16-318; 7/23/16).
I can cite numerous other examples of Representative Wong’s support for education initiatives. In 2015, for instance, he voted to restore grant funding designated for the expansion and improvement of full-day kindergarten services (Roll Call #15-059; 7/29/15) and earmarks in the Massachusetts Cultural Council line item for schools to continue their efforts to improve educational programs for students (Roll Call #15-063; 7/29/15). This year, Representative Wong also voted to restore $3.7 million for the special education circuit breaker program (Roll Call #16-319; 7/23/16), $102,000 for municipal libraries (Roll Call #16-392; 7/23/16), and increased funding for Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment, which provides matching grants for students with severe disabilities to continue their educational pursuits (Roll Call #16-403; 7/23/16).
During this year’s House budget debate, Representative Wong also supported the creation of a special task force to review all unfunded mandates the state currently imposes on public schools. In addition, he voted to support an amendment to return a portion of any surplus state revenue in the upcoming fiscal year – up to $100 million total – to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns in the form of additional local aid, money that could have been used to support local educational programs (Roll Call #16-225; 4/25/16).
Looking beyond these votes gives an even more complete picture of Representative Wong’s support for public education. He has sponsored events promoting archery as an inclusive activity for all students, including those with disabilities, and has hosted hundreds of young adults from the local student councils from his district and beyond. He has been a constant and consistent supporter of both Saugus and Wakefield school building projects before the MSBA.
Despite Mr. Manoogian’s assertion to the contrary, when it comes to education, I can say with full confidence that Representative Wong consistently goes above and beyond what is expected of a state legislator. He deserves another term on Beacon Hill, where I am confident he will continue to be a strong advocate for public education in Saugus, Wakefield and Lynn.
Bradley H. Jones, Jr.
House Minority Leader
Preserve the environment for future generations
To the Editor:
As President of the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists (MOSES) and an environmental engineer at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for over 30 years, I know how important good environmental policy is to a healthy and productive community. Without it, the damage to public health and our natural resources is enormous. The costs are especially high for our children and our grandchildren who will pay the price years down the road. In the race for State Rep, there is one candidate who has failed to support basic funding for environmental precautions and one who will work hard to protect clean air and water for the 9th Essex district.
Donald Wong’s opposition to funding in this year’s budget for the Department of Environmental Protection is short sighted. His vote to support the Governor’s veto and cut $ 1.5 million from DEP’s budget would have detrimental impacts to the environment.
The DEP performs many basic, quality-of-life services to the people of Massachusetts, like ensuring clean air and water, watershed planning and protection, the safe management of toxics waste, enforcing environmental laws, reducing solid waste, the timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The cost of letting people get sick and nature to be damaged, then trying to fix a problem is far greater than simply preventing harm to the environment. We learned that lesson with the clean-up of Boston Harbor.
Similarly, his opposition to funding enforcement efforts by the DEP lacks foresight into the serious environmental damage that can occur as a result of lax enforcement. DEP regularly interfaces with municipalities and businesses to provide guidance on complying with laws and implementing best management practices. The short term savings of inadequate funding allows polluters to go unpunished for longer, and allows them to cause more damage before they are stopped. Jen Migliore supports legislation for the protection of the public and the environment.
This includes regulation that require restaurants to properly dispose of grease instead of dumping it down the drain. This regulation prevents damage to our sewer infrastructure, which otherwise would need more frequent repair at great expense to the public as a whole.
Wongs opposition to funding for riverway protection robs the public of recreational access to clean marshes and waterways in the district, like the Rumney Marsh, the Saugus River basin home to some of the most treasured wildlife in the area. Migliore also supports funding
Wakefield’s rail trail program and the protection of Lynn Woods for future generations.
However, Jen’s most powerful environmental stance is her unflinching opposition to the expansion of Wheelabrator’s ash landfill in Saugus. This landfill was supposed to be closed and sealed in 1996, but has continued to grow higher and higher. Currently, there is a 90 foot tall pile of burnt trash filled with mercury, lead, and other heavy metals which are known to cause cancer, especially as fine particulate matter like ash. This landfill does not have a modern plastic liner, only a small retaining wall. Jen’s understanding of the serious environmental risks associated with the landfill expansion, particularly concerning the expansion’s potential impacts on the adjacent Rumney Marsh, an area of critical environmental concern, is encouraging. It is time for the many communities who burn their trash and leave their residue in Saugus to find a more appropriate location to dispose the additional ash waste.
The 9th Essex district deserves a representative who will preserve the environment for future generations and protect the public from the dangers of pollution. There’s only one person running who can handle such an important job: Jen Migliore
President of MOSES
Our community deserves a passionate, full-time representative
Fellow Residents of Saugus-
As a young professional, I am proud to call Saugus home. When my wife and I were considering where we would buy a home, it was easy to see ourselves building a life together in Saugus.
While we love living here, it is difficult to ignore how little has changed for the better since we moved in three years ago.
We want to see Saugus improve as we grow older. In recent years we have seen a battle for power at the town level, but it doesn’t seem to have affected any positive change for residents.
Many of our elected officials continue to yield subpar results on the issues we care about most.
Our state representative, Rep. Donald Wong, is one of those elected officials. Rep. Wong has spent the last six years getting by on showing up and doing the minimum for the 9th Essex District. He hasn’t made any progress on improving our schools, our parks, or our environment.
These are the improvements that would make Saugus a better place to live for young families.
Our community deserves a passionate, full-time representative who understands the important issues and will advocate for every resident of Saugus, Wakefield and Lynn.
Jen Migliore is that person for the 9th Essex District. Jen was raised in the district and understands the issues that matter most to working families. Jen has knocked on more than 8,000 doors during her campaign and has listened to residents about their concerns and hopes for the future of the district.
I believe in the future of Saugus and I believe the path is brighter with Jen Migliore fighting for our families.
Resident of Saugus