State Representative Dave Rogers

Updates


Reflections from 2013 and the Road Ahead


Happy New Year! With 2013 having come to a close, I want to offer a few general reflections on the State Legislature and the near-term economic outlook here in Massachusetts. First, in contrast to the disarray in Washington, the Massachusetts Legislature is a reasonably well-functioning body. There is always room for improvement and reform of course, but our legislature operates productively and without undue rancor. Second, the state's finances are fundamentally sound. The state has a AA+ bond rating, the highest in its history. The Stabilization Fund (commonly referred to as the Rainy Day Fund) has a balance of approximately $1.3 Billion. Finally, recent forecasts of economic growth (and the corresponding growth in state revenue) are somewhat encouraging. So while big challenges remain ahead, it seems that after a deep recession that battered the state's finances, we are entering a period of somewhat better prospects.
 


Upcoming Debates


The Legislature is poised to take up a number of important policy debates in 2014, including:
 

Minimum Wage

As some of you may know, the Senate has already passed an increase in the minimum wage that would raise the wage to $11 per hour by 2016, at which time it would be indexed to the consumer price index (CPI). In addition, advocates from Raise Up Massachusetts have succeeded in placing a minimum wage question on this November's ballot, so voters will have a direct say on this important issue. The House, taking a different approach than the Senate, is likely to couple a passage of the minimum wage with Unemployment Insurance reforms. I worked to gather signatures to put the minimum wage question on the ballot (along with some of you who joined me in the effort) and am very much in favor of an increase. The real value of the minimum wage (i.e. - adjusted for inflation) has eroded and an increase is overdue.
 

Gun Safety

Sparked by Governor Patrick’s State of the Commonwealth Speech in 2013 and the tragedy at Newtown, the Legislature is poised to debate measures to enhance gun safety.  The legislation has been in the works for some time, and will reflect recommendations of a gun safety task force and the input of all affected interest groups.  Support for mental health services in Massachusetts will also likely be a focus of the legislation.  While I respect the Second Amendment right to bear arms, I favor measures to improve public safety through common sense reforms including banning high capacity magazines (to give just one example).
 

Post-Employment Benefits Reform

At the beginning of 2013, a commission on other post-employment benefits (OPEB) released a report with recommendations for reforming the current system. For the most part, OPEB means retiree health care. Some advocates believe the current system is too generous to public employees and is therefore unsustainable. Others believe that any reform that modifies promises made to employees when they were made their offer of employment is unfair. I will listen to the debate on this difficult issue with an open mind.
 

Community Events

Gubernatorial Candidates Forum

Come and see the Democratic candidates for Governor speak! Representative Jay Kaufman of Lexington has long held an award-winning series of public policy forums, and will be welcoming all five declared Democratic candidates for Governor on Thursday January 16th. The forum will offer an opportunity for voters to see candidates side by side and begin to think about whom to vote for come the primary on September 4th. The event will be held at Cary Hall, 1605 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington.

Belmont League of Women Voters Annual Luncheon

Join the Belmont League of Women Voters for its annual winter luncheon.  The featured speakers will be Ellen Schreiber and Diane Miller, who together masterfully coordinated the Joey’s Park project.  To reserve a place, send your $25 check (made out to the League of Women Voters of Belmont) to Jean Lyon, 60 Prentiss Lane, Belmont, MA 02478. Or contact her at: 617-489-2112 or jwlyon@lyoncorp.com.  The event will be held on Friday, January 17th at the Wadsworth room of the Belmont Hill School from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Martin Luther King Day Breakfast in Belmont

Belmont’s annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast will be held on Monday, January 20th in the cafeteria of Belmont High School. The event will feature Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, the first Latina elected to the Massachusetts State Senate. Admission is $5 per person and $10 per family, with registration beginning at 8:30 am and the program running from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

January Office Hours


Saturday, January 18th at Singabella Café in North Cambridge (2401 Mass Ave) from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Saturday, January 18th at the Sweet Peach Diner in Belmont (628 Trapelo Road) from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, January 21st at the Kickstand Café in Arlington Center (594 Mass Ave, previously Jam'n Java) from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Martin Luther King Day Celebration in Arlington

Arlington’s annual Martin Luther King Day event will take place on the evening of Monday, January 20th at the Town Hall Auditorium. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. and the program will begin at 7:30 p.m. While in the past the event has featured a meal, this year’s event will be a potluck desert, so all are encouraged to bring something with them! Additionally, items for the Arlington Food Pantry will be collected and free-will offering will benefit the martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DC, the African American Society Scholarships and the Arlington Public Schools.

Contact Me


I welcome your input and hope to hear from you on issues of mutual concern. Email: rep.dave.rogers@gmail.com. State House office phone: 617-722-2400. Personal cell phone: 617-817-9395. Website: repdaverogers.com.
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