Rep. Dempsey Recipient of Two Awards This Week

Rep. Brian S. Dempsey addresses the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus after receiving the group’s “Good Guys Award.”

Haverhill Rep. Brian S. Dempsey, House Ways and Means Committee chairman, was the recipient of a second award this week, the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health’s (MAMH) “2016 Partner in Progress Award.”

MAMH honored Dempsey for his work in the legislature and “for his strong support for safe and affordable housing for individuals who have behavioral health conditions and his continuous collaboration with MAMH to expand opportunity for clients of the Department of Mental Health,” according to a statement Wednesday. Dempsey was honored by the nonprofit advocacy group during an event at the Seaport Hotel in Boston.

“I am proud to be honored by MAMH for my work on behalf of individuals with behavioral health issues,” Dempsey said.” It is our responsibility to ensure that individuals with mental illness and their families have access to effective treatment and safe support services.”

The award was the second he received this week. Dempsey was also honored Tuesday, as reported by WHAV last week, with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus’s “Good Guys Award.” That award “recognizes men that have demonstrated a commitment to women’s issues and work towards economic and social parity for women.”

“It is truly an honor to be chosen as a recipient of Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus Good Guy Award,” Dempsey said. “I will continue working to ensure that all voices are heard and continue to pursue policies that will move all of us and our Commonwealth forward.”

Dempsey is credited with helping to pass a comprehensive domestic violence law, creating new criminal offenses and elevated penalties for perpetrators of domestic violence while improving domestic violence prevention efforts. He also worked to pass the domestic workers bill of rights which included stronger wage and hour rights, protection against discrimination and sexual harassment and a right to maternity leave for workers. As chairman of House Ways and Means, he worked to enact reforms to the criminal justice system, banning the use of restraints on pregnant inmates in labor, requiring more pre- and post-natal medical care for incarcerated women and ensuring that females with substance abuse issues are sent to an appropriate treatment setting and not sent to prison.

The Annual Good Guys Awards were established in 2002 to honor outstanding male leaders who have worked in their civic and professional lives to achieve parity for women. Past honorees include Sen. Edward Brooke, Gov. Deval Patrick, Gov. Paul Cellucci, Gov. William Weld, Gov. Charlie Baker, Speaker Robert Deleo and Sen. Edward Kennedy.

In the area of mental health, Dempsey’s recent 2017 House budget recommendations included a $7.3 million increase in adult community mental health services, funding to support 45 beds for the Women’s Substance Use program at Taunton State Hospital and $3.6 million for the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project, according to a spokesperson.

Other MAMH honorees included retired MAMH President Bernard J. Carey Jr., who was as the recipient of the 2016 Friend and Leader Award; and Department of Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula, recipient of the Spirit of Compassion Award.