Members of Haverhill’s State House delegation are touting their various appointments and committee assignments as the year’s legislative agendas take shape.
The Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus elected Rep. Andy X. Vargas as vice chair. The Caucus, comprised of House and Senate members, says its job is to “define, highlight and analyze those issues and concerns affecting people of color in the Commonwealth.” The Caucus welcomed 11 new members this session, bringing its total to a historic 25 members.
“We have a lot of work to do to make Massachusetts an affordable place to live and thrive. We take on this endeavor clear eyed about the data which confirms what we already know—black and brown families face the brunt of our affordability crisis in Massachusetts,” Vargas said in a statement.
Accomplishments of the Caucus during Vargas’ time as a member include the passage of the landmark Police Reform Act of 2021, establishing the Commonwealth Builder Program to help close the racial homeownership gap—with the first project breaking ground in Haverhill, supporting equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, successfully advocating for the removal of parole and probation supervision fees, creating partnerships to improve access to biotech opportunities for Black and Latino youth, helping to pass the Work and Family Mobility Act to improve public safety and more.
Sen. Barry R. Finegold was named to the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.
“In the months ahead, I look forward to partnering with Gov. Healey’s administration, my colleagues in the Senate and House, municipal leaders, the business community and other key stakeholders. Together, we can strengthen our economic competitiveness, improve our workforce development pipeline, and ensure that Massachusetts continues to be at the forefront of the innovation economy,” Finegold said in a statement.
Sen. Pavel Payano was appointed Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses. The Committee considers, among other things, the establishment of economic districts and local planning commissions and urban renewal.
Payano said, “Given the rise in economic uncertainty, it is imperative that we are thinking creatively about both long-term and short-term solutions to bolster growth and development at the local level. I am excited to work with Co-Chair (Rep. Paul) McMurtry, committee members, small business owners, and local officials to advance policies that will build stronger communities and expand economic opportunities across the Commonwealth.”
Payano will also help lead the Joint Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet and Cybersecurity as vice chair and sit on the Joint Committees on Higher Education, Municipalities and Regional Government, Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, Cannabis Policy, Public Health and Public Service.