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Greetings from Beacon Hill!

April had plenty of public-facing events and meetings, but also involved a lot of behind-the-scenes work. I spend a lot of time building connections both inside and outside the State House. These connections are crucial to improving lives in our district, passing important legislation, managing our tax dollars wisely, and generally advancing our democracy. For example, April is budget prep month in the Senate. I’ve met with and heard from many colleagues, constituents, and advocates about the budget. I gain something from each of these interactions — a request, an explanation about the budget process nuts and bolts, strategic advice for collaborating on specific budget items, and more — which I then use to promote positive change for our communities.

On the public-facing side of things, I chaired my first committee hearing! It was perhaps one of the quickest hearings in the history of hearings. The docket for this session’s first hearing of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government contained multiple home rule petitions, or bills pertaining the local issues (like a charter change) sent up to the Legislature from various municipalities all across the Commonwealth.

I also testified in support of no-fault absentee voting before the Joint Committee on Election Laws. I believe this is a critical component to promoting access to the ballot box; as I’ve said many times, your vote is your voice and it’s my duty as Senator to do everything I can to ensure you get to use your voice every time. No-fault absentee voting is an equity issue, especially for folks who need to manage multiple jobs, child care, elder care, and other responsibilities. I’m very pleased to share that on April 25, the committee favorably reported the bill back to the House for consideration by the full chamber.

Other exciting news: we moved to our permanent office! You can now find Team Becca in Room 218 of the State House. We have giant ceilings, several potted plants, and fantastic natural light. We’re still working on wall decor. Please stop by any time to check out our new digs. In sum, we keep moving the ball down the court! Please follow along on Twitter and Facebook, and don’t hesitate to call our office at 617-722-1555 or stop by Room 218 in the State House.

 

Yours in service,

Town Meetings
 
The arrival of Spring in New England also heralds the coming of Town Meeting, a form of local government that has existed in Massachusetts since colonial times. What exactly is Town Meeting?

Historically, Town Meeting was an opportunity for land-owning members of the community to debate and decide matters of local concern, such as raising revenue, building a school, or repairing a bridge. There was even a traditional Town Meeting cake, similar to a fruitcake! The first Town Meetings in Massachusetts date back to the 1600s. In the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District, many towns continue the tradition of gathering every Spring to decide local matters at Town Meetings. Statewide, we honor this tradition every October 8th, which state law proclaims Town Meeting Day in honor of the first Town Meeting in Massachusetts (G.L. ch. 6, sec. 15PP).

While much about Town Meeting is timeless -- neighbors still make speeches, debate each other, and vote to raise revenue, build schools, and repair bridges -- our pre-Revolutionary War ancestors would be surprised to see the community that makes up the 21st century Town Meeting. Today, all registered voters in the town may serve as voting members of Town Meeting, whether open Town Meeting (where anyone can show up at any time and vote) or representative Town Meeting (where Town Meeting Members are elected on the local ballot). This means that all persons regardless of gender, race, property ownership, or other identities may participate in this quintessentially New England form of direct democracy. Alexis de Tocqueville described it this way:

“Town meetings are to liberty what primary schools are to science; they bring it within the people’s reach, they teach [people] how to use and how to enjoy it. A nation may establish a system of free government, but without the spirit of municipal institutions it cannot have the spirit of liberty.”

Want to know more? Check out some additional history and a cake recipe!

Relatedly, here is a quick reminder on the remaining local elections for this calendar year. You can always check your voter registration status and polling location at http://www.wheredoIvotema.com. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.*
 
Millis: Monday, May 6
Vote at Town Hall (Veteran's Memorial Building)

Norfolk: Tuesday, May 7
Vote at the Freeman Kennedy School

Sherborn: Tuesday, May 14
Vote at Town Hall

Attleboro:
Preliminary Election: Tuesday, September 17
General Election: Tuesday, November 5
Multiple polling locations. Please check wheredoIvotema.com.

Franklin: Tuesday, November 5
Vote at Franklin High School
* Polls open in Franklin at 6 am

Natick, Needham, North Attleboro, Plainville, Wayland,
Wellesley, and Wrentham have already voted.
 
Senator Rausch hosts in-district office hours every fourth Friday of the month, rotating through the northern, central, and southern regions of the district. Senator Rausch has already held office hours in Attleboro and Millis.

Office hours for the northern region are TODAY IN WAYLAND!


NORTHERN REGION: Friday, May 3, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Wayland Town Hall, 41 Cochituate Road, in the Selectmen's Meeting Room.


The next two office hours will be:

SOUTHERN REGION: Friday, May 31, 1:00-2:30 p.m., at the Plainville Public Library, 198 South St., in the conference room.

CENTRAL REGION: Friday, June 28, 10:30 a.m.  – 12:00 p.m. in Sherborn (exact location TBA).
 

Please save these dates for future office hours:

  • Jul. 26, Wellesley (Northern Region)
  • Aug. 16, North Attleborough (Southern Region)
  • Sept. 27, Franklin (Central Region)
  • Oct. 25, Natick (Northern Region)
  • Nov. 22, Wrentham (Southern Region)
  • Dec. 20, Norfolk (Central Region)
  • Jan. 24, 2020, Needham (Northern Region)
Demystifying the State House
by Alana Westwater

 
In an effort to demystify the State House, and as I continue to grow into my first job on Beacon Hill, I write a segment in each newsletter about something I've learned. You’ll also be able to find my comments as a blog on the Senator’s website. If you ever have a question about how the State House works or have a suggested topic for me to cover in the next newsletter, please let me know by emailing me at Alana.Westwater@masenate.gov!
Chapter 3: The Work of an Outreach Director

An integral piece of understanding how the state house works is knowing the structure of legislators’ offices. While similarities exist among all the various Senate offices, the division of labor in each office is unique. In addition to Senator Rausch, we are an office of five: Chief of Staff, Caroline Sherrard; General Counsel/Legislative Director, Gretchen VanNess; Legislative Aides, Evan Berry and Caitlin Rougeau; and me (I’m the Outreach Director). In the next few posts of this blog, we will each explain what we do!
 
As Outreach Director, my job is all about helping people. I am in charge of maintaining relationships with leaders in all twelve municipalities and managing connections with residents (constituents) throughout our district.

 CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
Where's Becca?

April was a busy month traveling around the district!
Each newsletter will highlight a few, but not all, of Senator Rausch's appearances.
Check them out on the map below!
Upcoming Events

You can always find out where Senator Rausch will be by checking
her public calendar. Here are a few exciting upcoming events!


Golden Tones Free Concert
Friday, May 3, 6:30 - 7:30 PM, Natick

Senator Rausch will join the Golden Tones, a chorus of retired
and young at heart singers for a free public concert.
Congratulations on the Golden Tones' 30th Anniversary! 
MORE INFO


Franklin Town Council Meeting
Wednesday, May 8, 7-8:30 PM, Franklin

Join Senator Rausch at the Franklin Town Council meetingto discuss local concerns,
State Senate budget season, and the current session on Beacon Hill.


Women in Elected Office Panel
Friday, May 17,  2:30 - 4:00 PM, Northeastern University

Senator Rausch will speak on a panel about the real experiences of women
in the legislature at the Women in the Law conference at Northeastern University
alongside fellow NEU alumni Representatives Natalie Higgins and Tram Nguyen.

MORE INFO


51st Annual Wellesley Veterans' Parade
Sunday, May 19, 1:00 - 4:00 PM, Wellesley

Senator Rausch will be marching in the annual Veterans' parade
along Route 16 (Washington Street).
Our mailing address is:
The Office of Senator Becca Rausch
Massachusetts State House, Room 419
24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02133

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Senator Rausch · State House, Room 218 · 24 Beacon Street · Boston, MA 02133-1099 · USA

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