LTE: SONIA CHANG-DIAZ

Dear Neighbor,

Last Wednesday night, the Legislature adjourned for Thanksgiving recess—without coming to a House/Senate deal on the pandemic relief spending bill.

 

I’m extremely disappointed: that means we most likely won’t get to take a final vote on this bill until the new year, delaying much-needed recovery aid for so many Bay Staters. 

 

But despite the Legislature’s failure to act urgently, there’s still some good news. We won some real victories during the Nov. 10 debate on this package in the Senate, and these important provisions are at stake as the House and Senate continue to negotiate.  

 

I was especially proud to secure a number of amendments to advance our shared goals of racial justice and equitable recovery, and to stand up more services to address the crisis at “Mass & Cass.” Here’s what we got added to the Senate bill: 

 

Amendments 33 & 34, to increase accountability to equity goals. These amendments require a public-facing tracking system, designed by a diverse and equity-focused panel and updated in real time, to show how the money is being spent in the hardest-hit communities.

 

And the tracking system will be anchored to state contracting goals for Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses. (That’s an A on the ARPA Scorecard “Accountability” line!) 

 

Amendment 251, to allocate $5 million for comprehensive substance use treatment and recovery services at the Dimock Center in Roxbury.  

 

Amendment 452, to dedicate $7.5 million for green jobs training, serving primarily students of color. Because we can train the workforce we need to meet our climate goals and provide these students with a pathway into well-paying jobs at the same time. 

 

I was also thrilled to vote for huge steps forward for local public health: to set minimum public health standards for every community, modernize data collection and reporting, improve workforce education and credentialing, and establish a funding formula for state/local public health collaborations. (Kudos to Sen. Jo Comerford for her steadfast leadership to make this happen!) 

 

These victories wouldn’t have happened without your voice and your support. I’ll be fighting hard to make sure they make it into the final bill and I hope you’ll join me! 

 

Saludos,

Sonia Chang-Díaz
State Senator, Second Suffolk District