Category Archives: Legislative

International Women’s Day 2016

I want to dedicate this piece, written by Zelda, to my mother who was mayor of my home town. Her two favorite sayings were, “Wash your face, you will feel better,” and “Walk a mile in their shoes before you judge them.” She taught me a lot.

2016womensdayI have been very fortunate to have some very good women in my life and I think it’s because of my mom that I accepted them as equals and mentors all of them strong and gifted. My wife Louise, and two of the best colleagues I ever had the pleasure to serve with, Mary Pat Flynn and Virginia Valiela and of course Zelda MacGregor, PH.D.

Today is International Women’s Day. Every year on March 8, we celebrate and appreciate the contributions women make from our local communities to the global communities. It’s a wonderful thing to do, but we should do it every day of the year, not just one.

The theme of this year’s Women’s Day is Step Up Equality. I could not agree more. When Women’s Day conversations first started almost 100 years ago (yes, that recently), it was called Working Women’s Day and it focused heavily on the unique contributions and struggles of working women in an economy that, to this day, is not very nice to women.

Women who work often don’t make as much as their male counterparts in the same jobs. Women who work often fall behind their male counterparts if they choose to have a family (and that’s when we give them the choice) because they are denied sufficient paid leave after giving birth, affordable healthcare, access to quality healthcare, affordable child care and so much more (all of this while being paid less than men).

It is an obvious fact that women of all stripes–whether they work or not–contribute to our society and, just as obvious, we need to send a stronger message to the world that those contributions are valued and appreciated. We need to recognize that a woman who chooses to have a family and work deserves affordable options to care for her family. We need to recognize that women who choose not to have a family are making the choice that is best for them and fully support their endeavors and applaud their contributions.

We need to pay women a fair and equal wage, not soon, not in 10 years, not in 20 years, but now. A fair and livable wage should not be decided by gender.

We need to provide accessible, affordable and quality healthcare to all women- everywhere. A woman’s health is between herself and her doctor; it is not the business of anyone else, especially legislators.

We need to stand together and proudly applaud the incredible and defining contributions women have made, do make and will make to this planet and we need to do it every day.

Supreme Court’s decision on Gay Marriage and the Affordable Care Act, July 2015

By:  Matthew C. Patrick

When I was elected as the State Representative of the Third Barnstable District, various pundits said to our incoming class that we would never work on legislation that would impact the lives of many people for the better.  They were wrong and we did.  Among many of the great things we were able to accomplish for people in the Commonwealth, there are two that have now spread across the country following our lead: Marriage Equality and The Massachusetts Health Care Act, which became the model for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

On marriage equality, there were several key votes while I was a state representative from 2003 through 2007.  All of these votes took place in joint sessions of the House and Senate in the House Chamber.  My good friend Senator Rob O’Leary sat with me in those joint sessions and we always had interesting discussions while listening to the speeches.  It was heady stuff.  During the first session, I told Rob I was wavering in favor of civil unions but he convinced me to support full marriage equality.  All the votes were to put the matter before the voters in referendum questions.

Later, I spoke in favor of marriage equality noting that to enable changes to decisions of the Supreme Judicial Court regarding civil rights of fellow citizens by referendum vote is a betrayal of my oath of office to uphold our constitution and an abuse of the referendum process.

I’m proud to say I always voted in favor of marriage equality in spite of intensely ugly lobbying efforts not to do so from within and without my district.  At one point, I walked out in the middle of Mass after my parish priest’s sermon in favor of allowing people to vote on the issue; it was a move dramatic enough to be noted by many people in my parish.  Even today, I still hear gossip critical of me for subsequently going to communion after taking those votes.  In the final analysis, I’m proud of my record on the issue and if I end up in hell, it won’t be because of my votes in favor of marriage equality.

More than anything else, I’m happy for all of our LGBT brothers and sisters making marriage legal for everyone in every state of our Nation.

The Massachusetts Health Care Act had to pass.  We were spending an unbelievable amount of our state budget to pay hospitals for emergency room visits for the uninsured who were not getting preventative health care. In spite of having the most expensive health care system per capita in the history of the world, Massachusetts (and the US) still ranked among third world nations in terms of outcomes and overall health. It was a waste of money and our Republican Governor, Mitt Romney, joined the Democrats in writing the bill. I still believe we should go to a single payer system such as Medicare for all, but our bill and the Affordable Care Act are steps in the right direction.  Millions of people in Massachusetts and the United States now have health insurance that they couldn’t afford before and it all started in our Commonwealth.

These are issues of compassion and equality.  Massachusetts has always been a leader and a voice for people who need to be heard.  I am proud to have had the opportunity to listen and act toward the advancement of the inclusive environment we started here and helped to spread across the nation.  My thanks goes to the people of the Third Barnstable District for giving me that opportunity.

Matt’s Thoughts on Labor

Having just passed Labor Day and looking at current issues surrounding Unions and living wages, Matt found two things he wrote just before voting to increase the minimum wage back in 2006.  Please see them below:

 

THE LABOR MOVEMENT

September 2014

By:  Matt Patrick

Growing up in a very active Democratic family I always knew that there was a strong connection between the party and labor unions.  My mother was the mayor of my home town but she was also one of the local party’s most active organizers.  The union guys were always involved in the party and its biggest supporters.  My father and uncles were members of the teachers’ unions.    Clearly, there were and still are strong connections between the Democratic Party and labor unions.  What can be more important than supporting your family?  What can be more important than making sure you have bread on the table, a roof over your head and a decent place to work?

One major difference between the political parties is their stand on labor unions.  As a rule, Republicans don’t like labor unions and will do anything to hinder them.  The decline in union membership and influence has much to do with policies set in place by Republican presidents and their majorities in congress from time to time over the years.

Democrats, on the other hand, have always supported organized labor and have been responsible for passing into law many labor protections that we take for granted today.  Because of the labor movement and Democrats, we have an 8 hour work day, a 40 hour work week, workman’s compensation, Social Security and child labor laws.

There was open class warfare between labor and management in the first half of the 20th century.  Hundreds of workers died in strikes fighting for wage increases when they couldn’t feed their families.  Workers were working 12 hour days 7 days a week right into the 1940’s.  Children often worked side by side with adults forgoing their education.  If you were hurt on the job there was no safety net for you or your family.  If you were dismissed for no good reason you had no recourse.  Labor unions changed that and we should never forget it.

Even today being a member of a union has benefits especially for low wage workers according to a recent study entitled Unions and Upward Mobility for Low Wage Workers by Center for Economic and Policy Research.  The study found that low wage union workers earned 16% or $1.75 per hour more than nonunion workers.  And, union workers in low wage jobs were 25% more likely to have health insurance and a pension plan than non-union workers.

This is why I have always supported labor in my ten years as a State Representative.  My labor voting record is better than 90%.  Income inequality also weighs heavily on society as a whole and the labor movement has done more to combat this than anything else.  You can count on me to support labor if I am elected State Senator of the Plymouth and Barnstable District.


10 Reasons to Raise the Minimum Wage (2006), Matt Patrick

Although there are many, these are my top ten reasons to vote for amendments increasing the minimum wage.

  1. In 2005 there were 9 million American millionaires, a 62% increase since 2002.
  2. In 2005, 25.7 million Americans received food stamps, a 49% increase since 2000.
  3. Only 3% of students at the top 146 colleges come from families in the bottom income quartile; only 10% come from the bottom half.
  4. American CEOs are paid $475 for every dollar earned by the average worker in their firm. The U.K. is $22. Canada is $20. France is $15 and Japan is $11. In 1990 American CEOs were about par with these other countries.
  5. Last year the CEO of Wal-Mart earned $3,500 an hour. The CEO of Halliburton earned about $8,300 an hour. And the CEO of ExxonMobil earned about $13,700 an hour.
  6. Bush’s tax cuts give a 2 child family earning $1 million an extra $86,722 or Harvard tuition, room, board, and an iMac G5 for both kids.
  7. A two Child family earning $50,000 gets $2,050 or 1/5 the cost of public college for one kid.
  8. Only the wealthiest 20% of Americans spend more on entertainment than they do on health care.
  9. The $17,530 earned by the average Wal-Mart employee last year was $1,820 below the poverty line for a family of four.
  10. Five of America’s 10 richest people are Wal-Mart heirs.

Sources: Mother Jones, May/June 2006, “The Perks of Privilege, How the rich get richer.” And The Nation, May 1, 2006, “$13,700 an Hour.”

 

 

 

Press Release: Matt Patrick’s Position on the Supreme Court Ruling against Massachusetts Buffer Zones

mattbanner

June 26, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Zelda MacGregor, 774.269.8867, zelda@votemattpatrick.org

State Senate Candidate Matt Patrick responds to The United States Supreme Court Ruling to overturn Massachusetts’
Buffer Zone law.

Plymouth-Matt Patrick, Democratic candidate for State Senate in the Plymouth and Barnstable District and former State
Representative from Cape Cod, was disappointed by the US Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn the Massachusetts Buffer
Zone law. The law, enacted by the MA Legislature in 2007, created a 35 foot safety zone around the entrances to family
planning clinics to help prevent violence against women seeking reproductive health.
“I’m disheartened by this decision,” Patrick said upon hearing the news. “That law protected people from the epidemic
of violence against women that occurs at these places. Massachusetts was a leader on this issue in 2007 when we
passed the law and I voted for the bill.”
“That there is violence and intimidation outside these locations every day in this country is a reality we’ve got to be
honest about and address with laws that protect women – women who are already distressed. The Buffer Zone did not
stop opponents from expressing their opinion. It only enforced a safety bubble around the entrance of the building.
Massachusetts needs to be a leader on these issues again, and I will work every day to make certain we are.”
Patrick has been a long-time supporter of women’s rights and has strong voting record to prove it from his 10 years in
the House. He voted for the Buffer Zone when it passed 122-28 in November 2007.
For more information about Patrick and his voting history, see his website at www.electmattpatrick.org.
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Ten Years in the Massachusetts House, a Legislative Memoir

It’s exceedingly hard to pass legislation.  I often joked with freshman legislators that the only reason stuff passes in the legislature is because it met leadership’s press relations needs. Much of what I accomplished were bills that were amended onto larger bills that were moving like freight train. These are the stories behind the bills that I got through the House.

The first bill I passed was the Mashpee’s home rule petition for an Economic Development Corporation with bonding authority, which had been languishing for years. My good friend and colleague Angelo Scaccia, who was chair of bills on Third Reading helped me get this bill passed because we had a history.

Continue reading Ten Years in the Massachusetts House, a Legislative Memoir