Jen Benson, State Representative, 37th Middlesex District
Jen Benson more »
Rep. Jen Benson

Jen Benson represents the people of the 37th Middlesex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. She first took office on January 7th, 2009, and has been re-elected twice, most recently on November 6, 2012. Jen served as a member and Chair of the Lunenburg School Committee before running for State Representative. She grew up in a working-class family in Rochester, NH and lives in Lunenburg with her husband and three children.

  • Strengthening the Economy Jen helped save small businesses $391 million dollars by freezing the unemployment insurance rate schedule and she will continue to work for strategic, targeted investments to create new jobs.
  • Showing Independence Jen voted against House leadership and her party when the budget did not provide adequate funding for local aid. She will continue to stand up for your interests over special interests.
  • Protecting Consumers Jen worked to write and pass consumer protection legislation to hold utility companies accountable after the 2008 ice storm.
  • Supporting Public Schools Jen worked to protect local aid and regional transportation funding from drastic cuts. She also wrote legislation to help school districts and families with special needs children.

August and September 2014 Update more »

October 6, 2014

There have been some great accomplishments and events in the district the past two months, while Beacon Hill has been quiet, as the Legislature met for the last full formal session, of the year, on July 31st.

Around The District
Rep. Benson speaking at pipeline briefing, Lunenburgh High School

Over the last several months, the proposed pipeline has been a hot-button topic among my colleagues on Beacon Hill, and in the district. The pipeline has become a state-wide and regional issue. In the beginning of August, I hosted a public forum with Representative DiNatale, Senator Flanagan, Representative Harrington, and Representative Zlotnik, at Lunenburg High School, to discuss Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C's, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, Northeast Energy Direct ('NED') pipeline project in Massachusetts. Although Kinder Morgan was presenting their project to the potentially impacted towns across the region, many residents and local officials were still lacking information. The intent of the forum was to invite Kinder Morgan to present their proposal, and allow residents, local and state officials, and business owners the opportunity to receive information and ask questions. The public forum successfully brought together many different communities. This discussion was just the beginning of forums in the region that have allowed residents to unite, and work together on the issue.

April 2014 Update more »

May 6, 2014

Benson hosts ASOS briefing
Around The District

In the beginning of April I joined Governor Patrick at the "Read, Explore, Learn More" Reading Series Kickoff at The Discovery Museums in Acton. It was great to have Governor Patrick in the District. Also in Acton, I had the opportunity to present a citation, in honor of receiving Eagle Scout rank, to Mr. Zachary Zambarano.

Throughout the month I met with constituents, in the district, to discuss criminal justice legislation, and An Act relative to the practice of athletic training (S1832). I also took a tour of the Community Health Connections New Regional Health Care Center, and attended legislative events hosted by the Worcester County Sheriff, and Indian Hill Music.

At the State House

There was a lot going on at the State House this month. As co-chair of the After School and Out-of-School Coordinating Council, I hosted the After School Out-of-School (ASOST) issue briefing to discuss the importance of after school and summer programs throughout the Commonwealth, and attended an ASOST celebration. My staff attended the 495/MetroWest Partnership Annual State House Day, and I was able to stop by the Minuteman Regional Vocational and Technical School briefing.

House passes legislation to raise minimum wage more »

Highlights commitment to addressing inequality, supporting businesses and creating jobs

April 3, 2013

Massachusetts Seal

BOSTON — Representative Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass a bill that reforms the state's unemployment insurance system (UI) and raises the minimum wage, changes that will make both systems more sustainable, fair and predictable.

To balance the needs of businesses and individuals, the legislation addresses minimum wage and UI in tandem. The bill proposes a new minimum wage of $10.50 an hour and a new tipped wage of $3.75 an hour, both to be phased in over three years. In the interest of providing employers with stability and accountability, neither wage will be indexed to economic factors.

"I was proud to support a bill that raises the minimum wage and reforms the UI System," stated Representative Benson (D-Lunenburg). "Increasing the minimum wage is the most effective way to combat poverty for families, especially families headed by single women. This is a moral, societal and economic issue for the Commonwealth and the country."

March 2014 Update more »

April 3, 2014

Jen with members of Boys and Girls Club

Happy spring, everyone! March was a very busy month both in the district and at the State House. Here is an update on what I have been working on, and events I attended in March.

Around the District

March was a busy month in the 37th Middlesex District. At the beginning of the month, I joined Undersecretary of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Aaaron Gornstein and many colleagues at the Forum to End Family Homelessness. I also joined Senator Eldridge, along with Representative Conroy, for a community meeting with restaurant owners and workers to discuss work and human resource management in the U.S. restaurant industry.

Throughout the month, I attended the Town of Acton's Annual Employee Appreciation Event, spoke at the Women's Business Network meeting, attended an event hosted by Just Understand My Potential (JUMP), celebrated the Lunenburg Primary School Community Reading Day, and had the opportunity to present Andrew Keir, of Lunenburg, with a citation and pin at his Eagle Court of Honor Ceremony.

October and November update more »

December 10, 2013

Jen Benson, Steele Farm

I know this is a busy time of year for everyone, but I wanted to take a moment to provide office updates from October and November, as they were both busy months in the district and at the State House.

Around the District

In October and November, my staff and I attended various events across the district and in surrounding communities. We attended legislative breakfasts hosted by the MA Municipal Associtation (MAA), the Minutemen Regional High School, and Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC). Also in October, I was welcomed by Commander Steven Egan and his team, with Senator Eldirdge, to tour Ft. Devens. The tour was excellent and it was fascinating to see various aspects of the base. I was also able to attend many celebratory events, in the district, such as celebrating Ms. Sharon Pecoraro's successful first year of business with the Spruce St. Cafe, the Steele Farm Conservation and Historic Preservation celebration in Boxborough, and the grand opening of Honey Farms newest location in Lunenburg.

New England Studios charity support more »

An Opportunity to See Where the Stars of Stage and Film Work

December 10, 2013

New England Studios

Chris Byers, Studio Operations of the state of the art film studio at Devens has announced this week a partnership with several local business organizations across North Central Mass and in particular the Nashoba Valley to utilize the new 4, 18,000 SQ FT studios on Devens to raise money, and food for local charities, in addition to supporting the military's highly successful Toys for Tots campaign. The event named "Elves for Shelves," is designed to have the New England Studios and the Mass Film Association spread good cheer throughout the year. Donations can be made out to The Wish and either dropped off the day of the event or mailed directly to New England Studios, 120 Studio Way, Devens MA 01432, Attention Chris Byers.

Byers will host an event at the studio on Saturday December 21, from 10:00am to 4:00pm where for a donation of a canned good and small toy you will be able to enjoy lunch and receive a tour of the studios sound stages where very soon Hollywood will be a major presence filming movies, television shows and documentaries. The studio is located on Devens at 120 Studio Way just off Route 2.

House passes supplemental budget more »

Legislation increases funding of critical programs and provides immediate $20 million for LIHEAP

October 17, 2013

Jen Benson

BOSTON — State Representative Jennifer Benson joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass a deficiency supplemental budget which allocates additional funds to existing programs and initiatives.

This spending bill is the result of an $82 million consolidated net surplus (CNS) from fiscal year 2013 due to above-benchmark tax collections and reversion by state agencies. The legislation also includes $20 million to provide immediate funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to ensure that Massachusetts families will receive these benefits if the federal government shutdown continues.

September district and legislative update more »

October 16, 2013

Jen Benson

As we move into the fall, I want to provide you with an update as I join my fellow legislators back to the State House after an August break from formal session. This past month I have been busy attending events centered around educational initiatives, healthcare technologies, employment goals, and of course, joining my fellow committee members in holding hearings to receive testimony, and additional information concerning bills before each committee. September has been a great kickoff to a busy formal session!

Around the District

One of my favorite aspects of representing the 37th Middlesex District is being able to attend various events around the district and getting to know my constituents.

The Lunenburg School Committee held a meeting to discuss H.1862, An Act Supporting Municipal Fiscal Stability through a Special Education Stabilization Fund. This bill provides an opportunity for school districts to better manage the unpredictable nature of special education costs. Specifically, this bill would give municipalities the option of establishing a stabilization fund that could be used to help pay for unexpected and unbudgeted out-of-district special education costs, including tuition and transportation. These expenses can present significant challenges for school budgets. This legislation offers our cities and towns another tool they can use to improve their fiscal stability. If the town of Lunenburg opted to start this stabilization fund, any time the School Committee looked to expend money, a Town Meeting would need to be called. I found this to be a productive and informative meeting with the School Committee.

Afterschool council holds maiden meeting more »

October 11, 2013


BOSTON — The Afterschool and Out of School Time (ASOST) Coordinating Council held its initial meeting at the State House this Wednesday. After reviewing the charge of the Council and a framework for moving forward, attendees briefly discussed strategies and best practices for developing partnerships across the public and private sectors, leveraging funds for expanded learning opportunities (ELOs) and aligning afterschool initiatives across state departments.

This Council was created by statute in 2012. Appointments to the council were made by Governor Patrick and the Commissioners of state departments that allocate resources towards expanded learning opportunities. Chaired by Senator Thomas McGee (Lynn) and Representative Jennifer Benson, the members of the council represent community based organizations that serve state subsidized children in afterschool programs, the Department of Early Education and Care, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Public Health, the Board of Library Commissioners, a Superintendent of Schools whose district offers afterschool and out of school programs, the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership, the Governor's Youth Council and a Parent/Guardian Representative.

During his opening remarks, Senator McGee provided a historical perspective to members of the Council. "This council is a recommendation of the 2007 ASOST Commission where the foundation for this coordinating council was established." McGee said "The entire nation will learn from the successes of this council. I am excited to start this work that is so vital to our children's future."

Rep. Benson announces state grants to cultural councils in 37th Middlesex District more »

August 22, 2013

Painting of Lunenburg by Linda Widstrand

Boston, MA — Representative Jennifer Benson announced today that the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) has awarded grants totaling $42,000 to cultural organizations, schools, and communities in her district.

The grants support a wide variety of cultural activities and projects that benefit local residents, while supporting jobs in the nonprofit cultural sector. The announcement was made as part of MCC's statewide funding program which benefits in FY14 from a $1.6 million increase to its state appropriation approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in July.

"MCC grants help to ensure that the unique cultural resources in my district and the extraordinary cultural activity across the Commonwealth continue to thrive and benefit our citizens today and for years to come," Representative Benson said. "The impact of state support for the arts, humanities, and sciences is significant; I'm delighted to announce these new grants today."

Legislative Update more »

August 1, 2013

Jen Benson

As we move into August I would like to update you on the work that I've done over the course of July. I've worked with my fellow legislators on many important legislative items concerning local aid, transportation financing, and the passage of a sales tax holiday to occur this August.

Local Aid and Transportation Finance Plan

I joined my colleagues to unanimously pass legislation that provides essential local aid to cities and towns.

The unanimous votes override the Administration's veto of $177 million in unrestricted general government aid (UGGA). The funds, originally included in the Legislature's FY14 budget, mark the first increase in UGGA since FY10. The legislation provides $920.23 in UGGA, a $21.25 million increase from FY13.

By overriding the Administration's veto of local aid we will be able to make responsible and important investments in the Commonwealth. The local aid funding that was restored in this year's budget will help to ensure that key services are protected and have the necessary resources that are essential in economic growth.

Summer Update more »

July 2, 2013

Jen Benson

Within the past two months the House has been very busy passing legislation aimed at reducing healthcare costs, financing our transportation system, and promoting clean energy. I also attended a number of events across the district and am preparing for the August break from formal sessions. This newsletter is to give insight to the work I've done over the months of May and June.

$34 Billion Budget Approved

As we enter a new fiscal year, the House voted to approve a new state budget that was unveiled at the end of June by a House-Senate Conference Committee. The House and Senate worked over the last weekend in June on the fiscal 2014 budget, as well as a mid-year budget supplement that will appropriate $55.7 million for snow and ice removal last winter, $10 million for youth summer jobs, $8 million for charter school reimbursement to cities and towns, and create a $200,000 fund to award home modification or moving cost grants to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing who have lost limbs.

House FY 2014 Budget more »
State House steps

April 24, 2013

BOSTON — Every April the House deliberates our proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. This month, I joined my colleagues in debating and passing a balanced, fiscally responsible FY14 budget. The budget invests in Local Aid and Chapter 70 education aid, and includes funding for programs specifically benefiting the 37th Middlesex District. I want to thank all of you for communicating your concerns and priorities throughout this process and want to share with you some of the highlights from the final House budget.

Local Aid

The House budget places a high priority on local aid, offering assistance to cities and towns still recovering from the economic downturn. Our budget increases funds to the Unrestricted General Government Aid that municipalities rely on to balance their budgets each fiscal year. I'm very pleased that my sponsored amendment to secure at least $2,000,000 in funding for cities and towns that host department of correction facilities. This will benefit the Town of Shirley and other host municipalities around the Commonwealth. I am pleased that funding has been secured for municipal police training academies across Worcester County and for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation as well, amendments that I was happy to co-sponsor.

House Passes Transportation Finance Bill more »
Women's caucus equal pay event

April 11, 2013

BOSTON — Monday night, April 8th, I voted to support transportation finance legislation that will go a long way to fund transportation through targeted investments and reform. My vote of support came after careful thought and consideration as to how this plan would best benefit my district and the Commonwealth. I want to let you know what the bill entails and why it is an important step towards improving Massachusetts's growth.

The plan relies on the following reforms:

  • Moves employees off of the Capital Budget over 3 years
  • Provides forward funding of the Regional Transit Authorities
  • Generates revenue to cover the Capital Plan
  • Gives MassDOT and the RTA's a long term plan to rely on

House passes unemployment insurance rate freeze more »
Rep. Jen Benson at hearing

February 6, 2013

BOSTON — State Representative Jennifer Benson joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing legislation that freezes a scheduled increase in the unemployment insurance assessment paid by all employers.

"It is my goal, and the goal of the legislature, to use the tools we have to help businesses maintain and create jobs in order to keep our economy moving forward." Representative Benson stated.

The unemployment system run by the Commonwealth is primarily funded by the state's employers. By law, as the funds in the unemployment system become depleted, employers' contributions would increase. Freezing the rate at Schedule E will save the average employer from having a near 30% increase for unemployment insurance per employee and workers would continue to receive the same benefits under this rate freeze.

Benson Appointed Vice Chair of Health Care Financing more »
Rep. Jen Benson taking oath of office

February 6, 2013

BOSTON — Representative Jennifer Benson of Lunenburg has been appointed the new House Vice Chair on the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.

The Joint Committee on Health Care Financing considers all matters that concern the direct funding of health care programs. The committee additionally considers all matters relating to any other Medicaid or public health assistance matters, fiscal matters that relate to health care policy, MassHealth, the Uncompensated Care Pool and such other matters that may be referred.

Representative Benson is very proud to have been promoted to Vice Chair of Health Care Financing. She is looking forward to working alongside Chairman Steve Walsh. In addition to serving on the Health Care Financing Committee, Representative Benson will be serving on the Committees on public service, and telecommunications, utilities and energy.

Utility Storm Response Penalties to be Refunded more »
Lunenburg Emergency Operations Center

December 12, 2012

BOSTON, MA — The Department of Public Utilities announced the completion of their investigation into National Grid, NSTAR, and Western Massachusetts Electric Company's emergency responses to Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 and the October 2011 snowstorm. The Department levied penalties after finding that the companies violated their standards for acceptable performance for emergency preparation and restoration of service. Due to legislation reported favorably by the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, passed by the General Court, and signed by the Governor this session, these penalties will be refunded to ratepayers instead of going to the general fund.

"I was happy to support this legislation because I believe the ratepayers deserve to be the recipients of any fine revenue, since they are the ones affected. I have seen the devastation from these storms, and the lack of response by utility providers, in my district and must do anything in my power to stand up for my constituents", stated Representative Jennifer Benson after the announcement.

Benson to Host Education Forum more »

Will discuss recent education delegation trip to Finland and Sweden

November 26, 2012

HARVARD — On Thursday, December 13th, Representative Jen Benson will host a public forum to discuss her recent education delegation trip to Finland and Sweden. The event will take place at 7pm in Volunteers Hall at the Harvard Public Library, 4 Pond Road, Harvard, MA.

Earlier this fall, Benson, along with nearly 30 education professionals from around Massachusetts, traveled to Finland and Sweden on an 8 day educational research mission to study Finnish and Swedish educational policy and practice and how it differs from Massachusetts. The primary focus was on Finland, which currently ranks #1 in international educational assessments.

Cultural grants benefit local communities more »

Representative Benson says state grants totaling $37,720 will go to nonprofit cultural groups in the district

September 10, 2012

Boston, MA — Representative Benson announced today that the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) awarded grants totaling $37,720 to cultural organizations and communities in the 37th Middlesex District. The grants support a variety of cultural activities that benefit local residents. The announcement was made as part of a statewide funding program by the MCC.

"Ensuring all residents have access to the arts and educational programs is a great service to our communities," said Benson. "I am thrilled that the MCC recognized the important role our Cultural Councils and the awardees play in enriching our communities."

House session wrapup more »

Important legislation passed in final days of session

August 1, 2012

BOSTON — This week, State Representative Jennifer Benson joined her colleagues in completing the Massachusetts Legislature's 2011-2012 legislative session. In these two years, the Legislature made major strides towards its goals of enacting government reform, promoting economic development, and spurring job creation.

"I am proud of what we have come together to accomplish this session," said Benson. "The legislature addressed issues ranging from rising health care costs and economic development to utility storm response and home foreclosures. We have worked hard these past two years to tackle some of the most important problems facing our Commonwealth and I am pleased with what we were able to get done."

June Update more »

July 6, 2011

This month, the House has been very busy finalizing the state's budget, and passing legislation aimed at reducing health care costs, financing our transportation system, and promoting clean energy. I also attended a number of events across the district and am preparing for the end of formal sessions in July.

Health Care Reform

The House passed a health care cost containment bill aimed at lowering health care costs this month. After months of negotiations, I am very happy that we have found a solution that will allow Massachusetts residents to have access to the same, high-quality health care while reducing costs. Massachusetts has led the way in making sure comprehensive health coverage is available to every resident and we need to continue to work towards keeping costs down.

This legislation will reduce health care costs in a variety of ways by promoting health information technology and the use of electronic health records, reducing medical spending by setting a target that will grow less rapidly than the state economy, and requiring high-cost providers to show quality or unique service in order to justify their higher prices. Also, the House bill will ensure that all consumers will have access to detailed comparative price and quality information and will allow all patients and providers to voluntarily join an Accountable Care Organization (ACO).

Benson Named to Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board more »

June 21, 2012

BOSTON — State Representative Jennifer Benson has been named to serve as a member of the Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board.

"I am excited to take on a new responsibility am and honored to be representing the House on this board", said Benson. "I look forward to working with my fellow board members to support Massachusetts workers and the business community."

The MWIB advises the Governor and Legislative Branch on creating and sustaining the workforce Massachusetts needs to remain a competitive force in the global economy. The board's goal is to ensure that Massachusetts' workers have the skills they need to fill the jobs that the state's businesses create. As the House appointee on the board, Representative Benson will draw on her experiences serving on both the Joint Committee on Education and as the Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business. The Board is next scheduled to meet in September.

House Bond Bill Includes Funding for Summer Street Design more »
Jen with constituents

June 21, 2012

BOSTON — Representative Jennifer Benson of Lunenburg, Representative Stephen DiNatale of Fitchburg, and Representative Dennis Rosa of Leominster successfully advocated for the allocation of $450,000 in the House's Transportation Bond Bill passed last night.

DiNatale said, "This appropriation is for the remaining design plan for the Summer St. Improvement Project located in the cities of Fitchburg, Leominster and Lunenburg. These funds will provide much needed assistance for a project that has the potential to be an economic driver, and it will have a positive impact on all our communities."

"This funding will have a significant impact in the area, helping to get the Summer Street project off the ground," said Benson. "I am pleased that we were able to alleviate the financial burden on the local communities and I look forward to continuing to work with them on this project."

House Passes Bill to Cut Health Care Costs more »

Includes Benson's amendment promoting women's health

June 7, 2012

BOSTON — State Representative Jen Benson voted last night in support of comprehensive legislation addressing the growing cost of health care. The Massachusetts House of Representatives adopted Benson's amendment to the bill aimed at promoting women's health by streamlining payments for routine physical examinations.

The House bill uses a multifaceted approach to reduce health care costs while still allowing the state's world-renowned health care system to thrive.

"As the Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business, I have heard over and over again how the mounting health care costs are burdening our small businesses and stretching our families' tight budgets," said Benson. "Massachusetts led the way in making sure every resident has access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage, and I am proud to be a part of our effort to lead the way on health care cost containment. The House bill presents a thoughtful approach to reducing costs while still maintaining high quality care."

May Update more »

May 31, 2011

As summer approaches, the House has been busy passing legislation helping prevent foreclosures, encouraging economic development, and expanding services for veterans. I also promoted Small Business Week as the Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Small Business, and attended a number of events in Boston and across the district. I hope you enjoy this snapshot of my work in May.

Small Business Week

Small businesses are the engine of our economy, creating jobs and providing the goods and services that keep Massachusetts strong. The last week in May was National Small Business Week and I was proud to recognize and celebrate our state's nearly 585,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Throughout the week, my colleagues and I participated in a number of events, including an oversight hearing on the Administration's progress in implementing the Small Business Impact Statement Legislation and other public policy issues affecting small businesses. Earlier in the week, as part of the "On Main Street" event, I visited Koko FitClub in Harvard. Co-Owner Jeff Granville opened the Harvard location 10 weeks ago, and also has franchises in Acton and Westford. With dozens of locations across the country, Koko FitClub offers automated personal training customized for each member. Harvard's Koko FitClub is a wonderful example of the numerous small businesses opening across the district.

Benson visits local businesses more »

Recognizes the critical contributions of small businesses to the economy

May 21, 2012

HARVARD, MA - Today Representative Jen Benson participated in "On Main Street," an event organized by the state legislature's Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business in honor of National Small Business Week. Recognizing the important contributions of our nation's nearly 27 million entrepreneurs and small businesses to the nation's economy Massachusetts legislators kicked off the week's festivities by visiting local businesses in their hometowns to thank them for their incomparable contributions to the Commonwealth's economy and to promote shopping small and local this spring.

Representative Benson, Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business, took part in the celebration by visiting Koko FitClub in Harvard, a new kind of gym. Co-Owner Jeff Granville opened the Harvard location 10 weeks ago, and also has franchises in Acton and Westford. With dozens of locations across the country, Koko FitClub offers automated personal training customized for each member.

February Update more »

March 4, 2011

Fatality briefing photograph

February was a short month, but we still got a lot done at the State House and in the district. The House passed a number of important bills, I testified on behalf of one of my legislative priorities, and attended meetings and events in Boston and throughout the district. Thank you all for your support and I hope you enjoy this snapshot of my work this month.


This month, the House passed bills updating our organ donor laws, providing courts with more access to forensic evidence, permitting solar arrays on capped landfills, promoting supportive community housing, and modernizing our government and finance administration.

As a cosponsor of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, I was happy to see the bill signed into law this month. This legislation clarifies the state's current organ donation law by prioritizing the power of attorney and allowing family members to make donation decisions as a group, bringing Massachusetts in line with federal law. Additionally, the legislation supports both the Organ and Tissue Donor Registration Fund, and the Department of Public Health's Advisory Council, groups working to increase awareness and help people register as donors. I encourage you all to look at the organ donor information included by the RMV the next time you renew your license or registration.

January Update more »

February 7, 2011

Governor signing midwives bill

The New Year got off to a busy start, with the resumption of the 2011-2012 legislative session, State House events honoring our veterans and firefighters, meetings across the district, and the release of Governor Patrick's FY'13 budget proposal. I also had the distinct honor of welcoming home members of the 25th Marine Regiment based out of Fort Devens. I was humbled to see our community come together so quickly to thank these brave men and women, and their families. Thank you all for your support and I hope you enjoy this snapshot of my work this month.

Around the District

This month, I kicked off 2012 with a number of events across the district. In mid-January, I celebrated Martin Luther King Day with Acton's No Place for Hate event at Congregation Beth Elohim. Carole Simpson, a pioneering African-American woman in journalism, spoke about her experiences during the Civil Rights Movement, the barriers she faced as a woman and a minority in the field of journalism, and her new memoir, "News Lady." As always, it was an incredible event.

House passes education collaborative reform more »
Metric groundbreaking

Bill includes Benson's amendment on school nurses

January 24, 2012

BOSTON – State Representative Jen Benson joined her colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing legislation on Tuesday that will improve the governance, financial accountability, and state and local oversight of regional education collaboratives.

The legislation establishes new procedures that will increase transparency and oversight of these education collaboratives, including new ethics requirements for board members and personnel, more oversight by the Attorney General, State Auditor, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and more strict reporting requirements on programs, services, and progress.

Benson and House pass supplemental budget more »
Rep. Benson after debate

Includes funding for Adult Day Health and Home Heating Assistance

January 19, 2012

BOSTON – State Representative Jen Benson joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing a supplemental budget for FY'12, including additional funding for the Adult Day Health and Low Income Home Energy Assistance programs.

"As the Co-Chair of the legislature's Elder Caucus, I am particularly pleased that this budget includes much needed funding for Adult Day Health and home heating assistance," said Benson. "These programs have been drastically cut over the past few years and this additional assistance will go a long way in providing necessary services for our elders. I am grateful to Speaker DeLeo for recognizing these needs and advocating for these crucial programs."

Acknowledging a remarkably bipartisan legislative session more »
Rep. Benson at orchard

January 6, 2012

As we enter a new presidential election year it is hard not to get carried away in the partisan rhetoric that constantly saturates daily news coverage. It often seems as if we are in two polarized camps lobbing grenades back and forth as the media gleefully covers each destructive explosion. But I entered into public service—first as a volunteer, then on my town's School Committee, and now as a State Representative—because I wanted to get things done, working with anyone who shares the common goal of making our community a better place. I am happy to say that, despite all of the rhetoric, our last legislative session was remarkably productive and bipartisan. It is clear that there are many in the Legislature who are willing to work together to bridge the partisan divide.

The recent Beacon Hill Roll Call round up of important legislation passed in 2011 profiled ten important bills. Of those ten bills it is quite remarkable that five were passed unanimously by Democrats and Republicans in the House: Freeze Unemployment Insurance Tax Rates (S 8), $200 million for Local Road and Bridge Repairs (H 3324), Changes in Trial Court and Probation Department (H 3395, S 1907), Major Changes in Alimony Law (H 3617), and Approve Changes in Pension System (S 2018). These unanimous votes on a wide range of issues are a testament to our ability to come together and effect positive change.

Operation Patriot Pride more »
Welcome Home cake for Marines

Homecoming Initiative for Troops

January 4, 2012

It has recently come to our attention that a Battalion of armed service men and women who have served our country overseas will be returning home in the upcoming weeks. For security reasons, their identity and the specific details with regard to their arrival cannot be divulged. However, it has also come to our attention that budget constraints are making it difficult to adequately welcome these brave men and women home.

As I am sure many of you believe these brave men and women deserve an appropriate celebration in recognition of their service as they return, I am asking for your help. Operation Patriot Pride is going to provide this Welcome Home reception for these service men and women, as well as their families.

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