Over 50 local officials, municipal staff, and other members of the Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (MAGIC) gathered at the Maynard Golf Course on Tuesday, April 10 to hear from and ask questions of their state and Congressional representatives over a continental breakfast. Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, State Senator Jamie Eldridge, and State Representatives Jennifer Benson and Kate Hogan attended to engage in a dialogue, explain their legislative priorities, and talk about local concerns. State Representative Carmine Gentile also stopped by for a portion of the breakfast to connect with constituents.
The MAGIC subregion consists of members representing 13 communities: Acton, Bedford, Bolton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Stow, and Sudbury.
Congresswoman Tsongas kicked off the discussion after being presented with MAPC’s Congressional Leadership Award for proudly representing the 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts, exemplifying bipartisanship in the halls of the U.S. Congress, and her fierce advocacy on priorities benefitting Massachusetts and the nation.
Congresswoman Tsongas reflected on her career, her legislative successes, and the political situation in Congress before fielding questions from participants.
Lizzi Weyant, MAPC’s Government Affairs Manager, followed with a description of MAPC’s legislative priorities, including District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA), environmental legislation, and Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding. Executive Director Marc Draisen spoke about zoning and housing reform. A full list of legislative priorities can be viewed here.
- District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA) – DLTA funds are distributed among the states’ 13 regional planning agencies, including MAPC, to provide cities and towns with technical assistance and funds many of MAPC’s projects. In MAGIC, 2017 projects included the MAGIC Climate Resilience Plan, MAGIC Stormwater Partnership, I-495 Site Readiness and Priority Development Area updates, and a regional IT Services Office serving Concord, Bedford, Hudson, Boxborough, Littleton, Lexington, Stow, and Carlisle.
- Zoning Reform and Housing Choice: MAPC hopes that this year, the Massachusetts Legislature will pass a zoning reform bill that streamlines the zoning process, allows new zoning techniques for municipalities, and authorizes strong incentives for housing development, protecting open space, and creating vibrant and walkable municipal centers.
After hearing about MAPC’s legislative priorities, State Representatives Jennifer Benson and Kate Hogan, and State Senator Jamie Eldridge discussed their own budget and legislative priorities. Discussion and questions focused on the environment and clean energy, Airbnb, DLTA, CPA, education funding, affordable housing, public transportation, and the commuter rail system.
MAPC would like to thank Congresswoman Tsgonas and State Representatives Benson, Hogan, and Gentile, and State Senator Eldridge for taking the time to discuss local concerns with MAGIC members and everyone who came out for the event!
Read all the materials from the meeting below: