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SH News March of Dimes Rep Haddad Host New Legislator Reception at Statehouse


SH News: March of Dimes & Rep. Haddad Host New Legislator Reception at Statehouse


By Kyle Cheney

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, NOV. 18, 2010…..Fresh off the campaign trail, a dozen newly elected state lawmakers got a fast lesson in a longtime Beacon Hill reality: “The traffic sucks.”

So spoke Rep. Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset), a veteran legislator who – about 20 minutes belatedly – welcomed her new colleagues to a capitol hearing room for a meet-and-greet and a policy pitch from the March of Dimes.

The reception was held in the cramped, low-ceilinged room that has long served as a holding area for legislative freshmen.

A bipartisan bunch of incoming House members were on hand: Democrats Chris Walsh of Framingham, Paul Schmid of Westport, Paul Brodeur of Melrose, Tackey Chan of Quincy, Russell Holmes of Boston and Ed Coppinger of South Boston, as well as Republicans Angelo D’Emilia of Bridgewater, Richard Bastien of Gardner, Steve Levy of Marlborough, Kimberly Ferguson of Holden, and Shaunna O’Connell of Taunton.

Rep. Michael Rush (D-West Roxbury), elected to the Senate this month, attended as well.

Haddad had other advice for her new colleagues.

“You just got elected and a lot of people are telling you it’s a great honor, it’s a great responsibility, it’s an amazing challenge. But I think it’s a gift,” she said. “And in the arena of pay-it-forward, this is an opportunity for you because you’ve been given this gift to now use it to advocate for people who really need our help.”

March of Dimes officials greeted members with a 30-minute briefing on issues of premature births, women’s health and smoking addiction. Among their legislative priorities for the upcoming two-year session are proposals to require Commonwealth Care insurers and the Group Insurance Commission to cover tobacco cessation and to disseminate educational materials about premature birth to health care providers. The group’s budgetary priorities include funding for early intervention programs for children with disabilities and funding for monitoring and reporting on birth defects.

Haddad said her brother is Connecticut’s state director for the March of Dimes and met his wife in the 1980s at a March of Dimes charity auction.

“I promised that I would do a much better job in honor of their most recent anniversary and get people here on a bipartisan nature,” she said. “This is not a partisan type of issue. We can all come together. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to bring together the new reps and start to indoctrinate you into how important it is to be an advocate.”

D’Emilia, the Bridgewater Republican, told the News Service afterward that he intends to work across the aisle and that he, like many of his freshmen colleagues, campaigned on economic issues.

“No matter red or blue, I think it’s important to put that aside and do the work of the people,” he said.