There’s one way to showcase a community and its high school, and State Rep. Joe McGonagle did just that last week when he co-chaired a budget hearing of the Ways and Means Committee in the Everett High School library.
The other co-chair was Sen. Sal DiDomenico, who has brought the hearing to Everett High for the last several years with Rep. McGonagle.
“That entire hearing was good news to me,” said McGonagle. “The best thing we did besides working on the budget was that we showcased what a great city Everett is. The students were incredible once again, from the culinary arts program that cooked for us, to the string ensemble that played to the student ambassadors Supt. Foresteire had escorting visitors.”
Rep. McGonagle helped to chair the hearing of the Committee that saw more than a dozen members of the legislature, as well as Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash pay a visit to Everett. Others that testified were members of the Library Commission, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the new Cannabis Control Commission.
McGonagle said during this State Budget process, he is hoping to advocate for a state career center in Everett – a need that he said Mayor Carlo DeMaria called for.
“That’s one of the earmarks I’m fighting hard for,” he said. “One of the biggest needs the mayor and his administration identified as a need was to get money to open up another career center. Everett had one before and it was big for us. We don’t have enough of these and I’m working to get one back open in Everett. There are only 29 of these statewide for 351 cities and towns.”
He said that is part of a goal he has, the City has, and also the state, to retrain workers for the modern economy.
“They are really trying to train people and retrain them for modern manufacturing, and I think that’s very important for Everett,” he said. “When I think of manufacturing, I think of a factory that’s dirty and grungy and people punching in and out. That’s all changed. Health care is big in manufacturing. We need to train our residents for that.”
The hearing last week, and the overall State Budget process, comes on the eve of Rep. McGonagle launching his reelection campaign. He said in an interview last week that he is ready to seek a third term, and that he is just now coming into a good position on Beacon Hill.
He serves on a number of committees, including the House Ways and Means Committee and the Joint Ways and Means Committee (which was the one that met at Everett High last week.) Additionally, he is now the vice chair of the Housing Committee in the House.
“When you come in, you start on the bottom and you work your way up,” he said. “As you work your way up, you get more responsibilities and you have more that you can do. I’m in a good place right now. Our campaign is getting ready and getting organized and we are excited. I enjoy being the state representative and work hard at it. Once we get our team assembled, we’ll be ready to go in April and then right through the summer.”
McGonagle said one of the major concerns that has been on his mind is funding health care, particularly for nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
He said too many workers are not getting paid well and nursing homes are not funded well enough. He said because of that, many are leaving the profession and putting a strain on care.
“It’s about funding,” he said. “The Baby Boomers are the fastest growing population in the country. We have major health care needs…It’s scary.”
For now, McGonagle said he is ready to continue working for Everett, and enjoys being able to represent a city he loves and is proud of.