Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In Case You Missed It...

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr appeared on the Fox 25 News last night to discuss the troubling case of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver of Fitchburg, whose family has been receiving services through the Department of Children and Families since 2011 and who has gone missing since September.  Please click on the video below to view the segment in its entirety.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sen. Tarr's Statement on DCF Missing Child Case

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today, following a press conference by Department of Children and Families Commissioner Olga Roche updating the department’s response to the disappearance of 5-year-old Fitchburg resident Jeremiah Oliver:

“Today’s press conference by DCF Commissioner Olga Roche exposed more troubling details about the failure of the department to protect 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver.  While the commissioner is right to discharge those at fault from state employment, and to order better scrutiny of certain cases, the situation deserves more.

First, a system that tolerated falsified reports and lies needs to be reviewed independently to ensure that there are no other children who are vulnerable due to lack of home visits or other forms of oversight.  In addition, we must all collectively determine what reforms are needed to ensure that no other child goes for months without needed home visits.  And we must also continue to hope and pray for the safe return of this young boy.”          

MEDIA ALERT: Senator Tarr on Fox 25 Today

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will be appearing live on Fox 25 this afternoon to discuss the disappearance of 5-year-old Fitchburg resident Jeremiah Oliver, whose family has been receiving services through the Department of Children and Families (DCF) since 2011 but who has been missing since September 14th.

Senator Tarr will be providing reaction to today’s press conference by DCF Commissioner Olga Roche and Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary of Children, Youth and Families Kathy Betts announcing “action steps” the agency is taking to “help strengthen families and ensure a safe and secure environment for children.”  Earlier this month, the Senate Republican Caucus called for an independent investigation by Auditor Suzanne Bump and/or Inspector General Glenn Cunha into DCF’s failures regarding Oliver’s disappearance.

The segment will air live on Fox 25 today at approximately 4:57 p.m.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” -Charles Dickens

Christmas is the one time of year where everyone has the opportunity to feel like a child again.  It is a special day where strangers become friends, and where loved ones are honored and cherished.  It is the hope of Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and the members of the Senate Republican Caucus that among all the blessings of this day, that we each take a few moments to honor our servicemen and servicewomen who are currently home and overseas protecting this great nation.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Senate Republican Caucus Seeks Independent Investigation of DCF Services; Immediate Review of All Cases Warranted for the Welfare of Children

Responding to recent reports of the disappearance of a missing 5-year-old Fitchburg child, the Senate Republican Caucus, led by Senator Don Humason (R-Westfield), who is the Republican member serving on the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, is calling for an independent investigation by Auditor Suzanne Bump and/or Inspector General Glenn Cunha into the failures of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) regarding the disappearance of Jeremiah Oliver.
Since September 2011, Jeremiah Oliver and his family have been receiving services from DCF, however, the supervisor and social worker assigned to the family failed to conduct monthly, mandated household checks.  Sadly, Jeremiah Oliver was last seen on September 14th, and his whereabouts remain unknown.

In the December 20th letter to Auditor Bump and Inspector General Cunha, the Senate Republican Caucus wrote “Increasingly, as our understanding of the department’s failure to carry out its mandate expands, there are further growing concerns for all other children in the DCF system.”

On Thursday, December 19th, Commissioner Olga Roche of DCF announced that the department will conduct its own internal review into as many as 40,000 cases, however, citing the need for an independent review, the caucus wrote, “We request and encourage a full review and examination independently or in concert (by the auditor and the inspector general), of the DCF’s practices and procedures so that we can prevent any other similar abuse or problem from occurring.”

The Senate Republican Caucus requests that the investigation include:

* collecting as much information as possible to assess the risk and safety issues for children in the system;

* determining how many children have not had direct, monthly contact with a DCF case worker;

* determining the adequacy of the 110 CMR 6.00 and other pertinent regulations relative to case review procedures for children in foster care and non-foster care settings;

* determining the adherence to standards in comprehensive assessments and family service plans;

* determining the Department’s adherence to procedures established under 110 CMR 13.00 for the Case Investigation Unit;

* assessing the number of service plans initiated as a result of a 51A child abuse or neglect filing or court order;

* collecting information as to the standard number of cases assigned to social workers and the average number of children assigned to social workers;

* determining if there has been public access to appropriately redacted reports of the Department's Case Investigation Unit;

* determining if case management activities and other services provided to children and families were adequate and appropriately adhered with DCF policies and regulations;

* referring any relevant finding of a criminal nature to the Attorney General;

* providing recommendations that may improve the DCF’s policy, regulations, training, or contracted services; and

* providing procedural recommendations, that when adhered to, will require that DCF acts in a manner that is accountable and open to oversight.

“The nature and scope of these developing circumstances demand independent investigations.  Only through well-developed inquiry can we determine how to best help the staff and management of DCF to protect the lives of children,” the Caucus wrote.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Senate GOP Caucus to Call for Independent Investigation of DCF Policies

The Massachusetts Senate Republican Caucus – led by Senator Don Humason (R-Westfield), the Caucus’ representative on the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities – will be releasing a letter tomorrow calling for an independent investigation into the failures of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) regarding the disappearance of Jeremiah Oliver.

The whereabouts of Oliver, a five-year-old Fitchburg resident, have been unknown to the DCF for several months.  Earlier this week, DCF Commissioner Olga Roche terminated the social worker and supervisor connected to the case.

“We want to know if there are possibly other children under DCF supervision who may be in a similar situation,” said Senator Humason, speaking on behalf of the Caucus.  “It’s important to know whether this is a systemic problem or an isolated incident.”

“With one child in jeopardy because of serious failures of accountability, we can’t take any chances that there may be others that are in vulnerable situations,” added Senator Tarr.

Senator Tarr's Statement on Release of November Unemployment Figures for MA

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) issued the following statement today, following the release of figures by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development showing that the state’s unemployment rate has exceeded the national unemployment rate for the first time since 2007:

“November’s unemployment figures make it clear that we have work to do to bolster our uncertain economic recovery, and to increase our competitiveness in the national and global economies.  In that context, much remains to be done to ensure that we can achieve long-term sustainability and job growth by reducing the cost of doing business in Massachusetts and creating and maintaining much-needed jobs in our state.  Unemployment insurance reform, along with measures to confront the high costs of energy and health care, are just a few of the actions we must take as soon as possible, and the Senate Republican Caucus is committed to continuing to pursue solutions in these critical areas in the upcoming year.”

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Media Alert: Sen. Tarr On the Air with Fox 25

This evening at approximately 6:30 p.m., Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will once again be a guest on the Fox 25 News.  Tarr will be discussing the disappearance of a 5-year-old Fitchburg child, and the recent firing of two employees of the Department of Children and Families who were assigned to monitor his family upon allegations of abuse, but failed to do so.

Please tune in to see tonight’s discussion.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hedlund Named Legislator of the Year by MADD

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) has named Senator Robert L. Hedlund their 2013 “Legislator of the Year” in Massachusetts for his legislative contributions to the fight against drunk driving. David Deiuliis, with M.A.D.D.’s Massachusetts State Office, presented Senator Hedlund with the award at the State House.  In their announcement, M.A.D.D. National President Jan Withers thanked Senator Hedlund for authoring legislation improving drunk driving laws in Massachusetts, including Senator Hedlund's pending legislation requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.

Hedlund has been an active and effective anti-drunk driving legislator over the past decade. In 2005, he was the lead Senate sponsor of “Melanie’s Law,” the landmark legislation that was the first major reform of our state’s drunk driving laws in decades. Under Melanie’s Law, repeat drunk drivers who are still eligible to drive have to have an ignition interlock device installed in any vehicle they drive. Melanie’s Law also doubled sentences for motor vehicle manslaughter, created a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail for anyone convicted of driving drunk with a suspended license, increased license suspension for refusal of the Breathalyzer, created a new child endangerment by OUI offense, and increased penalties for knowingly allowing someone under a license suspension for drunken driving to use an automobile.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving deaths in Massachusetts have fallen over 20% since the passage of Melanie’s Law.

Last year, Senator Hedlund helped pass an amendment in the Senate to strengthen Melanie’s Law by closing a loophole that allows repeat drunk drivers who admit to sufficient facts for a finding of guilty avoid license revocation because their admission was not considered a conviction. The amendment for license revocation included repeat drunk drivers assigned to an alcohol or controlled substance education, treatment, or rehabilitation program. While the wording included in the final conference committee budget wasn’t as strong as the Hedlund amendment, it was another step in helping to prevent recidivism.

This year, Senator Hedlund has filed legislation aimed at closing loopholes within Melanie’s Law that drunk drivers have used to avoid responsibility and punishment. If enacted, the bill, which is entitled “An Act relative to enhancing Melanie's Law,” would; 1) make it more difficult for repeat drunk drivers to escape the harsher penalties contained in Melanie’s Law; 2) remove the ability for drivers acquitted of drunk driving who refused a breathalyzer test from applying to get their license back immediately instead of serving the mandated 180-day suspension; 3) ensure that the sentences of repeat offenders are served consecutively, not concurrently, and; 4) would give judges the ability to sentence habitual drunk drivers to up to 20 years in jail.

“Drunk driving is one of the biggest threats to public safety and we must remain vigilant to continue the progress we have made in our fight to prevent it,” said Hedlund. “I am honored to receive this award and I am committed to continuing to make our drunk driving laws stronger  and more effective.”

Monday, December 9, 2013

Senator Humason Named Minority Whip

Senator Don Humason (R-Westfield) has been named the new Senate Minority Whip by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).

As Minority Whip, Humason will be responsible for coordinating the votes within the Senate Republican Caucus and assisting the Minority Leader in developing policy recommendations for the remainder of the 2013-2014 legislative session, while also working to build coalitions with members across the aisle.  Humason succeeds Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham), who had served as Minority Whip since January of 2011.

Humason was elected to the Massachusetts Senate by the voters of the Second Hampden and Hampshire District in a special election that took place on November 5, 2013.  The seat had previously been held by former Senator Michael Knapik (R-Westfield), who resigned in August to accept a position with Westfield State University. Humason had been a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 2003 and had previously served as the Director of Legislative Affairs at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health & Human Services and Knapik’s Chief of Staff in the House and Senate.

“Don Humason has proven as a state representative that he can not only effectively and passionately represent the needs of his constituents, but also that he understands the intricacies of policy-making needed to get things done in Boston,” said Senator Tarr. “As the Minority Whip, Don will be an integral part of my leadership team and will work with the members of our Caucus every day to ensure that the Republican Caucus is effectively involved in all matters taken up on Beacon Hill.”

“I am honored to be appointed Minority Whip by Senator Tarr,” Humason said.  “I appreciate his confidence in my abilities to navigate the legislative process in the Senate and build coalitions wherever possible.  I am looking forward to working alongside my Republican colleagues in the Senate and with our Democrat colleagues on the other side of the aisle as we serve the people of the Commonwealth.”

“Although Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats in the Senate, we have no shortage of good ideas for improving the economy and making the state a more affordable place to live,” said Senator Tarr.  “Don Humason has garnered tremendous respect from his colleagues for his willingness to work with other people, and I look forward to working closely with him in the months ahead to address the issues that are important to our constituents and to ensure that state government is responsive to the needs of all its citizens.”

Humason noted that his hometown, Westfield, is known as the Whip City because of its history as the capital of the buggy whip manufacturing industry.  “I can’t think of a more appropriate way to begin my Senate tenure than as the Minority Whip from the Whip City,” he said.

The Second Hampden and Hampshire district consists of the cities of Holyoke and Westfield, parts of the city of Chicopee, and the towns of Agawam, Easthampton, Granville, Montgomery, Russell, Southampton, Southwick and Tolland. 

Senator Humason encourages his constituents to contact him at his Boston office, State House, Room 213A, at 617-722-1415 or his District Office at 64 Noble Street in Westfield at 413-568-1366.  His email address is Donald.Humason@MASenate.gov.  His website is DonHumason.org.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

North Shore 104.9 & Senator Tarr Hit the Road for 18th Annual North Shore Holiday Toy Drive

With the need for toys at an all-time high for local children, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and North Shore 104.9 will once again broadcast live all day from several locations on the North Shore to collect as many toys, gift cards, and monetary donations as possible to fulfill that need.

This year’s Holiday Toy Drive will take place on Thursday, December 12th from 6:00am to 6:00pm from ten locations on the North Shore. The live broadcast will feature local entertainment, school choirs and bands, great food, and interviews with local officials.  Even Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be lending a helping hand to support the cause!  The Paper Store has also partnered once again with Senator Tarr and North Shore 104.9 to present the 18th annual North Shore Holiday Toy Drive broadcast.

“The holiday season gives us all a chance to show just how much we care about our neighbors and the children in our communities,” said Senator Tarr.  “By joining together this year as we have in the past we can make a real difference in the lives of children who need to know that we think it’s important for them to have a happy holiday.  It’s about more than a toy; it’s about knowing they’re not forgotten.”

North Shore 104.9 President Todd Tanger stated, “We are thrilled to be a part of this wonderful event. The North Shore Holiday Toy Drive is such an exciting event that brings holiday joy to deserving children right here in the North Shore. We thank everyone for their overwhelming generosity and kind contributions, especially Bruce Tarr for his continued efforts and energy year after year. We appreciate listeners and clients allowing us to break from normal programming to broadcast this event and hope they help us bring some holiday joy to the lives of children on the North Shore this holiday season.”

The scheduled live broadcast locations, which are open to the public, are as follows (times are subject to change):

6:00 a.m. Capitol Diner 431 Union Street, Lynn, MA
Family & Children's Service of Greater Lynn, Inc.

7:30 a.m. Devereux House, Marblehead 39 Lafayette Street, Marblehead, MA
Toys being collected for: Marblehead Counseling Center

8:15 a.m. The Paper Store, Swampscott 435 Paradise Road Swampscott, MA
Toys being collected for: Toys for Local Children (The Paper Store in Swampscott will only collect toys on December 12th.)

9:00 a.m. Flint Public Library, Middleton 1 South Main Street, Middleton, MA
Toys being collected for: Neighbors in Need

10:30 a.m. Dawson’s True Value Hardware 50 Enon Street, Beverly, MA
Toys being collected for: Beverly Bootstraps

12:00 p.m. First Ipswich Bank 31 Market Street, Ipswich, MA
Toys being collected for: Action Inc./ Ipswich Caring

1:15 p.m. Woodman’s of Essex 121 Main Street, Essex, MA
Toys being collected for: Action Inc.

2:00 p.m. Manchester Athletic Club 8 Atwater Avenue, Manchester, MA
Toys being collected for: Pathways For Children

3:30 p.m. Shalin Liu Performance Center 37 Main Street, Rockport, MA
Toys being collected for: Action Inc.

5:00 p.m. Cape Ann Savings Bank 109 Main Street, Gloucester, MA
Toys being collected for: Action Inc.

In addition to the above broadcast locations, the below locations are welcoming any and all donations for the Annual North Shore Holiday Toy Drive. Please note that North Shore 104.9 will not be broadcasting from the below locations:

Wenham Museum

Cape Ann Savings Bank, Manchester

Marblehead Community/Aging Center

Abbott House, Lynn

Rosewood, Peabody

Align Credit Union, Danvers

First Ipswich Bank: Essex, Rowley, Gloucester

Honey Dew Donuts, Danvers

Delande Lighting, Salem

Beverly Chamber of Commerce

Additional toy donation locations listed at www.NorthShore1049.com.

Toys can be dropped off at any of these locations now through Friday, December 20th.  For further information, please call JoAnn Gillette at North Shore 104.9 at 978-927-1049 extension 19 or Senator Bruce Tarr at 617-722-1600.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Media Alert: Senator Tarr to Appear on WBZ Radio’s “Nightside” with Dan Rea Tonight

Tonight at 9:00 p.m., Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will be joining “Nightside” host Dan Rea to discuss the tragic case of Puppy Doe and the PAWS Act, the comprehensive legislation he has filed to address animal abuse.  If you have any questions or comments please call in during tonight’s segment by dialing (617) 254-1030.

To learn more about Puppy Doe and the PAWS Act, please click here to read a previous post regarding the issue.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Thanksgiving Message from Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and the Senate GOP Caucus

"Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day." – President Ronald Reagan

On this Thanksgiving Day, it is my hope that we all take a few minutes to appreciate the many blessings in our lives, and let us not forget the many Americans who are currently serving overseas away from their family and friends to protect this great nation.  May you all have a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Remembering a Great Man

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” - John F. Kennedy

On this day 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy was tragically assassinated during a parade through Dallas, Texas.  Even though his time in office was short, the Massachusetts-born president advanced civil rights in America, committed the country to the Apollo program, and created the humanitarian organization, the Peace Corp.  President Kennedy endeared himself to the world due to his dedication of serving others.  Upon his death, then-United Nations Ambassador Adlai Stevenson said “All of us will bear the grief of his death until the day of ours.”

Although on this day in 1963 will forever live in infamy, President John F. Kennedy’s legacy will forever live on.  Posted below is President Kennedy’s famous “City Upon a Hill” Speech, which was delivered to the Massachusetts General Court as his last formal address before his inauguration as president.

"City Upon a Hill" Speech (January 9, 1961)

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

I have welcomed this opportunity to address this historic body, and, through you, the people of Massachusetts to whom I am so deeply indebted for a lifetime of friendship and trust.

 For fourteen years I have placed my confidence in the citizens of Massachusetts—and they have generously responded by placing their confidence in me.

 Now, on the Friday after next, I am to assume new and broader responsibilities. But I am not here to bid farewell to Massachusetts.

 For forty-three years—whether I was in London, Washington, the South Pacific, or elsewhere—this has been my home; and, God willing, wherever I serve this shall remain my home.

 It was here my grandparents were born—it is here I hope my grandchildren will be born.

 I speak neither from false provincial pride nor artful political flattery. For no man about to enter high office in this country can ever be unmindful of the contribution this state has made to our national greatness.

 Its leaders have shaped our destiny long before the great republic was born. Its principles have guided our footsteps in times of crisis as well as in times of calm. Its democratic institutions—including this historic body—have served as beacon lights for other nations as well as our sister states.

 For what Pericles said to the Athenians has long been true of this commonwealth: "We do not imitate—for we are a model to others."

 And so it is that I carry with me from this state to that high and lonely office to which I now succeed more than fond memories of firm friendships. The enduring qualities of Massachusetts—the common threads woven by the Pilgrim and the Puritan, the fisherman and the farmer, the Yankee and the immigrant—will not be and could not be forgotten in this nation's executive mansion.

 They are an indelible part of my life, my convictions, my view of the past, and my hopes for the future.

 Allow me to illustrate: During the last sixty days, I have been at the task of constructing an administration. It has been a long and deliberate process. Some have counseled greater speed. Others have counseled more expedient tests.

 But I have been guided by the standard John Winthrop set before his shipmates on the flagship Arbella three hundred and thirty-one years ago, as they, too, faced the task of building a new government on a perilous frontier.

 "We must always consider," he said, "that we shall be as a city upon a hill—the eyes of all people are upon us."

 Today the eyes of all people are truly upon us—and our governments, in every branch, at every level, national, state and local, must be as a city upon a hill—constructed and inhabited by men aware of their great trust and their great responsibilities.

 For we are setting out upon a voyage in 1961 no less hazardous than that undertaken by the Arabella in 1630. We are committing ourselves to tasks of statecraft no less awesome than that of governing the Massachusetts Bay Colony, beset as it was then by terror without and disorder within.

 History will not judge our endeavors—and a government cannot be selected—merely on the basis of color or creed or even party affiliation. Neither will competence and loyalty and stature, while essential to the utmost, suffice in times such as these.

 For of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each one of us—recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state—our success or failure, in whatever office we may hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions:

 First, were we truly men of courage—with the courage to stand up to one's enemies—and the courage to stand up, when necessary, to one's associates—the courage to resist public pressure, as well as private greed?

 Secondly, were we truly men of judgment—with perceptive judgment of the future as well as the past—of our own mistakes as well as the mistakes of others—with enough wisdom to know that we did not know, and enough candor to admit it?

 Third, were we truly men of integrity—men who never ran out on either the principles in which they believed or the people who believed in them—men who believed in us—men whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust?

 Finally, were we truly men of dedication—with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and compromised by no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest.

 Courage—judgment—integrity—dedicationthese are the historic qualities of the Bay Colony and the Bay State—the qualities which this state has consistently sent to this chamber on Beacon Hill here in Boston and to Capitol Hill back in Washington.

 And these are the qualities which, with God's help, this son of Massachusetts hopes will characterize our government's conduct in the four stormy years that lie ahead.

 Humbly I ask His help in that undertaking—but aware that on earth His will is worked by men. I ask for your help and your prayers, as I embark on this new and solemn journey. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Senate Republicans Seek Fair Wages, Economic Competitiveness in Minimum Wage Debate

In the midst of an unexpected and rushed attempt to put Massachusetts on a path to having a highest-in-the-nation $11 minimum wage, Senate Republicans are working to achieve a more balanced approach with a fair minimum wage and economic competitiveness to create jobs and growth in the face of an uncertain recovery.

SenateBill 1925, “An Act to Restore the Minimum Wage”, was reported out favorably from the Senate Committee on Ways and Means last Thursday, largely bypassing the committee process since several minimum wage bills are awaiting action by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. In response to a very limiting deadline for amendments to the bill, the Senate GOP Caucus today offered several amendments, all of which seek to provide fair wages and a better employment climate so that more people will have a job to earn those wages and more.

“If the goal is to make Massachusetts one of the most expensive states in the country in which to try to start or grow a business, then the language of the current Senate bill is appropriate,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “But if we are seeking to boost income for low wage earners and foster job growth, retention and competitiveness, then there is a better and more reasonable approach.”

Avoiding the shortsightedness of the bill, the caucus filed amendments that would encourage job growth, increase the minimum wage to livable levels, and target unemployment by addressing the multifaceted issue from several different angles. Those amendments include:

• Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 by April 2016, and basing future raises on several critical factors, such as unemployment rates, rates of neighboring states, and economic competitiveness;

• Alternatively providing a onetime increase to $9.00 and leaving future increase to legislative action;

• Helping minimum wage earners with children by expanding resources through the Massachusetts Earned Income Tax Credit;

• Reforming the unemployment insurance system;

• Reducing the minimum wage for teens under the age of 18 by no more than 20% of the current rate to increase employment opportunities;

• Studying the effectiveness of regional minimum wage rates rather than a one-size-fits-all statewide rate;

• Combating high energy costs; and

• Assisting employers who offer health care coverage to minimum wage earners.

“Senate Republicans have offered an alternative measure that takes a more balanced approach in moving Massachusetts’ minimum wage amongst the highest in the nation, but yet still allows the Commonwealth’s business sector to remain competitive, while not further burdening small businesses,” said Assistant Minority Leader Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth).

“When addressing an issue that will have such substantial impacts on the Commonwealth, it is imperative that we take a thoughtful approach and carefully consider all perspectives and proposals,” said Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham). “At this time the Senate needs to act responsibly, not haphazardly to effectively improve the quality of life for all of the Commonwealth’s citizens”

“Something as complex as raising the minimum wage to $11 an hour over the course of three years can have several long-lasting, unexpected consequences that could really hamper our economic recovery, particularly small businesses,” said Senator Tarr. “The legislature should have a conversation to achieve two goals; 1) providing livable wages, and 2) ways to reduce the cost of doing business in Massachusetts. The Senate Republican Caucus believes we can have that conversation and achieve those goals through the amendments that were filed today.”

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Senator Tarr's Statement on Arrest in 'Puppy Doe' Case

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today, following the arrest of 32-year-old Radoslaw Czerkawski on multiple charges of animal cruelty in connection with the infamous “Puppy Doe” case:

“The prosecutors and the police in this case deserve tremendous credit for staying focused and committed and pursuing multiple leads to bring an alleged perpetrator of this horrific act of animal cruelty to justice.  Those individuals who would so callously attack a defenseless animal should be put on notice that their actions will not go unpunished.  Now it is up to the Legislature to do its part by giving police and prosecutors the tools they need to deal with these types of cases in the future by passing the PAWS Act.”

The PAWS Act (Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety) was recently filed by Senator Tarr and 75 other Massachusetts legislators to expand the penalties for animal abuse and cruelty and to create a statewide animal abuse registry.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Senator Tarr’s Statement on the PAWS Act

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”  - Mahatma Gandhi

Like most people, I was horrified to learn of the tragic case of a two-year-old pit bull found in a Quincy park with extensive wounds that included burns on her face, lacerations scattered on her body, skull fractures, half starved, dislocated joints, and what may be worst of all, a split tongue to look like a serpent’s.  ‘Puppy Doe’, as she is commonly referred to, was tortured to an extent most of us cannot even fathom.

When Puppy Doe sought love, she received hate; when she sought compassion, she received cruelty; and when she sought comfort, she received pain.  The individual or individuals who perpetrated these crimes against her are nothing at all, if not monsters.  They are subhuman, incapable of accepting the unconditional love gifted from animal to person.

Sadly, as I type these words, monsters, such as the ones who cowardly abused ‘Puppy Doe’ relentlessly, continue to commit acts of cruelty.  Often times, our laws refer to animals as little more than property, but we are a great society, and our society does not accept this notion.  Dogs, cats, and other animals become a part of our families, and have become a significant presence that we share our homes and our lives with.

On Monday, October 7th, the Massachusetts Senate Republican Caucus filed “An Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety”, or the “PAWS Act”, to address our antiquated animal cruelty laws, some of which date back as far as the 19th and 20th centuries.  The PAWS Act increases the penalties both in terms of jail time and fines, but it also creates an animal abuse registry of those convicted of animal abuse crimes.  Furthermore, the registry would obligate animal shelters, pet stores, and registered breeders to crosscheck the names on the registry prior to an animal exchanging hands. 

Importantly, the registry would be accessible to private citizens by visiting law enforcement agencies, such as a municipality’s local police department, and empower private citizens who list animals in classified ads with the tools to combat against those who habitually troll Craigslist ads for further animal victims.

We are a great people, but we must not sit idly by.  We must stand together, speak in unison, and declare that these actions, these crimes against animals cannot and will not be tolerated in our communities.  At this moment the PAWS Act has 43 total sponsors.  I ask everyone to call their State Senator and State Representative and urge them to sign onto the PAWS Act.

On a parallel note, I want to thank everyone for the tremendous amount of support I have received regarding the filing of the PAWS Act.  People from Massachusetts and across the nation have been extremely supportive, and I thank you.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Media Alert: Tarr On the Air with Fox 25

Tonight Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will be a guest on the Fox 25 Evening News to discuss the tragic case of Puppy Doe, a dog found cruelly beaten and tortured, and a bill that the Senate Republican Caucus is filing known as the PAWS Act.  Please tune in at 6:00 p.m. to watch this evening’s segment.

 To learn more about the PAWS Act, please check out Scaling Beacon Hill's blog post from October 3rd.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Senator Tarr’s Statement on Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Reform Bill

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement regarding today’s filing of comprehensive drinking water and wastewater infrastructure reform legislation in the Senate, a bill Senator Tarr is co-sponsoring:

“Water is a critical element of life, and we all must work to ensure that it is delivered sustainably and cost-effectively.  By expanding state partnerships to include support for conservation efforts, promoting efficiency and careful planning, this legislation holds the promise of helping cities and towns address clean water and wastewater needs without putting municipal budgets in jeopardy and without having to rely on a crisis to get local infrastructure the attention it deserves.”

Senate Republicans Fight for Animal Cruelty Law; ‘PAWS Act’ will Justly Punish those who Abuse Animals

Compelled to take legislative action against those who abuse animals, the Senate Republican Caucus is filing legislation later this week that would increase the penalties, and create safeguards against those who commit horrendous acts of abuse against animals, and are calling on their colleagues of both branches to make the bill a bicameral, bipartisan effort.  On August 31, “Puppy Doe” was euthanized after she had been discovered in a Quincy park suffering from long term, irreversible damage to her body, which included a stab wound to her eye; the splitting of her tongue to look like a serpent; dislocated shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ankle; burned, and starved.

“Our laws are woefully outdated regarding the subject of punishing those who abuse animals,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).  “As a society, we need to stand up against those who would inflict pain so ruthlessly and coldheartedly, and tell them these actions cannot and will not be tolerated.”

The legislation, which is titled “An Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety” or the “PAWS Act”, raises fines and penalties, and creates an animal abuse registry.  Highlights of the bill include:

• Establishing an anonymous animal abuse tip hotline;

• Expanding the use of the Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund to include the rehabilitation and care of abused animals, and increasing the size of the board that administers the fund to include a special state police officer from an animal humane organization, and a member of local law enforcement;

• Imposing a fine of up to $1,000 on any veterinarian who knowingly and willfully fails to report a suspected act of cruelty to an animal;

• Increasing the penalties associated with cruelty to animals, or maliciously killing, maiming, disfiguring, or exposing them to poison from $2,500 to between $2,500 and $10,000 (current law also includes imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years);

• Increasing the penalties for a second or subsequent offense from 5-10 years state imprisonment and a fine between $5,000 to $20,000;

• Increasing the penalty for a hit and run conviction on a cat or dog from a $50 fine to up to $2,000 fine and/or up to 60 days in a house of corrections;

• Creating a statewide registry of convicted individuals of animal abuse crimes, and requires all animal shelters, pet stores or animal breeders to check the registry prior to offering, selling, delivering, or giving an animal to any individual; and

• Creating a 9-member commission to review the state’s animal cruelty laws, many of which date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“Abusing or torturing an animal is a heinous crime and those who commit these crimes need to be held responsible for their actions,” said Senator Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth).  “As a state and as a society, we need to ensure our laws are designed to adequately punish those who choose to abuse animals.”

“This long overdue legislation will provide vital updates to the Commonwealth’s animal cruelty laws,” said Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham). “It is imperative that we take a stand to protect all those living in the Commonwealth. By sending the message that these atrocious examples of abuse will not be stood for, we are reinforcing the safety of our communities as a whole.”

The bill, which includes a key provision from H.1243 sponsored by Democratic Representative Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen), allows district attorneys to file a petition to the courts ordering a defendant to post a security or bond for the care of animals that have been impounded as a result of abuse or cruelty.

“Sadly, many of the animals seized by the MSPCA and other humane organizations require extensive rehabilitation and sometimes a lifetime of treatment, which can become extremely costly,” said Representative Campbell.  “I am thankful to Senator Tarr and his caucus for working so diligently to offer this legislative measure, and it is my hope that as a legislature we can pass this commonsense bill expeditiously.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Experiencing a Federal Government Shutdown

Today marks the first time in 17 years the Federal Government has effectively been shut down due to Congress not passing a federal budget.  While much of government is inactive until a resolution has been made, there are still some key functions that will continue to be in operation.

Those functions and services include: national security and public safety personnel, social security checks, some veterans’ benefits, unemployment benefits, food stamps, the U.S. Post Office, the Federal Reserve, federal prisons, air traffic control, emergency and disaster assistance, and many more.  However, even those Federal agencies could experience delays due to the furloughs of “non-essential” employees.

Attached below is a Veterans Field Guide to the Federal Government shutdown.  Also, please click here to view Federal agency contingency plans regarding the shutdown.  To read about which agencies are affected by furloughs please click here.  If you continue to have problems reaching a specific agency, please do not hesitate in contacting Senator Tarr’s office at (617) 722-1600.
  http://www.scribd.com/doc/172491610/Veterans-Field-Guide-to-Government-Shutdown"  style="text-decoration: underline;" >Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Senator Tarr’s Statement on the Senate Repealing the “Tech Tax”

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today following the passage of H.3662, “An Act repealing the computer and software services tax” by the members of the Massachusetts Senate by a roll call vote of 38-0:

“Thanks to a unanimous vote, the tech tax is further on its way to extinction.  Senate Republicans have never wavered in our opposition to this destructive revenue measure, and we welcome our colleagues to the effort to repeal it.  With the tax moving closer to defeat, we have a prime opportunity to insist on reform, accountability, and savings before further burdening taxpayers.  The time is now to change course, and focus on needed economic growth before it’s too late.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Senator Tarr’s Statement on the House Repealing the “Tech Tax”

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today following the passage of H.3662, “An Act repealing the computer and software services tax” by the members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives:

“Today the House has taken pivotal action to strike an ill-advised tax that has the potential to seriously harm our economic recovery from a long and deep recession.  Thanks in large part to the leadership of House Republicans and their steadfast opposition to the technology tax, a necessary correction is taking shape on Beacon Hill, and I look forward to swift action by the Senate to confront and eliminate this measure.”

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Senator Tarr’s Statement on Massachusetts’ August Unemployment Rate Figures

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today regarding Massachusetts’ August unemployment rate of 7.2%:

“The unemployment figures released today show a stagnating economic recovery and prove that we have a lot of work to do to create the jobs people need.  Rather than passing new taxes on the technology sector, we need to attack the costs that stand in the way of creating jobs, like unemployment insurance, health care, and energy.”

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Constitution Day!

“The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.” – President George Washington
On this day in 1787 the United States Constitution was signed into law during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.  America’s constitution was the first of its kind, governing the basic rights of all men and women, and has been the source of influence for several constitutions later adopted by other countries.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Yom Kippur Message from Senator Tarr

I would like to wish all of my Jewish friends, constituents, and the community an easy fast tonight as you observe Yom Kippur. "G'mar Chatimah Tovah!"

Thursday, September 12, 2013

MEDIA ALERT: 'Broadside' with Jim Braude

Tonight at 6:00 p.m., House Minority Leader Brad Jones and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will be featured guests on NECN’s “Broadside” with host Jim Braude. They will be discussing the technology tax that the legislature implemented in late July, and their latest efforts to repeal it.

Broadside re-airs at 8:00 p.m., and then again at 3:30 a.m.

House and Senate Minority Leaders' Statement on Democrats' Technology Tax About-Face

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester) issued the following statement today in response to Democratic Leadership’s support of repealing the technology tax:

“For close to six months, House and Senate Republicans have been warning the technology industry, general public, and our colleagues across the aisle of the disastrous effects of a tax on the computer software industry. Our warnings were not heeded, and the Democratic-majority green lighted the largest and broadest tax on computer and software services in the nation.

Today’s about-face is a clear indication that our Democratic colleagues finally understand how reckless and destructive it is to tax one of our state’s most profitable sectors.

We urge the Speaker and Senate President to immediately consider legislation filed by the House and Senate Republican caucus which would repeal the misguided and destructive revenue measure – without replacing it with a new revenue source.”

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering September 11th

With heavy hearts Americans remember the 12th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center by the terrorist group al-Qaeda, and the one year anniversary of the assault on a U.S. Diplomatic Station in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of four Americans including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, and Winchester, Massachusetts native Glen Anthony Doherty.
On September 11, 2001 nearly 3,000 victims lost their lives, while thousands more continue to be inflicted with long-lasting health problems due to the cowardly actions of those terrorists.  The tragic events of September 11th and the Benghazi assault continue to be felt today, and it is my hope that future generations are taught that while under attack America stood tall, did not waver, and confronted an enemy that sought so desperately to rid the world of the ideals of democracy.
Together we are a proud nation of people from many different origins, and this country’s greatest strength is our willingness to unite, especially during troubled times.  With the passage of this day, may we all take a few moments to remember those we lost on the September 11th highjackings, the assault in Benghazi, those who perished while fighting the War on Terrorism, and the many military and civilian personnel who continue to protect this great nation. May we never forget the events of those fateful days.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Republican Legislators Unleash New Effort to Repeal Technology Tax

Today, Republican legislators from both the House and Senate Caucuses unveiled legislation to repeal the Democrat-approved job killing computer services tax.  The legislative measure, which contains the same language as the ballot question recently approved by Attorney General Martha Coakley, is just the latest effort the minority party has put forth in eliminating this unprecedented tax.

Announced during a press conference at Genuine Interactive, a leading interactive agency, the proposed bill puts forth a targeted approach to repealing the largest and broadest tax on computer and software services in the nation.

“We can’t afford to penalize innovation and job creation in one of the state’s most promising sectors if we hope to have the kind of robust economic recovery that creates the jobs people need and the tax revenue state government depends on,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).  “The time is now to change course from increasing taxes on productivity and focus on creating a climate for job growth and reform and efficiency in our state’s operations.”

The filing of legislation comes on the heels of the Massachusetts House and Senate Republican Caucus’ statewide 2013 Technology Tax Business Roundtables. The weeklong series of roundtable discussions conducted by Republican lawmakers included conversations with technology industry professionals and representatives from area chambers of commerce about the negative effects of the technology tax. The roundtable discussions were initiated due to the fact that Democratic leadership did not provide a public hearing to solicit public testimony from those affected by the tax on software and computer services.

“Since this reckless tax on the technology industry was approved, we have seen a steady decline in business confidence within Massachusetts,” said House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading). “There remains absolutely no appetite for this tax, and it continues to hurt the economic prospects for one of our state’s most vibrant and prosperous trades, as well as other industries who are suffering from the trickle-down effect of this careless revenue mechanism. The way to encourage growth and development within the Commonwealth is not through ill-conceived taxes, but through business-friendly directives and initiatives.”

Republican lawmakers highlighted the fact that the Commonwealth does not collect taxes on any other service, and expressed fear that the computer services tax sets a dangerous precedent for future efforts to tax other vital services. Furthermore, House and Senate Republicans had each offered revenue-neutral proposals, which if passed, would have avoided the implementation of the technology tax. Industry leaders such as the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and the Massachusetts High Technology Council have repeatedly warned of the destructive nature of the new tax which is slated to stifle the high-tech industry by close to $500 million a year.

Genuine Interactive started off as a four person agency in 2005 and since then, it's grown to a 100 person company,” said John Grayson, Chief Executive Officer of Genuine. This tax on technology services is negatively impacting the business and is threatening the future of the entire technology and innovation industry. Out-of-state vendors are seeing this as an opportunity to attract businesses away from Massachusetts and that is going to affect the overall economy of the Commonwealth. In a market where work is already being outsourced to other countries, this puts yet another burden on the technology economy in Massachusetts.”

Having been filed in both the House and Senate, the joint legislation awaits assignment to a legislative committee.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Rosh Hashanah Message from Senator Tarr

With the sacred Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah having commenced last night, I would like to wish all of my Jewish friends, constituents, and the community peace, prosperity, and happiness for the year ahead. L’ Shanah Tovah!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Remembering the 1963 March on Washington

Every man is our brother, and every man’s burden is our own. Where poverty exists, all are poorer. Where hate flourishes, all are corrupted. Where injustice reins, all are unequal.” –Whitney Young

50 years ago on this day, the group of men fondly known as the “Big Six” marched arm in arm with hundreds of thousands of civil rights activists and supporters from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.  Armed with the courage, faith, and perseverance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins, Congressman John Lewis, Asa Phillip Randolph, Whitney Young, and James Farmer, Jr., over 200,000 individuals were led through the Washington Mall and stood unified to send a resounding message demanding the end of civil and economic discrimination.

During preparations of the March on Washington rally, organizers were harassed repeatedly, often receiving death threats to cease their actions.  However, civil rights leaders everywhere did not waver and continued to move forward.  Through their efforts the civil rights movement in America galvanized people everywhere to support the cause that every man, woman, and child deserved the same unalienable rights that the constitution guarantees.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech is often revered as the highlight of that historic march.  His speech still sparks inspiration, provides hope, and infuses courage to those who read those remarkable words and dares to dream.  Dr. King and the other members of the “Big Six” stood up to intolerance and racial injustice in America, and worked tirelessly to spread their message of equality for all utilizing nonviolent protests.  Through their efforts, and the efforts of countless others, the United States of American was led down a better path and has become a better and stronger nation.

Less than a year later the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed.  Sadly Medgar Evers, Rev. George Lee, Herbert Lee, William Lewis Moore, and many other civil rights activists were killed prior to its passage.

Posted below is the actual text of Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech.

Full text to the "I Have a Dream" speech:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." 

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”