Columnist Lindsay Sabadosa: A peek inside my calendar on a typical day in the district

  • Lindsay Sabadosa GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 3/15/2019 10:07:26 AM

“How far do you drive a week?” “Do you really commute?” “How often are you in Boston?”

Based on the questions I get about being a state representative, Boston is often on the forefront of people’s minds and what goes on in the House. While I feel like I never stop running in Boston, I oddly find that I drive more on the days I am in district, starting events much earlier and ending them much later.

I have always spent a lot of time talking about how much I love the 1st Hampshire District, but I get to see it through new eyes as a state representative. So, this month, I’m offering you a peek into my calendar on a district day.

9 a.m. — Tour of the Academy of Music.

Although I’ve visited dozens of times, I had never done a backstage tour of the Academy. Some of my favorite highlights are the former projection room upstairs and the incredible views from the third-floor stairs (now in disuse). The Academy needs renovations and thus legislative assistance to release funding from a bond bill.

10 a.m. — Southampton Office Hours/Radio Interview

Mid-tour of the Academy, Laura, my aide, heads to Southampton for office hours (we try to alternate who covers office hours across the district), while I do a radio interview about my legislation with Rep. Nika Elugardo to change the state seal. Laura Britton comes back with a few constituent cases that we begin to discuss.

11 a.m. — Meeting about Cannabis Policy

Having been appointed to the Cannabis Committee, I’m now getting lots of meeting requests from people who want to talk about host community agreements, social consumption sites, and more. In this meeting, we go through several of the bills that will come before the committee for hearings.

12 p.m. — Meeting on Solar

This meeting involves a constituent whose business is being hurt by the SMART program, which is supposed to incentivize solar conversion but has not kept up with demand and the true need to switch to solar given climate change. We come up with a plan to find out more about the program’s review process and offer input.

1 p.m. — Medicare for All Caucus Call with MassCare/Health Care Waiver Call

As I join a conference call with Sen. Jo Comerford, Sen. James Eldridge, Rep. Tami Gouveia and the MassCare board about our first Medicare for All Caucus meeting (next week in the State House), Laura dials in to a national call about the future of health care waivers. Part of implementing Medicare for All in Massachusetts will require careful analysis of the waivers and federal funding so this call is important for future planning.

2 p.m. — Northampton Office Hours

Laura and I head into office hours at the Northampton Senior Center together to talk with constituents who need help navigating state and local agencies.

3 p.m. — Northampton Recovery Center

At the invitation of a volunteer, I visit the Center, which serves people going through recovery, families who have lost loved ones, youth who need a welcoming and safe community, and so much more. I am incredibly impressed with their services — and the number of visits they receive each week.

6 p.m. — Green River Doula Network to talk about doula legislation

I’m proud to have filed a bill with Rep. Liz Miranda that would require MassHealth to cover doula services as doula care is shown to reduce maternal mortality rates. This meeting is to go over the legislation to get feedback on ways to improve it so that it best serves new parents and the doulas who help them.

Of course, this is just one day and doesn’t include things like trips to Hatfield to meet with district heads, agricultural commission meetings in Westhampton, and visits to the Grille in Montgomery. Those are all on the calendar too, which at this point is a sea of color-coded events. It would take a course in cryptology to decipher for people outside my office, but it is the first thing I look at every morning and is something that I view as my guide to the wonderful mix of different voices and perspectives from this district that instruct my legislative work.

Someone recently told me that, polls suggest, people don’t like it when politicians say that they will fight for issues because it neglects the fact that their constituents have been fighting for these issues for years. Constituents instead need someone who will fight alongside them and help elevate their voice. I view my district days as a way to do that more effectively, but they are also a good reminder for me about what’s most important when I am in Boston — the people of this district.

Lindsay Sabadosa is a Northampton resident and the state representative for the 1st Hampshire District: Northampton, Southampton, Westhampton, Hatfield and Montgomery. Her column runs the third Friday of every month. She can be reached at opinion@gazettenet.com.


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