Deval Patrick Speaks at Rosie's Places

Nearly fifty low-income and homeless women listened and asked questions as Governor Deval Patrick highlighted his time as governor.

During the elections Governor Deval Patrick made an appearance at Rosie’s Place, a women’s shelter in Boston. During his visit he spoke to nearly fifty women and stressed issues surrounding Housing, CORI Reform and MassHealth.

During his hour-long visit he stressed his views on housing and his preference of permanent housing over the shelter system.

“We have money from the federal and state government combined to help change people from staying in the shelters to permanent Housing,” said Governor Patrick.

When he started talking about CORI Reform one woman didn’t know anything about it. She thought that CORI was a person. Deval stated to her and the rest of us ladies: “I signed a comprehensive CORI Reform bill which is tough on crime, helps reduce recidivism to jail, and gives ex-offenders an opportunity to get back on their feet towards leading productive lives,” said Governor Patrick.

Governor Patrick explained that he supported the CORI Reform Bill because it was a way to help people secure housing and jobs when they got out of jail, and that it was necessary to help the people who’d never been to jail but had a criminal history.

Governor Patrick asked how many of us had heard of the CORI Reform Bill before and how many of us had criminal histories. I was surprised to find that five women knew nothing about CORI Reform. Furthermore, about half of the remaining women had CORI’s because of petty crimes, while the other half of the women had serious issues which were keeping them from getting a place to live or a job.

CORI Reform was a very important issue for Governor Patrick to address because of his stated goal to end homelessness in Massachusetts. His views are reflective of this idea when he told the ladies at Rosie’s Place the following things which were on his mind;

“We’ve seen the largest private-sector job gain in 20 years here in Massachusetts within the last six consecutive months and that’s twice as fast as the rest of the nation. The economy is bad but $300 million in state and federal funds has been invested in training programs to put the unemployed back to work, and $10 billion has been invested in creating Green Jobs.

“If you have issues around housing because of your CORI then I suggest you talk to a lawyer. If you want, “I can make you a referral to talk to the Attorney General. That’s part of their job” said Governor Patrick.

Once we started talking about MassHealth I found Governor Patrick was very interesting to listen to when he was talking. I learned things that I didn’t know before about MassHealth such as;

“The House has held up the vote on MassHealth, but Congress has given $4.3 million dollars to help with the increasing price of MassHealth,” said Governor Patrick.

The governor stated that he was in support of The Anti-Bullying Laws, MassHealth and Green Jobs such as The Cape Wind wind farm program. His points of interest were stated as being good for our health and;

“I have implemented health insurance reform which resulted in 97.5 percent of Bay State residents having coverage and over 400,000 are now covered who weren’t before and my administration has ended the risk of losing health coverage for loss of job, preexisting conditions, or personal bankruptcy as a result of a serious illness.

Along with implementing insurance reform resulting in 97.5 percent of Bay State residents having coverage, Governor Patrick also spoke about what he has done to curb skyrocketing health care costs.

“My administration helped curb the skyrocketing health care costs of small businesses by successfully negotiating for lower caps on excessive health care premiums with the state’s four largest health insurance companies, bringing rate relief to 90% of the Commonwealth’s small businesses.

“I signed legislation in August to provide further tools for small businesses allowing them to save an additional 12% in health insurance costs,” said Governor Patrick.

“I helped expand and launch new health services for returning soldiers and my Massachusetts has had invested $500,000 to train returning veterans for Green Jobs,” said Governor Patrick.

“My administration passed the largest land conservation initiative in the history of the nation,” said Governor Patrick. “Massachusetts has the strongest laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, quadrupled the number of solar companies and nearly tripled solar jobs in Massachusetts, and we’ve finally made Cape Wind a reality in Massachusetts.”

These are good things that Governor Patrick has done in the past but he never mentioned the bad things, or things such as cutting the budget to the MassHealth Dental Care Program, among other budget cuts.

Beatrice Bell is a vendor and a writer for Spare Change News.