- Senator, MA
- Senator, MA
Make Election Day a Federal Holiday. Americans Deserve Time and Equal Opportunity to Vote.
We the people believe that voting is the heart and soul of democracy. Nearly 60% of voting-eligible Americans did not vote in the last midterm elections, citing work or school-related conflicts as the primary cause. Americans deserve time and equal opportunity to vote. Blue Point Brewing Company, along with other forward-thinking companies, has committed to giving our employees the day off to vote. But we need implement this change on a bigger scale. Join us in creating the change and protecting democracy. Convince Congress to establish Election Day as a Federal holiday. Blue Point Brewing Company is committed to this initiative and will be making Voters' Day Off beer cans available for supporters to sign and further inspire change.
They Stood with Us: Save Iraqi Family Under Immediate Threat for Working with U.S. Troops
Mohammed, a 66-year-old Iraqi, and his family are in grave danger because of their affiliation with the U.S. military and desperately need to be granted refugee status in the United States before it’s too late. Multiple generations of Mohammed’s family have risked their lives for U.S. forces and to bring freedom and safety to Iraq. Two of his sons served as interpreters for the U.S. Army, and his brother interpreted for the Marine Corps. All three of them had their lives threatened, and one son was shot in the face by militia. Mohammed’s brother was shot, killed, and left dead in a dumpster when the militia found out about his work. Please sign my petition asking the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to expedite processing of the family’s refugee case that was approved approved two and a half years ago on a conditional basis. Three of Mohammed’s children (the two interpreter brothers and one of their sisters) have already been resettled in recognition of their sacrifices for the United States. But Mohammed, his wife, and his three other children (including a 12-year-old daughter) remain in Iraq, where they are in hiding due to their history of support for the U.S. and the deteriorating security situation in Iraq. While they wait for their case to be finalized, they remain a prime target for terrorist organizations. After over decade of vetting, they continue to fear for their lives and the risk of being them being killed because of their affiliation with the U.S. is increased the longer their case is delayed. Mohammed and his family firmly believe in the importance of U.S. national security – the family collectively made the decision to defend it at great personal risk. Yet, in November of 2016, the family received a devastating denial of their refugee case with no explanation. American citizens rallied behind the family and over 22,000 signatures were gathered on Change.org asking USCIS to review the decision in light of the sacrifices the family has made for the U.S. USCIS considered the entirety of the evidence and made a wrong right by overturning their previous denial. We are incredibly grateful for the USCIS officials who took a hard look at the case and put this family back on track for refugee resettlement to the US. However, it is important to remember that the ordeal is not over until the day the family safely escapes Iraq, lands stateside, and clears customs. Mohammed and his family have been through enough. They have had family members killed and wounded and they have had their family torn apart. All of this is because of their loyalty to the U.S. It is time to bring the rest of the family to new home in the U.S. They deserve to be reunited and should no longer fear daily for their lives. Sign my petition to ask USCIS to finalize their case. We made a promise to protect this family. We cannot let this family die at the hands of our common enemy.
Demand A Strong EPA For Our Bays
Let’s not trash the EPA. Reject Scott Pruitt as its new chief. Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works recently boycotted the vote for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This comes as widespread, bipartisan concerns are being raised about Pruitt's record of challenging the core mission of the agency he’s been asked to lead. Many question Pruitt’s future commitment to protect public health, enforce the law, and hold corporations accountable to maintain healthy water, air, and land in their business practices. Pruitt has sued the EPA on behalf of regulated industries more than a dozen times in an attempt to weaken regulations such as the federal Clean Water Act. These regulations form the bedrock of our work at Heal the Bay and our sister organizations across the nation. They are hard-fought gains that were direct responses to past disasters. We cannot go back. A silenced, weakened EPA is a threat to our Bays. The U.S. Senate will vote on the appointment of Pruitt as EPA chief in the coming hours amid growing concerns about a broad directive from the new administration to censor EPA research, indefinitely. As a trusted ocean and watershed advocate, Heal the Bay is guided by the best science, not emotion. Over the last 30 years, we have seen first-hand how the EPA and its partner organizations can improve public health for Angelenos through environmental policies and regulations. A weakened EPA means turning back the clock on our critical programs in Greater Los Angeles that monitor beach water quality, prevent unsafe consumption of locally caught fish, protect our dwindling wetlands, and keep our streams and watersheds healthy to buffer communities from climate change. Scott Pruitt won’t do it. Our vital work is far from over. Sea level rise poses a real and immediate threat to many U.S. cities that are unprepared to adapt to the impacts of climate change. We need strong EPA leadership and funding now more than ever. These issues affect us all. Sign this petition urging the U.S. Senate to reject Pruitt’s nomination for EPA chief. Tell our elected officials to maintain strong EPA funding for programs that affect our Bays nationwide. Call your local senators directly in the next 24 hours to make sure your voice is heard.
Re-establish the climate change education on EPA website
Prior to President Trump and the appointment of Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator, there was a entire page on the EPA website dedicated to climate change education. Many students, teachers and parents across the country used the page to learn about climate change and to keep abreast of new scientific data and information. During the Trump Administration, the link to the education site was removed from the EPA web page "for updating" and was never restored (old link here - climate change) In the wake of the devastation caused by the recent Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey, it is more critical than ever, to educate children, communities and families on the impact of global warming and how we can reduce our carbon footprint. Please TAKE ACTION and SIGN THIS PETITION to get the climate change link back up on the EPA website!
"CAP" Private & FED Student Loan Interest
Dear Senator, In 2018 student loan debt had eclipsed 1.5 trillion dollars. With roughly about 44 million borrowers, that sets the average student loan debt at about 38K per student. Society’s taught us all at a young age, that education was the key to success. We were told “get a good education and this will assure you get a well paying job after graduating from college.” This message is embedded in our minds early in life. Unfortunately, for many this could not be further from the truth. I know this letter may come across your desk and potentially be overlooked, because I am not a constituent in your state. But within your state are many just like me (thousands maybe even millions). Many do not know what to do, so I would like to be their voice and beacon of hope. I am a private student loan borrower (Sallie Mae/Navient). I (like many) could not afford to pay for college out of my own pocket. Thankfully, I was able to fund my 4 years of college with both Federal & Private loans (mostly private). While I am grateful for the college experience and degree I earned, it’s been overshadowed by the enormous never-ending growing balance post graduation. I originally borrowed 55,532.88 for my college education from Sallie Mae/Navient. I graduated in 2005. Year-to-date I’ve made payments totaling 59,509.13. My remaining balance is still 64,143.21. Seeing these figures side-by-side on my excel spreadsheets literally sickens my stomach. However, I am proactively working on a plan to pay it back. The statistic shared earlier shows that student loan debt is a problem in this country we call the “land of opportunity.” For myself and many others, we feel the mounting pressures of the growing balance even after repayment has started. Defaults rates are well above normal and will continue to sore. This is why I’m putting this petition together to call for reform to specifically “private student loans.” Upon graduation, the original principal in some cases have doubled, tripled even quadrupled because of the “daily compounding interest.” I am calling for Government Representatives to step-in and set a “CAP limit” on the amount of interest Private loan providers can add onto original loan balances. Balances are growing on a daily basis. The payments most students are making is primarily going toward the interest that is still growing daily. How are borrowers suppose to ever make a dint in the principal balance? It’s virtually impossible. The interest rates are variable and set by the lender. Why do lenders need to collect 2, 3, or 4 times the amount borrowed? Income based repayments (which is primarily for Fed Loans) isn’t a solution; it’s a Band-Aid. This only lowers the monthly payment while the interest is still increasing, eventually increasing your overall balance. We need real reform. Reform that will truly help all student borrowers pay off their private student loans with a “reasonable” amount of interest. It feels as if private lenders purposely want to keep students in debt well into their elderly years. Which morally, simply is not the right thing to do. Education shouldn’t be a penalty. Private lenders are profiting 2, 3, and even 4 fold at an alarming rate from “interest only.” How many executives are receiving bonuses? Why do private lenders need so much interest it they are claiming to help struggling students pay for college? I can not predict the future. I do not know what happens if this student loan bubble bursts like the housing market did some years back. But students are being left with the short end of the stick and mounting balances unless Government appointed officials create and pass real laws that will bring change to this predatory system “Private Loan Providers” have taken advantage of for so many years. #CAPstudentloaninterest
To open and maintain more public ATV/Dirtbike Trails in MA
As of right now I am up to $750 in fines for simply riding an ATV on public town land. The areas in which I and other ATV/Dirtbike enthusiasts use are created by ATVs and Dirtbikes to go in and around areas like landfills and powerlines. These are not beautiful places to hike or walk your dog but they suit us just fine. The problem is our State's strict laws on offroad vehicle use. Basically, if you own an ATV/UTV in MA the only place you are able to ride is Pittsfield MA, which is practically in another state form where I live. Because of this I and many others head to their local spots. Some are old quarries, sandpits and powerlines. However these are all illegal and I can attest to that. Like I stated before I am up to $750 in fines for simply wanting to have fun and not bother anyone. The state is not doing its part in providing enough safe space for outdoor recreational use for all of its residents. In my town alone there are over 70 acres of protected land that are permissible to be used by foot, bicycle or horseback. Some of this army land looks like it was used for nuclear experiments (no growth in forest and all sand). Yet still these sandy areas, perfect for riding ATVs and dirt bikes, is still illegal. As riders and residents of Massachusetts we need to propose the State to do something about this. Riding ATV's, UTV's and dirtbikes should not be considered a crime! There is a need to have more legal places to ride! In order to do this people need to register their machines. If everyone in the state registered their machines the state might be persuaded to take action. Massachusetts should also look to change the rules of legal dirt bike only areas to allow both ATVs UTVs and dirtbikes; for example Freetown State Forest and the Wrentham Trails. This would at least give ATV and UTV riders some other options without traveling 3 hours. Regardless we need to start a conversation with the State!
CONGRESS MUST ESTABLISH A FIRST RESPONDER PFAS TASK FORCE TO PROTECT AMERICA's BRAVEST.
America's firefighters have been on the front line of PFOA/PFOS exposure since 1983 while using it in AFFF, being sprayed in our eyes, mouth, nose, wading in it, having it adhere to our PPE/personal protection ensembles/turnout gear, and exposing our families to this toxin after bringing home contaminated gear. We were not aware how toxic this substance was. We have just recently learned our turnout gear, or PPE has been impregnated with PFOA since 1999 (at least) to make our gear water repellent so that it meets the NFPA 1971 water resistance standards for firefighting. We were not made aware. We do not know how much. Only the chemical giants have that information. We sweat in this gear, our body temperature rises and our skin absorbs these toxins. We start our careers in our child bearing years. PFOA and PFOS have been labeled under CA Prop65 due to potential for reproductive (and developmental) TOXICITY See here: https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/crnr/chemicals-listed-effective-november-10-2017-known-state-california-cause … In 2006 the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) notified the chemical giants that they would be restricting PFOA in 'textiles'. One of those textiles is firefighter PPE. By 2012 PFOA was designated Substance of Very High Concern by the ECHA. Turnout gear manufacturers were made aware of the decision to restrict the amount of PFOA in turnout gear to 25ppb and 'precursors' to 1ppm. As of today, January 18, 2018, they have not advised the US of this issue formally. While the manufacturers are discussing and teaching about the issue in Europe, they have not mentioned it here. They have only minimized the issue when it came up recently by way of a firefighting article here in the US. https://station-pride.com/2017/03/28/the-real-cancer-in-your-gear/ We are in a particularly high risk exposure setting as our gear has been degrading in our fire stations where we work, eat, sleep, since 1999. The coating on our gear degrades in UV lighting, in many stations our gear is stored in open lighting next to the engines and trucks in our bays. There may be as many as 30 sets of gear in a station in one week. The gear is designed to be used for 5 years and 30 washings. Over the course of 20 years we have had thousands of sets of gear in our stations releasing particles of PFOA into our 'home'. As of this date, there has not been a PFAS dust study done in our stations. Yet, biomonitoring has shown firefighters PFOA serum tested in ranges from 243 ng/mL to 423 ng/mL from a 'yet unknown source'. The 'DuPont Water Works' plant workers were high at 32 ng/mL. Adding to this IDLH issue is the October 2, 2017 NH DES letter to every fire station in NH that of 6 of 7 New Hampshire fire stations water wells tested at 'elevated' levels of PFAS. https://www4.des.state.nh.us/nh-pfas-investigation/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Fire_Department_H20Sample.pdf Since September 5, 2017, Environmental Attorney Robert Bilott, along with C8 Science panel member Dr Paul A Brooks, and Fire Chief Jeffrey Hermes have demanded testing and studies of the EPA, CDC/ATSDR, and US Attorney General on behalf of all responders in the US due to their exposure from these areas. See letter here: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3988104-Firefighter-Letter.html On January 16, 2018 Attorney Bilott did receive a reply from Patrick Breysee PhD CIH Dir ATSDR indicating the monies Attorney Bilott requested (7,000,000) from the recently found funds available, was not yet designated for FIREFIGHTERS. We seek immediate support and decisiveness that these funds are designated for the front line, who while already at a very high risk for cancer., was unaware of the toxin in our PPE and the extent of the toxicity of PFAS in the AFFF. The manufacturers were well awaare of the extent and danger of this toxin, yet chose to not issue the hazard in warning labels in our gear. They actually belong to a group called Fire and Emergency Manufacturers Association (FEMSA) THAT FOUGHT FOR, AND WON THE RIGHT, TO NOT PUT WARNING LABELS IN OUR GEAR. https://www.femsa.org/whois_femsa/history/ These same manufacturers sit at our NFPA standards committees deciding everything from the balance of a helmet to the width of reflective tape on our gear. Not once did they disclose this danger to us. These are very complicated drawn out committees, at any time a manufacturer could have provided a 'notice of concern'. They did not. We cannot wait one more day for money to be found while we don gear that is coated in PFAS and use AFFF that may or may not be safe. We have sacrificed enough, we have given enough of ourselves, we expect immediate action from each and every individual on this petition. We deserve nothing less. We have been kicked down the road long enough in this ruse of deception and omission of the toxic hazards of PFAS from the manufactures that provide our PPE and AFFF. Charge this back on them if need be. The PPE industry alone in the USA is over 5 billion dollars. On August 11, 2017, we received the test results of NEW, NEVER WORN 2004 turnout gear. We had it tested to determine if there could still be PFOA in the gear after 13 years. The testing was performed by Professor of Physics, Graham Peaslee, Notre Dame, IN. Here are his results: Dear Diane, Sorry for the slow response, but we ran your samples earlier this week (on Tuesday), and I have just looked through the results for four samples: Left Under Arm firefighting suit FF-LUAMoisture Barrier firefighting suit FF-MBTLRight Sleeve by Cuff firefighting suit FF-RSCTail firefighting suit FF-T The Moisture Barrier sample actually had two parts to it, a thin underlining fabric and the thicker outer layer. We labeled the thin fabric as MBTL2. The results are pretty unambiguous...Everything except that thin underlining fabric was heavily fluorinated: Sample counts/uC error ppm F Percent FFF-LUA 24682 2472 10555 1.62FF-MBTL 57530 5756 24603 3.77FF-MTBL2 485 98 207 0.06FF-RSC 20691 2073 8849 1.36FF-T 18212 1826 7789 1.19840 ppm F std 1964 128 We typically measure in parts-per-million, but these fabrics are so heavily fluorinated, they are better measured in percent fluorine content...each of the pieces contained between ~1 and ~4% fluorine (last column on right). This would typically indicate a very heavy treatment in PFAS chemicals to impart water and flame resistance to the fabric. We have seen values like this before, but typically only on fire-resistant fabrics. We also looked at these fabrics yesterday with an X-ray Fluorescence unit, just to test for the presence of other flame retardants in the material, and we did not see any chlorinated nor brominated compounds nor heavy metals, so it looks like the flame-resistant properties of these materials are being given by fluorinated compounds alone... I hope this information is useful to you. If you want to know which specific PFAS compounds are present in the fabrics (it can often be a mixture), then you would have to perform a chemical measurement using an instrument called Liquid-Chromotrography - Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). There are commercial companies that make these measurements (TestAmerica, for example), but they are complicated measurements and they typically charge several hundred dollars for a single analysis. Please let me know if there is any other information I can provide for you.... GRAHAM ************************************************************* UPDATE **** JANUARY 29, 2018 **** TESTING RESULTS CONFIRM PFOA PRESENT IN EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS IN 2004, NEW/NEVER-WORN STRUCTURAL PPE, SEE LINK FROM PROFESSOR OF PHYSICS AT NOTRE DAME, GRAHAM PEASLEE: Hi Diane, I have some LC-MS/MS results from an academic lab that I trust...they took the four pieces of clothing you sent me and took a small piece of each and rinsed it three times in heated methanol, and analyzed the rinse for the presence of 78 different PFAS. We know from previous textile work that this only will get some small fraction of what is adhered to the fabrics, but it will identify what is there. The results look something like this: Concentration (ng/g)Item PFBA PFHxA PFHpA PFOA PFNA PFDA PFTeDA FHUEARight Sleeve <LOQ 14 <LOQ <LOD 121 66 <LOD <LODLeft Under Arm <LOQ <LOD 13 116 74 57 <LOD <LODMoisture barrier <LOQ <LOD <LOD 41 <LOD 25 <LOD <LODTail <LOQ <LOD 14 <LOD 84 28 30 <LODEnvelope 46 109 <LOD <LOD <LOD <LOD <LOD 40 A quick explanation...these are the 7 diffferent PFAS that showed up above level of detection (LOD), or above level of quantification (LOQ). The PFBA are C4 acids, the PFHxA are C6 acids, the PFHpA are C7 acids, the PFOA are C8 acids, the PFNA are C9 acids, and the PFDA are C10 acids, and the last one is a C11 acid. The first four rows are your four fabric samples with concentrations in ppb, and the last sample is the brown envelope in which the samples were shipped, so it is possible it contained some short-chained PFAS that might have contaminated the right sleeve sample. If you want to send these to a commercial lab at some point, you will want to put them in individual ziploc bags. In summary, there are C8, C9 and C10 PFAS found on each garment, but less on the moisture barrier. These are "long-chain" PFAS, and the majority seems to be heavier than PFOA, although there is certainly PFOA present. Combined with the PIGE results which showed high levels of F present, and a methanol rinse that only removes a small fraction for analysis I would guess there is plenty of these long-chain PFAS applied to these garment samples. The lab also did a GC/MS test for volatile PFAS, and found only volatile PFAS on the Tail sample, but with fairly high concentrations: 6:2 FTOH (120 ng/g), 8:2 FTOH (3600 ng/g), and 10:2 FTOH (1300 ng/g) (with all other analytes below detection.) The fact that both the GC and LC/MS data are indicating C8 and C10 in the samples helps confirm the long-chain observation. To my knowledge, this type of long-chain PFAS chemistry is not typically used in textiles these days...so it is unusual to see them in samples. I trust these data, and you are can share these results with your colleagues - but if you want to go further with the data in a court of law or elsewhere, you would have to have a commercial lab confirm these results...and that is pricey I know, but now you know what to look for at least. Armed with this information I bet you can start asking who used these long-chain PFAS commercially in fire-resistant clothing. I wish you luck in your investigation. Sorry this took so long, but all the labs are very busy these days. GRAHAM from Diane : What is important to note here, is that this testing will only remove a fraction of the actual content in the fabric. So that fraction, was 5 times the ECHA limit of 25 ppb PFOA. 5 times.... just that fraction.. what were we wearing? What are we wearing? ****************************************************************************** ***** BOMBSHELL **** 2.20.2018 ******** IN 1992.. DuPont's own scientists found PFOA CAUSES *** YES, CAUSES *** TESTICULAR CANCER. THE NUMBER ONE CANCER IN THE FIRE SERVICE. THEY KNEW WE WEAR THIS GEAR NEXT TO OUR REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS FOR HOURS AT A TIME OVER YEARS AND YEARS... THEY HAVE SAID NOTHING.... EXCEPT TO FOCUS ON THE PRODUCTS OF COMBUSTION.. READ PAGE 29: THIS IS A DuPONT SHAREHOLDERS DOCUMENT. YOU, THE END USER WERE LEFT OUT...... https://www.healthandenvironment.org/uploads-old/DuPont_Shareholders_Know_More.pdf In addition to causing testicular tumors, PFOA causes many other effects on the male reproductive system,including increased size of the testes, epididymides and seminal vesicles, and decreased prostate in rats[2, 6]. In the female, PFOA causes mammary tumors and cellular effects on the ovary . ****************************************************** Senators, Congresspersons, please, we must have your immediate attention. We have been poisoned by the companies that have a huge money stake in every aspect of the fire service. We need water testing in our stations, dust studies in our stations, new technology that does not require PFAS and precursors for coatings that will form PFOA to meet our NFPA Standards, we need serum testing to follow us thorough our careers. We sacrifice enough. Please act. Respectfully, Diane Cotter Fireman's Wife