As a kid, John sold newspapers at the Wollaston T station. The Red Line took him to high school, college, law school, graduate school, and to the State House. As a regular T rider, John knew it was time for a new Wollaston station. Time to make it ADA compliant, and time to fix flooding problems.
John worked with the T to fast track the project, cutting months off the construction schedule and saving millions in the process. Now it’s done.
John has also worked to secure funding for new Red Line and Orange Line trains, for signal upgrades, rail replacements, winterization work, and garage and station repairs all along the Red Line.
Other priorities include Chapter 90, i.e. funding for local roads and bridges, and funding for the Complete Streets program, which has resulted in road, sidewalk, and lighting upgrades throughout the district. John continues as well to push for regular, reliable ferry service to Quincy and the South Shore.
A Veteran came to John, concerned that cities and towns were including tax liens on Veterans’ homes in those sold to aggressive private collection agencies. He felt they should be handled locally, by those who know the Veterans best.
John listened and then went to work, successfully amending the HOME Act, a Veterans’ bill signed by the Governor, to prohibit the practice.
Throughout his time in government, from the Quincy City Council to the State Senate, John has worked to secure essential benefits for Veterans.
Youth smoking rates were plummeting, so Big Tobacco started targeting our kids with e-cigarettes, filled with highly addictive nicotine.
They did it with flavors like mango and mint, with innocent looking devices, and through social media. Before parents and educators knew it, a whole generation was at risk.
But students decided to fight back, and John joined them, drafting and filing legislation to ban flavored tobacco products.
The result: The Legislature passed and the Governor signed a tough new law banning flavored tobacco products. The Wall Street Journal calls it the toughest in the nation. (WSJ 11/27/19).
Massachusetts was the first state to beat Big Tobacco, and now others are following.
For his work, John was awarded the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network National Distinguished Advocacy Award.
When John was first elected, opioid death rates were climbing year over year. As Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, he went to work.
John has been instrumental in conceiving, drafting, and passing landmark legislation. 4 major bills. A national model data collection, analysis and application tool. First-in-the-nation sober home certification, partial fill, and Big Pharma funded drug disposal programs. New treatment programs for at risk inmates. Access to treatment from emergency departments. Mandated insurance coverage for alternative pain management options and for addiction treatment. Education and prevention programming. Integrated housing and medical and behavioral health supports. And, harm reduction programming.
Still, the opioid epidemic fight was missing an important tool – data.
So, John introduced a proposal that became law. The Institute for Excellence in Government calls it, “a model of data-driven and interdisciplinary resolve, with results that have begun to turn the tide.” The Massachusetts Medical Society says it is “the first of its kind in the country, and is generating breakthrough findings on the manifestations of opioid use disorder.”
Since peaking in 2016, overdose deaths have dropped in Massachusetts. But John knows there is still so much more to do.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Libraries. Town Halls. Senior Centers. Coffee Shops. These are just some of the places John has regularly held office hours throughout the district, in Abington, Braintree, Holbrook, Quincy, and Rockland.
Always accessible. Always accountable. Always responsive.
John spent 8 years as Chair of the Quincy City Council's Finance Committee, so he knows how important state funding is to local governments. As State Senator, he's fought for funding for new schools in each of the communities in his district, for Veterans, seniors, police, fire, the libraries, and for public works.
Listening to his constituents, and working to secure local aid funding have been, are, and always will be priorities for John in the State Senate.
Kids and Vaping
Copyright © Keenan for Senate. All Rights Reserved.
The Keenan Committee P.O. Box 690-169 Quincy, Massachusetts 02269