Top Issues Discussed During 2nd Annual “State of the Cape”

DENNIS PORT – Cape Cod’s legislative delegation met in Dennis Port on Friday to discuss the most prominent issues facing the region during the 2nd Annual “State of the Cape”.

Hosted by CCB Media and the Cape Cod Community Media Center, the event examined issues ranging from the opiate epidemic, helping local businesses and initiatives that the legislators are working on.

Senator Julian Cyr, Senator Vinny deMacedo, Representative Tim Whelan, Representative Sarah Peake, Representative David Vieira, Representative Randy Hunt, Representative Dylan Fernandes and Representative Will Crocker were the legislators that took part in the discussion.

The opioid epidemic on the Cape was the most discussed issue by the legislators during the event.

Sen. Julian Cyr

Cyr, who is one of the three local politicians that were newly elected, said that he knows how important it is to address the topic.

“Looking at the research around how do you have successful interventions for people who recover, this is a disease and a brain disease that essentially takes people 7, 8, 9 years to recover and they live with it for the rest of their lives,” said Cyr.

Whelan, who recently co-sponsored a bill that adds carfentanil to the state’s list of controlled substances, said that the synthetic drug is dangerous.

“It’s resulted in overdoses all over New England, it just hasn’t knocked on our doors yet here in Massachusetts, but it’s going to, and it’s going to be horrific when it does,” said Whelan.

deMacedo, who is serving his 19th year in the Legislature, said that addressing the opioid epidemic should be a high priority for the region.

“The reason we’re talking about and spending so much time on this is that’s how important this issue is,” said deMacedo. “It is so significant because every week, we are ending up at a funeral for a twenty-something year old individual and older, we’re seeing it affect everybody.”

Peake, who is in her 11th year in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, said that’s she working with CCRTA Administrator Tom Cahir to make transportation better in her district.

“Transportation gets to be more and more of a challenge and as transportation is a challenge that leads to other challenges around economic opportunity, isolation for our seniors who live there and a whole host of things,” said Peake.

State Rep. Tim Whelan

Vieira is a ranking member of the public security homeland security committee and said he’s been working on creating a Peace Officer’s Standard and Training Commission for the last several years.

“Forty-six states in the country have some type of certification process and way to continuously invest in police officer training,” said Vieira. “For their safety and for their education and safety of the public. Massachusetts is not one of those states.”

Hunt is starting his fourth term as state representative and sits on two committees.

He has been pushing for legislation that would provide a competitive source for high speed internet to residential customers on Cape Cod.

“Our arts community that goes back more than 100 years, that has often moved to digital arts and video editing, they can’t do a job like that because there is just either not even broadband access, or even where they do have it, it’s just too tiny a pipe to be able to do a business like that,” said Hunt.

Freshman lawmaker Crocker said that some of the bills he’s working on include one that gives tax credits to the families of people who are caregivers.

“These people spend their time, their talent, their treasures, to take care of someone in their family with a huge amount of expense,” said Crocker.

Newly elected Fernandes discussed what he’s doing to address affordable housing on Nantucket

He said that he has filed a bill that would charge a 0.5 transaction fee on home sales over $2 million for the Town of Nantucket.

“The money goes towards an affordable housing bank and to me this makes a lot of sense, it’s a tiny percent tax to pay for affordable housing for the rest of us, but we’ve come up against some opposition on that,” said Fernandes.

By JUSTIN SAUNDERS, CapeCod.com Newscenter

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