Senator Cyr Directs Policy Summit to Inform Policymaking

WEST BARNSTABLE – Topical panels, comprised of local leaders, heard the public’s pleas for policy regarding several key areas during Cape and Islands Senator Julian Cyr’s policy summit on Saturday.

The event addressed Cape citizens’ concerns in terms of six areas: raising a family in, working in, living in, aging in, preserving and serving the region.

Cyr said he chose those categorizations based off of his interactions during thousands of pre-election, door-to-door interviews he conducted with locals.

“This isn’t a political event, and if you look at the issues we’re facing, 9 out of 10 are not partisan,” Cyr said. “We’ve got a pretty mixed delegation, and the issues have much more of a regional commonality than a partisan commonality.”

Affordable housing, access to livable wages and mid-level jobs, and availability of services for seniors were among the larger concerns which were present at most panels.

According to Anne Van Vleck, Executive Director of Cape Cod Young Professionals who served on the “Working” panel, one of the biggest problems facing the region’s workforce is a lack of mid-level positions.

Vleck said that many young employees are content with their job but seek growth opportunities which are often not available.

The lack of affordable and year-round housing was a key concern at the “working,” “aging,” “living” and “raising a family in” panels.

During the “aging” panel, attendees proposed new villages to offset state costs, more trauma centers, and increased accessibility to nursing homes.

The community also seemed to favor an increase in services pertaining to child care. One participant, a long-term substitute Spanish teacher in Orleans, said that the lack of family-oriented services is increasingly an issue as many young people are forced to live with their parents.

Cyr has already drafted over 27 bills and said that the day’s proceedings will inform those and other pieces of legislation moving forward.

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