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Senator Baddour is constantly working to expand opportunity and increase economic growth for his constituents in the First Essex District and beyond. Steve has long supported Transit Oriented Development, which focuses growth in areas with access to transportation, and resuscitation of abandoned buildings through historic preservation. By embracing smart economic policies, including streamlined permitting for businesses supported by cities and towns, Steve has helped attract companies to the Merrimack Valley that might otherwise have opted for neighboring states. He also voted for a $100 million economic stimulus bill that provided major funds for job training and career advancement.
Senator Baddour is one of the Commonwealth’s most steadfast and outspoken supporters of public education. Steve fought to secure an additional $6 million for adult basic education (ABE) in the 2006 budget and has increased state spending to fund universal kindergarten by millions of dollars in consecutive years. In the fall, Steve sponsored a bill designed to turn around the state’s 50 worst performing schools in the next five years by increasing spending and providing more resources for teachers.
Senator Baddour takes a pragmatic and aggressive approach to protecting the environment. In 2005, Steve sponsored a bill that would provide a $2,000 income tax credit and a $1,500 sales tax exemption for anyone who purchases a hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle. The legislation also supported innovation in hybrid technology and created the infrastructure for cities and towns to facilitate more alternative vehicles on their roads. During his first year in the Senate, Steve authored the most strict environmental protection bill the state has seen in decades.
With health care in the spotlight on Beacon Hill this fall, Senator Baddour has advocated for a balance between expanding coverage and protecting small businesses. Thanks to his practical approach, attention in the debate has been drawn to the needs of independent employers who oftentimes want to provide insurance, but do not currently have the law on their side. Steve also runs a charity that has donated thousands to pediatric units of local hospitals.
In October, Senator Baddour stood beside the families of victims of repeat drunk drivers as Governor Romney signed Melanie’s Bill, a piece of legislation to punish and deter repeat offenders, into law. The legislation was named after Melanie Powell, a 12 year old girl who was killed by a recidivist drunk driver. Throughout the bill’s progression, Senator Baddour fought for the strongest penalties available. Thanks in part to his efforts, Massachusetts now has what is arguably the toughest repeat offender law in the United States.
Senator Baddour has helped win several major battles for seniors during his tenure in the Legislature, believing that all seniors should enjoy their later years amidst peace and prosperity. A longtime protector of Prescription Advantage, which helps seniors afford medications, Steve fought to prevent the state from seizing the property of family members to settle Medicaid debts. He has also supported several tax breaks designed to reduce the financial burden placed on seniors.
Last year, Senator Baddour was named Guardian of Small Business by the National Federation of Independent Businesses for his work to support smaller organizations and entrepreneurs. Specifically, Steve’s efforts to make health care more affordable for independent businesses by allowing them to band together to negotiate better prices received plaudits from the business community. Steve also voted for a $100 million economic stimulus bill that included significant funding for job training and financial growth.
As Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation, Senator Baddour has fought for effective use of tax dollars and is a key player in the state’s efforts to bring its transportation systems into the 21st Century. Last year, he sponsored a transportation reform bill that will save taxpayers millions and he has led the charge to hold Big Dig contractors accountable for their work. In 2005, Steve was named Legislator of the Year by the Massachusetts Municipal Association for securing millions of dollars to repair local roads and bridges.
In late November, Senator Baddour helped restore $80,000 in state funds to keep the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center in Haverhill open. Each month, the Center provides health care referrals, food, counseling, and benefits assistance to over 1,000 Merrimack Valley vets. Earlier this fall, Senator Baddour also supported a bill that will provide financial, educational, tax, and medical support to servicemen and women returning from combat. Both initiatives are parts of a broader pattern of helping veterans return home to opportunity.