Thursday, January 28, 2010

Legislature Passes Regional School Transportation Protection

(BOSTON)- State Representative Denis E. Guyer (D- Dalton) and State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) today announced the passage of S. 2247 An Act Relative to the Achievement Gap by the Massachusetts Legislature, which contains an amendment aimed at protecting Regional School Transportation funding.

Under Chapter 71 of the current laws, all regional school districts are required to provide transportation for pupils with the costs to be reimbursed by the Commonwealth. In order to balance the Commonwealth's budget, Governor Deval Patrick used his 9C authority to cut the Regional School Transportation line item in October by 50% this fiscal year, and 63% from Fiscal Year 2009. No cuts were made to Chapter 70 education aid. This cut has since been restored.

This final version of the bill contains an amendment which makes future cuts to regional school transportation more difficult by preventing any cut of greater percentage than a corresponding reduction in Chapter 70 funding. Under Chapter 71, regional school districts may not seek additional contributions from member towns to cover unanticipated budget reductions.

"Thanks to the efforts of myself along with other the members of the Berkshire delegation, this important amendment to protect regional schools was included in the final version of this bill," said Guyer. "This amendment will ensure that any cut to education is not felt in a disproportionate way by regional schools, especially in Western Massachusetts."

"This education reform package ensures equal footing and protection to the regional school transportation account with other Local Aid assistance accounts in future state operating budgets, beginning with FY 2011," said Downing. "This is a victory for the regional school districts serving families and communities across western Massachusetts; it provides realistic budgeting guidelines, expectations and security for regional school administrators."

The bill now moves to the desk of Governor Patrick to be signed into law.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Governor not going forward with cut to Regional School Transportation funds


At around 1:00 pm yesterday, I received a message from the Governor's office that the Governor's proposed "9C" cut to Regional School Transportation would not be going forward.

The Governor was directing his Secretary of Administration and Finance to not move forward and the Governor's office would be making a statement to the public sometime today.

This is all of the information I have at this time. While the reasons for the Governor's decision are not yet clear, I have to believe that it is partly due to the pressure many of you have exerted on the Governor since these cuts were first proposed; through emails, letters and phone calls to him.

Thank you for your advocacy. I will relay any further information I have to you as soon as I get it.


Thursday, December 10, 2009


Last week, the Patrick-Murray administration released $5.5 million dollars to cities and town in Western and Central Massachusetts to reimburse costs related to the ice storm that hit much of Berkshire, Franklin and Hampshire counties one year ago. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has committed to reimbursing local towns for 75% of the costs of emergency response and cleanup due to this disaster. This additional money from the Commonwealth will be used to pick up a portion of the remaining 25% which towns are responsible for. This once in a century storm was a major burden on many communities in the 2nd Berkshire District, and these funds should help to reduce some of that strain on local finances.

In addition to this funding, Governor Patrick recently signed legislation passed by the House and Senate which places new standards on public utility companies and holds them accountable if they fail to restore power in a timely manner during an emergency. On top of allowing the Department of Public Utilities to impose a fine of up to $250,000 a day if power is not restored during a state of emergency, the legislation also gives the agency new oversight and regulatory powers over utilities. The law requires all utility companies to submit emergency response plans, and the attorney general may petition the courts to place a company into receivership if they fail to take necessary actions in a disaster. Each of these tools will decrease response time after an emergency, and ensure the best possible utility service for Massachusetts residents.

To view the press release sent by the Governor, which includes a list of the amount each town will receive, click on the link below:

New office hours in Hinsdale

In response to the constituent interest has been so high that Rep. Guyer has decided to add Hinsdale to the office hour’s schedule. Every Friday from 8:30-12:00, either Rep Guyer or his District Aide, Stephanie Gravalese-Wood, will be on hand to speak with constituents about state related issues. “Hundreds of constituents have been served through this new schedule, and I am pleased to add another town to the weekly rotation” says Rep. Guyer.

Residents of any of the 22 towns that make up the Second Berkshire District are welcome. Appointments are not necessary but encouraged. Please contact District Aide, Stephanie Gravalese-Wood at 413-358-3354.

Rep Guyer Channel on YouTube

In addition to being available online on Pittsfield Community Television, ‘The Denis Guyer Show” is also available on YouTube! Check out the Rep Denis Guyer Channel on YouTube for clips and soon to include events from around the Second Berkshire District and events from the State House.
Rep Denis Guyer on YouTube

Monday, December 7, 2009

"A day that will live in infamy"

Sixty Eight years ago this morning, 2,402 Americans lost their lives (1,282 wounded) in the surprise dawn air raid at Pearl Harbor.

The surprise and unprovoked attack on the US Naval Base by Japan initiated America’s entry into World War II. During his famous “Infamy” speech to the Congress on December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated:

“Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again. Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God. “

At the moment he was giving this address, it was unclear to the President and his military staff just what the total extent of the damage was to the United States Pacific Fleet. Some were convinced that the attack at Pearl Harbor was the beginning of other air attacks soon to hit the west coast. A few military analysts believed that a Japanese ground force invasion of California was imminent. By all accounts the United States was not prepared to enter the conflict in terms of either machinery or manpower. The United States was not yet prepared to go to war.

Given the immense military power of both Japan and Germany, seen almost as unstoppable forces at the time, the outcome, in fact the fate of our nation was completely uncertain. Some had long been advocating against the United States’ involvement in a global conflict, arguing that appeasement in the face of this overwhelming force was the only way we could remain independent.

In the weeks and months after Pearl Harbor, and upon hearing Roosevelt’s call, millions of Americans volunteered to serve in the military or joined the war effort in some other way. At the end of the war over 400,000 had given their lives to stop tyranny and genocide and to ultimately preserve our way of life and the freedoms we currently enjoy today. All of us can remember the stories of our family members who were part of this “greatest generation” and as I think back with pride on the contributions and sacrifices made by my grandfather, his siblings and their friends in that conflict I must remember that we would live in a much different and darker world had they not stood up to defend their country in one of its darkest and neediest hours.

It is hard to imagine what the world we live in today would be like if the Empire of Japan and Nazi Germany had prevailed over the allies. But in December 1941 the "grave danger" Roosevelt warned of was a very real possibility. What is certain is that our rights and freedoms that we cherish as United States citizens would have been lost forever and the horrific genocide perpetrated by the Nazi’s against the Jewish people and others in Europe would certainly have been globalized.

As we go about our busy lives today I think it is important to take a moment to remember and reflect upon all of those who died not only at Pearl Harbor but in the ensuing four-year conflict that followed. And, if you are lucky enough to still have a veteran from that conflict in your life perhaps take some time to say thanks while you still can.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Second Episode of "The Denis Guyer Show" and Office Hours Annoucement

New episode of “The Denis Guyer Show”

Representative Guyer is excited to share that the second episode of “The Denis Guyer Show” will air on local cable access networks. The second episode features Registrar Rachel Kaprielian from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Division. Registrar Kaprielian discusses ways that the Mass RMV is responding to the needs of Western Mass. Kaprielian also talks about the implications of the newly created Massachusetts Department of Transportation. MassDOT, which consists of several consolidated state agencies including the RMV, was created by the Commonwealth to establish a streamlined and efficient transportation organization.

The viewing schedule varies depending on your local cable access provider. Copies have been sent to the following stations that serve towns in the Second Berkshire District:

Falls Cable of Shelburne Falls
Northfield Cable Access
Northern Berkshire Community Television
Lanesboro Community Television
Pittsfield Community Television

In addition to finding the show on local television stations, “The Denis Guyer Show” is also available as a video podcast on iTunes (via PCTV) and soon can be seen on YouTube. For further information on upcoming episodes, and local listings, including a link to watch online, visit “The Denis Guyer Show” is seen monthly throughout the 2nd Berkshire District which consists of twenty-two towns in Berkshire, Franklin, and Hampshire counties.
Click here to watch "The Denis Guyer Show"

Updated Office Hours and Locations

Due to the overwhelming response of constituents visiting during office hours in Dalton, Richmond, Shelburne and Lanesborough, Representative Guyer is pleased to announce he will be adding a 5th town to the weekly office hours schedule. Starting Friday, December 11th, he will be holding office hours in the Town of Hinsdale every Friday from 8:30-12:30. The updated office hours for the 2nd Berkshire District are as follows:

Monday: Dalton Town Hall 9-4
Tuesday Richmond Town Hall 9-4
Wednesday: Shelburne Town Hall 9:30-4
Thursday: Lanesborough Town Hall: 9-4
Friday Hinsdale Town Hall: 8:30-12:30

Residents of any of the 22 towns that make up the Second Berkshire District are welcome to visit the District Aide or Rep. Guyer to discuss any questions or concerns you have concerning your state government. Appointments are not necessary but encouraged. Please contact District Aide, Stephanie Gravalese-Wood at 413-358-3354.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

House Passes Veterans Bill

Massachusetts House of Representatives Passes An Act Providing Benefits to Veterans and Service Members

This afternoon, in honor of Veterans Day, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed An Act Providing Benefits to Veterans and Service Members. This important piece of legislation will help to ensure that the Commonwealth honors its commitment to veterans and all those currently serving in our country’s armed forces. As a veteran I was particularly proud to have voted for this bill.

The bill will honor veterans in a number of ways, including:
· Amending the Welcome Home bonus program, where service members receive a $1,000 bonus for a single overseas deployment, by allowing those deployed for multiple tours to reapply for up to 50% of the bonus for each subsequent return
· Creating a Medal of Liberty for the Governor to award to family members of servicemen killed in action
· Allowing town clerks to provide a list of veterans to the Executive Office of Veterans Affairs and local veterans’ service officers so that veterans are adequately counted and known to local veterans’ agents so that outreach efforts are more successful
· Allow for service members who are deployed overseas to have an extended amount of time for returning an absentee ballot, providing easier delivery of a ballot by fax, email or online, so every service member’s vote is counted
· Disabled veterans who are otherwise qualified are given a higher level of consideration for employment
· Creating commissions to study the history of discrimination toward service-disabled veterans and examine healthcare services currently provided by the Massachusetts Soldiers’ Homes
· Explores the possibility of construction of “state veterans homes” using federal and private funding
· Allows state licensing boards to grant exemptions for certain licenses to honorably discharged veterans with applicable training, such as truck drivers
· Creates a commission to study the feasibility and cost of creating a neuropsychological cognitive testing program for all military forces and an MRI scanning program for all service members
· Allowing qualified service members who meet eligibility requirements to receive a bonus for participation in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm

As Veterans Day is once again upon us, it is important for all our veterans and active-duty service members to know that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is behind them, and to ensure that all those who have served our country are given the tools they need to succeed when they return home.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Guyer-ENews Sept/Oct 2009

The Denis Guyer Show to debut on Pittsfield Community Television!

I'm excited to announce today the first episode of my local access cable television show, “The Denis Guyer Show” will air, starting Monday October 26. The show will deal with local and legislative issues relative to the twenty-two towns of the 2nd Berkshire District and statewide.

The first episode, “Understanding the H1N1 Virus” will address the growing concern about the H1N1 virus and have guests discussing prevention at the city, county and state level. The schedule varies depending on the area viewers live in and networks that viewers subscribe to. Here is the official timetable is listed below on Pittsfield Community Television:

Monday, October 26th 9:30pm

Tuesday, October 27th 3:00am & 11:00am

Sunday, November 1 at 7:00pm

Monday, November 2 at 2:30am & Noon

I look forward to reaching out to my constituents through this program. My goal is that constituents will find answers to questions regarding current issues. Episodes will feature guest speakers who can offer first-hand knowledge of each topic. This television program is a valuable resource for constituents who seek information regarding the legislative process and how it affects our community.

For further information on upcoming episodes, including a link to watch online, visit for local listings. “The Denis Guyer Show” is seen monthly throughout the 2nd Berkshire District.

The Denis Guyer Show on PCTV-Link to Episode #1

Guyer presents resolution to State's Oldest Resident

I was proud to present to Bernice Madigan a resolution declaring her at 110, to be the oldest resident of the Commonwealth on her birthday, July 24th. She is a resident of Cheshire, growing up in the area and graduation from Adams High School before moving to Washington D.C. to work for the U.S Treasury Department. She just moved back to the area a few years ago and we are luck to have her! To learn more about Bernice, check out the article below profiling her life and secret to longevity:

Cheshire Woman Marks 110 Years

Berkshire County Arc hosts Buddy Walk of the Berkshires

On October 3rd, I participated in the National Down Syndrome Society’s Buddy Walk of Berkshire County which was hosted by Berkshire County Arc. This national event is a great space to create awareness about people with Down syndrome, and support the Berkshire County Arc Down Syndrome Family Group which currently supports 28 families living in Berkshire County who have a family member with Down syndrome. To learn more about the Berkshire County Arc and the BCARC Down Syndrome Family Group, check out Berkshire County Arc website

Berkshire County Arc Down Syndrome Family Support Group

Breaking Ground on The Buckland Public Library Expansion

On September 26th, I was proud to join the Buckland Public Library in breaking ground on their expansion. After received a provisional grant from Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (through the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program) totaling $529,598 in addition to significant fundraising within the local community, the expansion from 975 sq feet to over 4,000 square feet. For more pictures from the ground breaking check out former Buckland Librarian Pat Leuchtman’s blog for the Greenfield Recorder:

The Commonweeder

Office hours in the Second Berkshire District

Here are the Fall 2009 office hours in the 2nd Berkshire District:

Monday: Dalton Town Hall 9-4
Tuesday Richmond Town Hall 9-4
Wednesday: Shelburne Town Hall 9:30-4
Thursday: Lanesboro Town Hall: 9-4

Appointments are not necessary but encouraged. Please contact my District Aide, Stephanie Gravalese-Wood at 413-358-3354.