Pittsfield- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) has been named Legislator of the Year for 2007 by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) and will be publicly presented with this award at a legislative forum for Berkshire County school committee members in Dalton this upcoming Monday evening.
Downing said, “I am humbled by this honor and pledge to continue my support and advocacy for policies that improve our public education system for students in western Massachusetts and the Commonwealth as a whole.”
Two major priorities on MASC’s legislative agenda include ensuring adequate education funding and health insurance for employees of school districts across the state. This award recognizes Downing’s efforts last summer as the former Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Service, when he shepherded landmark legislation to create a new “local option” for municipalities to purchase health insurance through the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) to the Governor’s desk. MASC believes this option will help school districts to significantly reduce their health insurance costs.
Joseph Santos, 2007 State President of MASC, praised Downing’s work by saying, “Senator Downing’s commitment to both public education and health care issues demonstrates the kind of forward looking, socially conscious and fiscally responsible qualities we look for in our legislative leaders.”
MASC annually selects two Massachusetts legislators for this honor. State Representative Geraldine Creedon (D – Brockton) who serves as the House Vice-chair of the Joint Committee on Education has also been named MASC’s Legislator of the Year for 2007.