Friday, August 26, 2011

MA Treasurer Steve Grossman Celebrates Women's Equality Day

Pledges to Continue His Drive to Expand Opportunities for Women in the Workplace

Highlighting the 91st anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gave women the right to vote, Treasurer Steven Grossman today pledged to continue his efforts to expand opportunities for women in the workplace.

“In my private sector career and in public office, I have witnessed firsthand the tremendous leadership role that women play in a well-run, effective organization,” said Grossman. “We are a much better community because of the dynamic presence and contributions of women in the workplace, and Women’s Equality Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on our progress in the past and our significant goals for the future.”

At the Treasury, Grossman has appointed a number of women to senior leadership positions, including First Deputy Treasurer Katherine Craven, Chief of Staff Kathryn Burton, and Director of Legislative Affairs Barbara L’Italien. Noting their meaningful contributions, the Treasurer said that these individuals have helped shape public policy and have been an integral part of an effective management team.

Grossman has also created programs and initiatives to increase business opportunities for women. The newly created Small Business Banking Partnership, which deposits Treasury cash reserves in Massachusetts community banks to leverage loans to credit-worthy small businesses, has a component encouraging banks to lend to women-owned enterprises. The Treasurer noted that a ceremony today designating the Public Garden Swan Boats as a historic Boston landmark taps into the sentiment behind the Partnership, as one of the original Swan Boat operators, Julia Paget, had to overcome significant obstacles to be granted permission to run a women-owned enterprise in the 1870s.

“Julia Paget was all-too-familiar with the unreasonable barriers that confronted women of her time from owning and operating a successful business. Today, it is both imperative and economically beneficial that we find ways to make capital more available to credit-worthy, women-owned companies, and the Small Business Banking Partnership does just that,” said Grossman.

Under Grossman’s leadership, the Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board, which he chairs, recently implemented new proxy voting guidelines covering stock holdings of the Commonwealth’s pension fund aimed at promoting the inclusion of more women in the corporate boardroom and in the executive suite. Grossman emphasized that the overall goal of enhancing shareholder value should also reflect the values of the people of Massachusetts.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

MWPC Commends Joint Committee on Redistricting on Efforts for a Just, Transparent Process

State House News reports that on Monday, Representative Michael Moran (D-Brighton), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Redistricting, began his second round of sit-down meetings with all members of the MA House of Representatives, thereby fulfilling the promise he made at the outset of the redistricting process to meet with each member of the House at least twice before presenting any final district maps.

In the same piece, Representative Moran states that maintaining the majority-minority status of districts in the Boston area is a top priority of the Committee. With significant population shifts throughout neighborhoods, such as Dorchester and Mattapan, this is certainly no easy or enviable task. However, given the numerous sit-down meetings Chairman Moran and Chairman Rosenberg (D-Amherst), of the Senate, have had with constituents and interest groups, the public  hearings the Committee has held throughout the state, and these meetings with elected officials, it is apparent that this Redistricting Committee is deliberating carefully about where to draw lines this fall.

This public outreach and involvement also shows a distinct commitment to transparency in this process, which is crucial for drawing lines in a just way that accounts for minority representation.

As an organization dedicated to increasing the political empowerment of women of color, the MA Women's Political Caucus commends the Redistricting Committee on its earnest efforts to make the redistricting process a transparent one and for its efforts to maintain the majority-minority districts.