The Bedford Citizen
Bedford will kick off Memorial Day this year in a special way, as Gov. Charlie Baker and Congressman Seth Moulton will come to town to honor two fallen heroes, Pfc John Hart and Lance Corporal Travis Desiato, by naming a bridge in their honor. The ceremony will commence at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 25, at the boat launch beside the bridge on State Road 225 that spans the Concord River.
The dedication was arranged by Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) and Rep. Ken Gordon (D-Bedford), who carried the bill dedicating the bridge in honor of these heroes through the legislature. Governor Baker signed the bill into law in December.
The soldiers were killed within 13 months of each other in Iraq, fighting the war on terror. Hart, who served in the Army, lost his life in an ambush in Tikrit on October 18, 2003. He graduated from Bedford High School in 2002. Desiato joined the Marines after his graduation from Bedford High in 2002. He was lost on November 15, 2004, in Fallujah.
“Each year we remember our fallen heroes on Memorial Day, but this year will be special in Bedford,” said Rep. Gordon. “This year we will pause to be with a family and recognize a town that has given so much. As Memorial Day weekend approaches and the tumult of travel begins for some, Bedford will slow down and reflect.”
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State Sen. Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, and Rep. Ken Gordon, D-Bedford, both of whom represent Bedford in the state legislature, joined their colleagues in passing criminal justice reform legislation that will lead to a more equitable system that supports young and vulnerable residents, reduces recidivism, increases judicial discretion and enhances public safety.
The bill, an act relative to criminal justice reform, includes many provisions championed by Barrett to address fines and fees that engulf criminal defendants, a problem he has highlighted in his own work. It also includes reforms led by Gordon that allow first-time offenders in some situations to avoid prosecution in a program called Restorative Justice. The legislature also passed an accompanying bill, an act implementing the joint recommendations of the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Review, which is designed to complement the comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation. This bill allows individuals to earn early release by participating in recidivism-reduction programs.
“The compromise states that a defendant may not be incarcerated for failure to pay fees if paying would cause severe hardship,” said Barrett. “People are guaranteed a right to a lawyer at ‘fine time’ hearings and defendants deemed indigent will have an associated $150 fee waived.”
“This compromise legislation takes a measured approach to criminal justice, increasing the penalty for such offenses as trafficking in fentanyl and carfentanil, synthetic opioids that threaten our community, while providing an avenue for people with low-level, non-violent drug offenses to get the help they need,” Gordon said. “It increases the penalties for serial offenders convicted of drunk driving but eliminates mandatory-minimum sentences so that discretion can be restored to judges who preside in our courts.”
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