Ken worked with Senator Cindy Friedman and before that Ken Donnelly, to access $800,000 from the Federal Highway Administration to fund improvements to the intersection of Route 128 and U.S. Route 3. He continues to work to improve the traffic flow on Cambridge Street in Burlington and Great Road in Bedford. He was honored by The Middlesex 3 Coalition with its 2014 Economic Development Advocate Award:
“When it comes to addressing traffic concerns in our area, nobody has worked harder,” said Bob Buckley, who is also on the board of Middlesex 3, a group of business and municipal leaders. “He realized early on that addressing our traffic problems required a regional approach. For four years Rep. Gordon comes to almost all our meetings, and pitches right in. We can count on him to follow through.”
Ken partnered with The Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce, which has honored him with its Partners in Prosperity Award, and the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, which honored him with its Diversity Award for his work bringing new businesses to Burlington, thereby creating new jobs:
“When our restaurants needed help with transportation so they could fill job openings, I turned to Rep. Gordon for help” said Burlington Chamber of Commerce President Rick Parker. “He came to our meetings and got to work advocating for funding for employee shuttles. His legislation will make life easier for working people, but he consults with small businesses to make sure it does not overburden our employers. His approach is fair and data driven. We appreciate his reliability.”
Three times, at the instruction of their respective Town Meeting, Ken steered Burlington’s and Bedford’s requests for additional liquor licenses through the legislature, overcoming opposition in each case by drafting language that satisfied all parties, or convincing legislators to support Town Meeting’s intent. The new licenses helped Burlington and Bedford welcome several new restaurants for its residents and employees.
Ken won increased state aid and school funding for Burlington and Bedford each year of his term.
Ken worked with Sen. Mike Barrett to win permanent funding of more than half a million dollars annually to reimburse Bedford for the education of children of military families at Hanscom Air Force Base.
Ken involves our students in the operation of government. He led a group of elementary school children who wanted to pass a new law and they did just that! He brought them to meet Governor Baker when their bill was signed into law. He has visited various student councils and social studies classes. He hosted the Burlington fashion class in a first-of-a-kind show at the State House. He hosted tours for the scouts, school groups, military family groups and more.
Ken delivered on his pledge to have the Department of Housing and Community Development find families more permanent housing in or near their home communities. This reduced the number of homeless families temporarily housed in Bedford from 88 to 24, putting it in the middle of the range of municipalities in Massachusetts. The facility is no longer part of the program that provides transitional housing.
Ken has been appointed by Governor Baker to the Massachusetts council for the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission, where he has joined in a bi-partisan effort with Veterans Affairs Secretary Cheryl Poppe and Education Secretary James Peyser to support the needs of the children of servicemen. He filed legislation to dedicate bridges in Bedford and Burlington to the memory of fallen heroes L.Cpl. Travis Desiato, PfC John Hart, and L.Cpl. Gregory MacDonald, and then organized dedication ceremonies. He helped lead the fight for new laws protecting veterans, including the right against discrimination in employment, protection against the accrual of certain taxes while on duty and a new law prohibiting demonstrations close to military funerals. He has supported the Skate for the 22 Foundation, which addresses instances of mental health among veterans.
Ken listens to our seniors and responds. He hosted a forum in Burlington in May of this year that included Undersecretary for Housing and Community Development, Chrystal Kornugay and then-House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Housing, Kevin Honan, to talk about housing options for our seniors. He hosted a second forum with then-House Chair of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, Denise Garlick. His first address to the legislature was on the topic of the Enhanced Community Options Program (ECOP), a program that provides services to seniors so they can stay in their homes longer, rather than facing nursing home placement. When Burlington’s seniors appeared to have lost their weekly Bingo gathering, Ken stepped up and formed a group to replace the aging Bingo equipment, serve as Bingo callers, and allow the seniors to continue to have their weekly entertainment.
Ken serves as House Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Service. He is tasked with overseeing our systems administering retirement and health care benefits for public workers. He is also responsible for overseeing policy concerning our Civil Service System and laws, which acts to level the playing field in hiring and promotional practices for public safety jobs, like municipal police and fire departments. Ken chairs a Special Legislative Commission to investigate our Civil Service laws, to determine ways to increase access to increase diversity among our police and fire departments, while at the same time protecting our veterans.
Ken serves on the Middlesex County Restoration Commission, which has provided advice regarding the feasibility of a center, likely to be located in Lowell, where police can transport people they encounter who may be suffering from untreated mental health or substance abuse issues so they can get the help they need. The Commission was created from a Substance Abuse Bill championed by Senator Cindy Friedman, who works together with Ken as the Senate representative.
Ken has taken a lead on advocating for funding for Restorative Justice, a system that, in the right circumstances, provides a forum outside the criminal justice system for petty crimes that may be resolved by confronting and educating the perpetrator of a crime, while bringing in the victim of that crime for meaningful dialogue.
Ken led as the primary sponsor of a new law that will bring transparency to the way mental health coverage is administered, reducing tax burdens for all of us.
Ken helped influence the Substance Abuse Act that was signed into law last summer and will help reduce the waiting time at Lahey Clinic in Burlington and at other area hospitals with First in the Nation provisions that will by pre-authorize transfers of those suffering from substance abuse to more appropriate treatment centers.
Ken led the way for new laws that will strengthen our unemployment insurance system by reducing premiums for small business without reducing any recipient’s eligibility or benefits.
Ken helped draft new minimum wage legislation that benefits both workers and employers. Ken championed unemployment insurance reform as part of this legislation. As a result of Ken’s leadership, workers will enjoy an increased minimum wage and most small businesses will see reduced premiums to offset any increased labor cost.
Ken filed legislation that led to Massachusetts’ landmark Paid Family & Medical Leave law. He was called to the White House twice to discuss this bill and spoke with the President. He hosted forums that featured the US Labor Secretary, Thomas Perez, and Deputy Secretary Chris Lu. He researched this bill by speaking not only to workers, but to Burlington and Bedford businesses, to make sure everyone will benefit from this new program.
Ken holds monthly gatherings, open to all residents, at coffee shops and libraries in Bedford and Burlington and has regularly scheduled office hours in Wilmington, where constituents can bring their questions and concerns.