Bedford's two newest advocates on Beacon Hill, State Senator-elect Michael Barrett and State Representative-elect Ken Gordon, spoke with the Bedford Selectmen during their Dec. 4 meeting about Bedford's legislative priorities.
Barrett, representing the 3rd Middlesex District, said one of his first priorities after being sworn into office would be securing state funding for the costs Bedford incurs in educating students from Hanscom Air Force Base at Bedford High School.
Selectmen Chair Catherine Cordes said having students from the base is something the town of Bedford is proud of, but stressed the need for state funding in alleviating the cost on taxpayers.
"We are thrilled to have them at our high school, we just ask the state to understand the burden placed on taxpayers," Cordes said.Looking for updates on local government? Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Gordon, a Bedford resident representing the 21st Middlesex District, said he was glad to have the opportunity to come before the Selectmen to find out what he can fight for at the state level on behalf of the municipality.
"I need to know what the communities want," Gordon said. "I know how to advocate, but I need expert witnesses."
The Selectmen asked Gordon and Barrett to fight for state funding for transportation to bring a desired employee pool from the Boston and Cambridge area to the burgeoning tech and health industry in Bedford and along the Route 3 corridor.
Selectman William Moonan said in recent meetings with some of the tech and health companies in the Crosby Drive area, he got the sense that the employees a lot of these companies want to hire are young professionals that live closer to Boston.
"They seem to have a devil of a time getting people to come out and work there," Moonan said.
Gordon said the transportation needs of the tech and health companies in Bedford are really an economic issues, and one that affects towns across the Middlesex corridor.
"These issues that concern Bedford concern Burlington as well," Gordon said. "It's an economic issue. It's a big problem. We're talking about jobs here."
The Selectmen also asked Barrett and Gordon to advocate for more pressure at the state level on investor-owned power companies, such as NSTAR, in complying with state laws placing time limits on double poles as well as in requiring more transparency from power companies during times of widespread outages in relaying information to residents on how long it will be until their power is restored.
Selectman Mark Siegenthaler said while the issue with double poles is not the most pressing problem plaguing Bedford, it is an accurate depiction of the relationship between municipalities and power companies.
"It's symptomatic of the problems between municipalities and utility companies," Siegenthaler said. "Our dependence on them is so clear."
Barrett said he would strongly support legislation allowing municipalities to form municipal light companies.
"There is so much unhappiness with these utilities," Barrett said. "There is absolutely the possibility of putting more heat on them."