March 8, 2005

Part I: Families & Children, Diversity & Community

"We value the civil liberties which the Constitution affords every American, and we oppose provisions of the Patriot Act and other legislative or executive initiatives which abridge those civil liberties under the pretense of defending the public safety."

"The availability of paid – or even unpaid – sick time would ensure that a caregiver parent would not lose her/his job by staying home to care for a child who was too sick to attend school or child care."

[Rationale: Research conducted by Dr. Jody Heymann (currently Director of Policy for Harvard University’s Center for Society and Health) found that one of the most important causes of job loss among women leaving Welfare was being fired when they stayed home to take care of child who was too sick to attend school or child care. Many of the low-wage jobs available to workers with limited skills or education do not offer sick time, and punish the kind of unscheduled time off that parents with sick children must take.]

  1. Recognizing that many veterans prefer to receive their health care from mainstream providers using their Veterans Health Care coverage, I would amend the second sentence (see underlined text) to read,
  2. "We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring veterans’ access to quality medical and mental health care through the facilities and programs of the Veteran’s Administration, or through insurance coverage furnished by the V.A."

  3. Recognizing the importance of education and training in enabling veterans to enter or re-enter the economy, I would add the following sentence at the end of the paragraph:

"We support efforts to ensure that returning veterans have adequate access to the education and vocational training they need in order to enter or re-enter the workforce at a level of employment that will pay a living wage and provide necessary benefits."


Thank you for your consideration of my suggestions.




Fred Berman 25 Cherry St. Somerville, MA 02144

(W) 617-349-6209 (H) 617-776-0503 email: