By John Lynds
WInthrop State Senator Joseph Boncore has joined the state legislature’s new Italian Caucus. The new caucus Boncore is now a part of will be chaired by Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) on the Senate side, Rep. Paul Donato (D-Medford) and Rep. Adrian Madaro (D-East Boston) will co-chair the caucus on the House side.
“I just want to thank Senate President Rosenberg for this appointment to the Italian Caucus,” said Boncore. “My involvement with the Italian American community goes back many years through various causes and memberships in Italian American social and philanthropic groups. I think it’s important to remember the huge contribution Italian Americans have made in helping to build this Commonwealth. I look forward to working with Chairman DiDomenico as well as Co-Chairs Madaro and Donato on preserving the cultural aspects of our heritage and forging a further bond with Italy.”
The new caucus, made up of state representatives and senators of both parties, was put into motion after the Italian Consul General to Massachusetts Nicola de Santis asked the state legislature to form an Italian Caucus. The Consul General and both the House and Senate have been working for a while to form a formal body that can concern itself with positively enhancing Italian cultural identity in the state as well as increasing bilateral relations between the state and Italy.
The caucus will serve as conduit between the Consul General’s office, the Ambassador and the legislature as we collaborate on things we have in common like tourism, trade, energy issues, student exchange programs and education.
Already Massachusetts is one of the leading traders with Italy in the U.S. With almost 14 percent of the state’s population identifying themselves as ‘Italian American” the Speaker and Senate President thought the time was right to have a caucus to enhance opportunities with Italy while celebrating Italian heritage in a more formal way.
The caucus held its first formal event in the State House’s flag room last week and included de Santis as well as the Ambassador from Italy Armando Varricchio. It was Varricchio’s first visit to Boston since becoming Ambassador.
The caucus is a bipartisan and open group that not only includes full blooded Italians but members who have some Italian heritage or even a spouse who is Italian.