Jeffrey Turco was inaugurated for his second term as state representative at a ceremony Jan. 4 in the House of Representative Chambers at the State House in Boston.
Turco represents the Town of Winthrop and a portion of the City of Revere in the 19th Suffolk District. The 6-foot-6-inch legislator and former president of the Winthrop Town Council was first elected to office in a special election in March, 2021, and re-elected without opposition in November, 2022.
Turco is the successor to former Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo in the 19th Suffolk District seat.
The Sun-Transcript met with Rep. Turco this week for an interview. Following are Rep. Turcoâ€™s responses:
Q. What are your priorities for the 2023-24 legislative session?
A. My top three legislative priorities are: 1) creation of a Massachusetts refundable child tax credit; 2) final closure of the Rumney Marsh ash landfill and 3) fully funding the Student Opportunity Act.
I was pleased to hear Gov. Healey prioritize a child tax credit in her inaugural address. I filed legislation which will create the tax credit. I look forward to working with the Governor to pass this plan into law. In terms of the Rumney Marsh ash landfill, the Commonwealth has made clear that Rumney Marsh is an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Allowing a private company to continue adding another 50 feet of ash onto the Marsh violates both the spirit and the text of the law. For decades, the abutting communities, including in my legislative district, have borne the brunt of the pollution and contamination. I look forward to reading the closure plan to end this injustice. Finally, the Student Opportunity Act represents an unprecedented commitment of taxpayer funding to our public education system. It is critical that we back up our commitment by delivering the promised funding.
Q. What has been your top legislative accomplishment to-date?
A. My top legislative accomplishment to-date has been working with colleagues to pass a law requiring the removal of parking meters on the Revere Beach Reservation. Had these meters stayed on Revere Beach, they were sure to come to Winthrop Beach in the future. Thanks to great teamwork with my legislative colleagues, DCR is prohibited from installing parking meters without the approval of the host communities elected leadership.
Q. On what House committees will you be serving in the new session?
A. The House Leadership is talking with individual members about committee assignments for the 2023-2024 legislative session. It is expected that assignments will be made at the end of February. Once the assignments are made, I will certainly reach back out to you to let you know which committees I was placed on.
Q. Are you ready to work with Gov. Maura Healey and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll to help advance Massachusetts?
A. I look forward to working with the new administration to address the many issues facing our Commonwealth. Again, the child tax credit is one such issue. The appointment of a community oriented and responsive leader to the Department of Conservation and Recreation is very important to my district. As the Governor and Lt. Governor announce their agenda, I look forward to assisting them in areas in which we agree.
Q. Are you happy that so many municipal meetings are being broadcast live on television, an idea that you first proposed when you were Winthrop Town Council President?
A. I could not be happier than to see the broader use of live broadcast for all municipal meetings. It is critical to keep the public informed regarding all facets of the operation of their government. In this day and age of angry skepticism, it is critical that we give the public the opportunity to see the truth of our government processes. We may not like individual decisions that are made but with greater transparency, hopefully we can show the public that the decisions are made after thoughtful deliberation and without nefarious intent.
Q, What was your role in helping to launch the highly successful Winthrop Police Departmentâ€™s Teen Drop-In Program at the old Middle School?
A. I had the pleasure of working in the Massachusetts State Senate when the late Senator Shannon was alive. His commitment to our teens and our public safety personnel made it entirely appropriate that the grant program be renamed the “Shannon Grants.” I am a happy warrior advocating for maintaining and, where appropriate, expanding this important program. The Teen Drop-In Program helps break down barriers and misunderstandings between our youth and our public safety personnel. It is one of the best programs the Commonwealth helps fund on a yearly basis.