A day after the State of the Commonwealth and the State of the Union speeches, Massachusetts House speaker Robert DeLeo unveiled his priorities for the coming year.
President Obama pressed his so called opportunity agenda. Gov. Deval Patrick vowed to tackle inequality. And now Speaker Deleo is pledging to take on poverty.
“We need to make sure that we extend the circle of opportunity from Boston to the Berkshires, from Cape Ann to the South Coast, from Fall River to Fitchburg,” DeLeo said.
Deleo promised to raise the minimum wage and to reform unemployment insurance. Last year, the Senate voted to raise the minimum wage from $8 dollars to $11 dollars. Deleo didn’t say how much of an increase he’s looking for.
In the speech, the Speaker said he’d address problems at the department of children and families.
“If funding is the problem, we will address funding,” he said.
The speaker also said the house will take up legislation aimed at reducing gun violence and domestic violence. He didn’t provide any details.
Though Gov. Patrick’s State of the Commonwealth speech attracts more attention, Deleo arguably has more influence over what gets done. And while Patrick is in his final year in office, Deleo could serve up to three more years at the head of the House.