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U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan stopped by the WestfordCAT studio on Feb. 19 to connect with the community and detail some of her activities since being sworn into office on Jan. 3.
“It’s been a whirlwind. Quite a baptism. said Trahan, a Westford Democrat. “There’s nothing like taking your oath of office in a government shutdown. There’s a lot happening behind the scenes.””
For starters, Trahan has been assigned to the Armed Services Committee and the Education and Labor Committee, which has jurisdiction over education, workforce and labor issues, paid leave, and paycheck fairness. [Continue below]
In the few short weeks since taking office, Trahan has got a bipartisan amendment passed for the Federal Civilian Pay Raise of 1.9 percent. She said she was focused on the 4,000 employees of the Internal Revenue Service based in Andover, which is part of her Third Congressional District.
“There was language in the bill that could have been misinterpreted to not include those very IRS employees that had been shut out of their jobs,” she said. “…So I have legislation under my belt.”
Trahan also discussed the September gas explosions experienced by residents of Andover, North Andover and Lawrence due to over-pressurized gas lines under Colombia Gas of Westborough. The explosions killed an 18-year-old man sitting inside a car in a driveway when the chimney from an exploding house crushed him.
“What Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover have endured, I consider it my responsibility to wring out every last lesson from that disaster to ensure it never happens again,” she said.
Trahan said constituent services is one of the most important functions of a Congressional office. She said she hears from constituents sometimes after they’ve tried everything else.
“They call us typically with desperation in their voice,” she said.
Trahan ended the interview suggesting her outlook for Congress is optimistic.
“This is a Congress right now that has a collective urgency around getting things done and moving on issues that we heard loud and clear from the campaigns last year,” Trahan said.
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