Current Legislative Portfolio
Information about Rep. Hunt’s bills can be found at his official legislative page.
Addiction and Crime: A Way Forward
Serving on the Joint Committee for Mental Health and Substance Abuse as well as the Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention has given me a view into the problem of substance abuse that few people outside of the treatment arena are afforded. Three truths I have come to realize are 1) substance abuse is wider spread than most people believe, both geographically and socioeconomically; 2) treatment works; and 3) relatively few people seek out treatment.
Massachusetts should be striving to provide the best “playing field” for businesses relative to our competitor states and the country as a whole. When a law comes along that degrades our competitiveness, I will stand up to call on my fellow legislators to rethink such a strategy. This is precisely what happened when the legislature voted to adopt the governor’s plan to place a sales tax on information technology (IT) services. The following was reported in the Cape Cod Times after the IT tax was declared a mistake and repealed:
A few of his fellow legislators advised against it, but on April 8, Mannal stopped in DeLeo’s office to say he would oppose a new sales tax on technology services, breaking ranks to support a Republican Cape Cod legislator’s amendment to strip the tax from the transportation bill. The amendment proposed by state Rep. Randy Hunt, R-Sandwich, failed 44-108 that day, even as Mannal and 15 other Democrats strayed from the party line. And so it was with a sense of validation that Mannal greeted his party leadership’s call for repealing the six-week-old tax. “I stood out like a sore thumb. People asked me what I was doing, why I was doing that,” Mannal said, of his support for Hunt’s amendment.
My initial attempt at stopping this ill-advised bill was tamped down by a mostly partisan vote, but my arguments against creating a sales tax on services eventually carried the day when the legislature repealed the IT tax late in September and ordered the Department of Revenue to refund any taxes that had been collected since July 31, 2013.
The Canal Bridges
Traffic at the Sagamore and Bourne bridges that span the Cape Cod Canal is a seasonal nightmare, both for residents of Cape Cod and our visitors. The Cape Cod Canal Transportation Study draft, which was released in the summer of 2019 for review, outlines MassDOT’s plan for both bridges over the canal. Over the past five years, MassDOT conducted a study examining ongoing traffic issues caused by the degenerating state of the bridges and proposed alternative solutions to create a safer and more efficient transportation network. Key problem intersections were analyzed and offered potential redesigns to better suit modern Cape Cod traffic patterns. These potential alternatives were developed to improve traffic mobility without overbuilding in a manner inconsistent with the character of Cape Cod. In cooperation with the study Working Group, the multimodal transportation improvement alternatives that best advance the study goals and objectives were identified.
Our office has put together a summary of the major roadway changes proposed by MassDOT’s study of the Cape Cod Canal and can be viewed here.
A separate assessment is underway by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine whether to continue maintaining the 80+ year-old bridges or to replace them. The report should be released in draft form for public comment in the fall of 2019.
Paul Schrader and I spent many hours researching, photographing and videoing Town Neck Beach in Sandwich to document the desperate condition of the beach due to excessive erosion. There are examples of accelerated erosion of eco-sensitive areas throughout the 5th Barnstable District, both natural and man-caused. Our video, Town Neck Beach, Sands of Change, documents the condition of the beach and the steps necessary to protect this area for future generations.
More Environmental Involvement
I have a deep appreciation of the ecosystems of Cape Cod. Everyone needs to be aware of threats to our environment in order to be good stewards of this beautiful place in which we live.
I am proud of my environmental efforts, which include:
- Establishing Sandwich Community Pride Day & Spring Cleanup – This event takes place annually on the second Saturday prior to Memorial Day. Hundreds of citizens put in a few hours of “spring cleaning” to get the Town of Sandwich looking good for our tourists and for ourselves.
- Establishing the Sandwich Energy Committee – This active group of citizens has been instrumental in acquiring grants to install solar panels on a town building, studying municipal energy usage to generate a baseline for future energy efficiency projects, analyzing the opportunities afforded to the town by joining the Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative, and developing many other ideas to make the Town of Sandwich a green community.
- Re-establishing the Sandwich Beach Committee – This is a citizens’ group responsible for assisting the town with identifying and resolving problems at all of our salt and fresh water beaches. The good work generated by this committee will pay big dividends for the town, its tourists, and residents alike.
The tragic slaying of school children in a small Amish town in Pennsylvania occurred when I was chairman of the board of selectmen. It wasn’t too many years before that when Columbine, CO, and Jonesboro, AR, were in the news for similar massacres.
I organized the School Safety Committee as a response to these horrendous acts of violence. This I want to make clear: Once the members of this important committee were appointed, which include firefighters, police officers, school department employees, and a resident expert on such catastrophes, the committee accomplished more than I could have imagined was possible.
All of the credit goes to these hard working folks, but I do feel it was the most important effort that I have been involved with in my six years as selectman.
Your issues are my issues. As your state representative, I am interested in hearing what’s important to you and the issues you face. It’s my duty as an elected official. It’s a large part of why I love doing this job.
If you have a state-related problem that you’d like me to help you with (such as issues with Unemployment Assistance, MassHealth, or a downed tree on Route 6A), would like to weigh in on pending pieces of legislation, or just want to share what’s important to you, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or write/meet with me at my district office.
Some of my favorite bills originated as ideas from constituents. If you have an idea for a new bill that you’d like to pitch, please email or mail me an original, written proposal outlining your idea as well as the issue it seeks to solve. My staff will contact you to set up a time to meet with me. We will explore whether there’s room to collaborate.
An original note in your own words, no matter how long, is the gold standard. Form letters, especially those generated by websites, are not effective. Please make sure to include enough contact information for my office to know where and how to get back to you.
Please follow up on all notes and requests with a phone call to my office. My staff and I work hard to ensure that all incoming messages are read and replied-to, but sometimes things slip past us.