Time to Build Consensus, But District Will Stay #1 for Rep. Michlewitz

As State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz – who represents a large part of the South End and Bay Village – begins to get used to serving in a somewhat statewide position as new chair of the House Ways & Means Committee, he told residents this week that he will never lose focus of his district even as he has to travel to far corners of the Commonwealth.

“It certainly gives us a front row seat at the table when it comes to budget issues and hopefully doing some really good things for the district,” Michlewitz told the Sun after the East Berkeley Neighborhood Association (EBNA) meeting on Tuesday. “We can’t forget, though, I have to build consensus to get anything done. We can’t forget that. It’s like the bill we passed for short-term rentals. The bill that was passed after the Senate and governor went through it was much different than the bill we filed. It required consensus to get that.”

Last Thursday, House Speaker Bob DeLeo released his committee assignments, and one of the biggest winners in the Boston delegation was Rep. Michlewitz with his chairmanship of the powerful Ways & Means Committee. That chairmanship had opened up due to a major turnover in the House last year which included former Chair Jeff Sanchez, of Jamaica Plain, losing his seat.

For Michlewitz, the first duty will be crafting a state budget, which is $42.7 billion, and he said it will include eight public hearings across the Commonwealth.

It also includes meeting with all 160 members of the House, a part of the budget process that Michlewitz said is underway.

“I am honored that Speaker DeLeo believes I can do the job,” he said. “The first order of business is creating and debating a $42.7 billion budget. A lot of work has been done in committee, but we have a short timeframe to get a lot done. The thing I was to stress is my district is my number one priority.”

Just one week ago, Michlewitz visited the South End to speak with the Eight Street Neighborhood Association as a regular member of the House. One week later, he came back to the South End to speak with the East Berkeley Neighborhood Association (EBNA) as the new chair of Ways & Means. At the Tuesday meeting, President Ken Smith and the overflow crowd at EBNA welcomed the new chairman with applause.

“It’s been a whirlwind of activity the last week,” he told the crowd, before launching into his annual legislative update.

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