COVID-19

INITIATIVES & EFFORTS

Across the Commonwealth, many of our residents have faced serious hardships, whether it is through the loss of income or employment, the inability to see loved ones on a daily basis, or fighting off the virus itself due to the repercussions of COVID-19 pandemic. Many looked for assistance with unemployment, housing, SNAP, food banks, and small business relief.

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused unprecedented and unforgettable harms to our nation, and world. Due to COVID-19, our economy has:

  • Been negatively impacted
  • Many lives have been lost, in particular, the lives of the most vulnerable population, our seniors
  • Our businesses and schools have been shut down
  • Many people have lost their jobs
  • Our lives have been abruptly disrupted
  • People are living in fear.

While all of these events are happening, many essential workers and fighters are in the front lines fighting to control the contagious virus, making sure people are safe, and getting what they need. Marcos is one of these fighters who have been tirelessly working on behalf of the people of Lawrence and the Commonwealth through a plethora of initiatives and efforts.

MARCOS’S OFFICE has helped many constituents with many different requests: assistance to apply for unemployment and SNAP benefits, shelter opportunities, find available resources in the community, keep people informed about the COVID-19 updates, and best practices to flatten the curb, while being safe.

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ACCOMPLISHMENTS

AND LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

In the District

Marcos has demonstrated to be a devoted public servant who is as accessible as possible to his constituents. He holds constant open office hours in the district. One of Marcos’ top priorities in his district is to provide quality service to his constituents.

Constituents’ Cases:

Marcos’ office has received and attended a wide variety of cases from our constituents. Among the cases attended and successfully resolved that he is proud of mentioning are:

  • Housing
  • DTA (SNAP, SSI)
  • MassHealth
  • Columbia Gas claim
  • Social Security Representative Payee
  • Immigration
  • Municipal complaints
  • Medical coverage complaints.
Marcos has been one of the most watchful sentinels of the City’s interests. Among his undeniable accomplishments, we can mention that:
The End of the Fiscal Oversight

Marcos co-signed the letter that requested the Department of Revenue Commissioner put an end to the fiscal oversight of the City of Lawrence. The City finally received the announcement of the abolishment of it. The $27 million operating deficit was then history.

Columbia Gas Explosion Involvement

Since day one, Marcos got involved with the recovery effort process talking to constituents

He met with local elected officials and community leaders to coordinate the recovery efforts

He had several round table discussions with the Columbia Gas President and community leaders to continue addressing the needs and priorities of the affected residents.

Followed up an in-person meeting with Merrimack Valley elected officials with Columbia Gas of Massachusetts team to get an update on the status of the Heating Equipment Replacement Program, as well as get informed of the recent and upcoming community engagement activities and continued system enhancements.

He joined the Lawrence State Delegation to meet with the Heffler Claims Group to discuss and understand the Columbia Gas settlement process

His office helped several constituents to complete his Columbia Gas settlement claim online

He cosponsored Bills S.1967 / H.2850 “An Act Relative to Natural Gas Safety and Responsibility,” to address unsafe situations after the Columbia Gas explosions of 2018.

He joined the Merrimack Valley Delegation and Representative Ehrlich’s Panel to testify on behalf of Bills S.1967 / H.2850 “An Act Relative to Natural Gas Safety and Responsibility,” to address unsafe situations after the Columbia Gas explosions of 2018.

He joined several panels to give his testimony during the public hearings at State House

PROACTIVITY-

AT THE STATE LEVEL, MARCOS:

Joined other legislators on a letter to Governor Charlie Baker to request the Governor to issue an order to “Shelter In Place” or “Stay At Home” for the purpose of suppressing the spread of COVID-19, and prevent the collapse of the healthcare system in Massachusetts.

Voted along with their colleagues in the House of Representatives, to pass legislation to waive the one-week waiting period for workers seeking unemployment insurance benefits related to, or resulting from, the COVID-19 pandemic or the effects of the State of Emergency declared by Governor Baker on March 10, 2020.

Voted along with their colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass legislation to set a moratorium on most residential and commercial evictions and residential foreclosures during the COVID-19 State of Emergency and for 30 days after it ends.

Joined Congresswoman Lori Trahan on a letter to Governor Baker to request that as new federal resources become available from the third stimulus package for COVID-19, that the Governor prioritizes the needs of community hospitals and community health centers (CHC) that primarily serve Medicaid and uncompensated care patients. In the bipartisan deal negotiated by the Senate, $172.1 billion will be invested in health care, vaccine development, state prevention and response efforts, and the purchase of critical medical supplies. Within that sum, $100 billion will be dedicated to hospitals and $1.3 billion to help CHCs recoup lost revenue or cover unreimbursed health care expenses as a result of this pandemic.

Joined other members of The House Asian Caucus and the Black and Latino Caucus to pen a press release in support of United States House Resolution 908, Condemning All Forms of Anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19 filed by Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY). 

Joined other legislators on a letter to Governor Baker to augment your existing efforts to expand the Commonwealth’s healthcare workforce by granting temporary medical licenses to members of our Commonwealth’s communities who are health care personnel and licensed in good standing in foreign countries.

Joined other legislators on a letter to Sonny Perdue, Secretary U.S. Department of Agriculture, to encourage the Department to expand the waiver eligibility of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to assist after school programs that provide critical assistance to underserved populations for the duration of the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Received letter from Martha Goldsmith, Director of the Office of Leasing and State Office Planning to notify the Representative that the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking to lease space in Lawrence, Haverhill, Andover or North Andover. Representative Devers immediately notified Mayor Rivera to apply for the opportunity.

Joined other legislators to cosponsor Bill No. SD.2885: An Act Providing Emergency Assistance to Gateway Cities for Temporary Homeless Shelters.

Joined other legislators on a letter to Commissioner Mary Gallagher of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Banks to immediately consider the following emergency measures to protect our residents from this unprecedented time of financial uncertainty: order financial institutions to offer forbearance for residential mortgages, order financial institutions to offer mortgage forbearance for commercial and rental properties, suspend all debt collection activities including wage garnishment and repossessions, suspend all consumer and small business credit payments, car payments, student loan payments, and other debt and loan payments, suspend all evictions and foreclosures, impose a moratorium on all negative credit reporting.

Joined other legislators and federal delegation on a letter to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to temporarily amend its reimbursement policy to include after school programs, such as the Boys and Girls Club so that they can qualify for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), so the Boys and Girls Club can continue providing food at no cost to its around 350 children.

Joined other legislators and federal delegation to cosponsor HD4978, An Act providing for cash assistance to certain persons over 65 years of age who stopped working as a result of COVID-19 or stay-at-home advisory (The CARE Act). The CARE Act establishes an emergency fund to provide $1500/mo in cash assistance to eligible high-risk elder 1099 workers who experience job loss as a result of COVID-19.

Joined other legislators to cosponsor Bill HD.4949, An Act providing worker compensation protection to emergency response and medical personnel related to COVID-19 infection. This legislation would create a legal presumption that would expedite workers compensation benefits for EMT and ER/Urgent Care medical and non-medical workers who contract COVID-19.

Joined other legislators to cosponsor Bill HD. 4950, An Act providing emergency access to equity and justice for all, in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. The legislation is intended to provide equitable financial assistance for the most vulnerable communities, protect individuals receiving other means-tested public benefits, exclude emergency stipend as countable income for consideration within other public benefits, establish a grant program for small businesses to protect from additional debts in COVID-19, codifies extension of MassHealth benefits, and creates an electronic delivery system for payment of benefit.

Joined other legislators to cosponsor Bill HD. 4945, An Act providing for emergency cash assistance in response to COVID-19. This bill provides one-time cash assistance of $1000 to Massachusetts poor, low-income, and middle-class households, with an additional allocation of $500 per dependent. The assistance will be available to the following households: 1-2 person households who earn $84,000 or less annually; 3 person households earning $105,000 or less annually; and four or more person households earning $131,000 or less annually.

Joined other legislators to cosponsor Bill HD. 4622, An Act to provide short-term relief for families in deep poverty. This bill would provide one-time supplemental cash assistance to Massachusetts’ 30,000 families with children who receive Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) benefits and 19,000 elders and persons with disabilities who receive benefits under the Emergency Aid to Elders, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) program. The benefits for these programs are very low. The maximum TAFDC benefit for a family of three with no countable income is $593 a month. The maximum EAEDC benefit for an elder or disabled person with no countable income is $303 a month. Beneficiaries struggle to pay for basic necessities such as toilet paper, diapers, toothpaste, laundry soap and children’s pain medicine.

Joined other legislators on a letter to the stakeholders of the U.S. airline industry, in particular the Boston Logan International Airport, to demand that commercial building owners and universities offer continued pay benefits to all cleaners on the frontlines of coronavirus. Some 200 contracted airport workers from Boston Logan International Airport have been laid off and hundreds more facing massive hour reductions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The U.S. airline industry seeks at least $58 billion from the federal government in response to the COVID-19 crisis. In exchange for a bailout, airlines have promised to preserve jobs for the hardworking men and women who are directly employed by U.S. airlines, as well as the 10 million jobs supported by the airline industry.

Joined other legislators on a letter to Governor Charlie Barker, to request the Governor seek from President Trump a Major Disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, under the provisions of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5207 (Stafford Act), and implemented by 44 CFR § 206.36. A Major Disaster declaration for COVID-19 would allow Massachusetts residents to access Disaster Unemployment Assistance and receive critically needed revenue if they are laid off due to COVID-19 and ineligible for the Department of Unemployment Assistance benefits.

Joined other legislators on a letter to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Emerging Adults Reentry Initiative to request them to provide a range of pre-release services (education, workforce, and counseling) to young adults from Haverhill and Lawrence, who are currently incarcerated in Essex County Sheriff’s Department (ECSD). These services would help them move away from criminal activities and improve public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joined other legislators on a letter to Governor Charlie Baker and Secretary Marylou Sudders of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to urge them to make changes to the unemployment application process to assist better those claimants with limited English proficiency or limited access to technology. We requested them to translate the DUA’s website in key languages such as Spanish to make it easier for people in disadvantaged communities and towns like Lawrence, MA, where most people speak Spanish.

Organized and led key meetings with stakeholders from el Centro Worcester a 501© (3) organization that seek to establish business opportunity in the City of Lawrence. Marcos paved the road to new business opportunities in Lawrence through the new non-profit agency to provide complementary and non-duplicated services to improve the quality of life of its people in the area of social and healthcare services.

Joined other legislators to cosponsor Bill HD.4945, An Act providing for Emergency Cash Assistance in Response to COVID-19. For purposes of this act the term “qualifying household” shall mean: (a) 1 to 2 person households earning up to 84,000 annually or; 3 person households earning up to $105,000 annually or; 4 or more person households earning up to $131,000 annually, (b) household members who are Massachusetts residents as of the effective date of this act; and (c) filed taxes for tax year 2018 or if taxes were not filed in 2018 can demonstrate their household income and household size through guidelines promulgated by the department.

Joined other legislators to cosponsor Bill HD.4948, An Act relative to the powers of city and town officials during a public health emergency. Chapter 40 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 37A, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, the following section:- SECTION 37B. The mayor of any city other than a city having a Plan D or Plan E form of charter, the city manager of a city having a Plan D or Plan E charter, and the selectmen of a town may, from the date of the emergency declaration issued by the Governor, dated March 10, 2020 and designated as executive order number 591, until such time as the emergency declaration is rescinded by the governor, impose limitations on the operation of businesses within the city or town, including but not limited to limitations on business hours, operating procedures of types of businesses, and closing of types of businesses

Join the Merrimack State Delegation on a letter to Chair Joanne Comerford and Chair Denise Garlick “regarding the critical situation we face in the Merrimack Valley with the growing population of Covid-19 positive folks in Lawrence, and the impact the community spread would have on our homeless population due to the lack of shelters. In addition the critical situation of the Lawrence General Hospital that was already running an approximate $10 million deficit prior to this event.

Joined other legislators on a letter to Governor Charlie Barker, to request the Governor to use his emergency authority to expedite and/or waive credentialing requirements to allow school nurses to help treat COVID-19 patients, as well as to allow school nurses to assist local community health boards with contact tracing efforts, since our local cities and towns are facing daunting challenges in identifying and tracing contacts with COVID-19 positive patients.

Joined other legislators on a letter to Commissioner Gary Anderson Commissioner from the Massachusetts Division of Insurance to request him to 1) suspend insurers from requiring liquor liability insurance payments from businesses impacted by Governor Baker’s Order prohibiting on-premises consumption of food and drink, and 2) establish guidelines to insurers that convey that the COVID-19 pandemic is not an“act of God” for the purposes of business interruption insurance.

Joined other legislators to cosponsor Bill No. SD.2904 An Act establishing a Massachusetts Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for businesses ineligible for the comparable federal PPP. The federal PPP creates a type of emergency loan that effectively turns into a grant when used to maintain payroll through June and expands the network beyond SBA so that banks, credit unions and local lenders can issue the loans. The creation of a comparable Massachusetts PPP loan to grant program would help to address this inequity by incentivizing federally ineligible MA small businesses to not lay off workers and to rehire laid-off workers that lost jobs due to COVID-19 disruptions.

Joined other members of the Black Latinos Legislative Caucus on a letter to Governor Charlie Barker, and President & Chief Executive Officer Steve Walsh, of the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA) to raise awareness regarding the Crisis Standards of Care (e.g. lack of ventilators). Due to the shortness of vents across the Commonwealth, and these Standards, we highlighted that the potential comorbidities to be considered, be it major and/or severe, may disproportionately affect communities of color due to long standing health disparities.

Joined other legislators to cosponsor Bill No. HD.5012 An Act relative to credit rating protection. SECTION 1. Section 52 of Chapter 93 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting, after subsection (6), the following new subsection:- (7) Any late installment loan payments due to the financial impact from the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Applicable installment loans include, but are not limited to, mortgages, auto loans, personal loans, student loans, and outstanding monthly credit card balances. Payments due from the period beginning March 10, 2020 until thirty days after the Governor’s State of Emergency Order is rescinded shall be deemed applicable.

Joined other legislators to cosponsor Bill No. SD.2885, An Act providing emergency assistance to gateway cities for temporary homeless shelters. Chapter 23B of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 30 the following section:-Section 31. The department of housing and community development shall establish a grant program, subject to appropriation, to provide funding for the operation of temporary shelters for homeless individuals established in Gateway Cities during the COVID-19 state of emergency. To ensure compliance with recommended COVID-19 social practices, policies, executive orders the department of housing and community development shall develop guidelines governing the implementation of this grant program.

Joined other state legislators on a letter to our Federal Delegation Representatives to request them to advocate on behalf of Massachusetts residents who receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. We request them that a provision be included in the upcoming Federal stimulus package. Federal- and State-issued ‘Social Distancing Guidelines’ encourage individuals to avoid travel or gathering in public spaces. Many Americans can honor these guidelines by using mobile applications or websites to order groceries to their doorstep. Individuals receiving SNAP benefits, however, currently do not have this safe shopping alternative. On the contrary,Massachusetts SNAP recipients must take additional risk to their health and safety, and to the health and safety of others, by traveling to the grocery store to purchase food with their SNAP EBT cards in person.

Joined other legislators on a letter to the members of the Massachusetts Delegation to the United States Congress to ask them to call on Congress to include a provision in the next stimulus package that allows SNAP EBT benefits to be used for online purchase and delivery of groceries, as an essential policy for enabling MA residents to stay at home and helping us all to remain as healthy as possible during the surge.

Joined other legislators to cosponsor Bill No. An Act to provide equal stimulus checks to immigrant taxpayers. “Eligible taxpayer”, a taxpayer who filed a Massachusetts income tax return for tax year 2019 using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (“ITIN”) and who is ineligible for the recovery rebate in section 2201 of the federal CARES act of 2020; provided that an estate or trust shall not be considered an eligible taxpayer.

Joined other legislators on a letter to Governor Charlie Baker to Curbside Grocer Pickup, by asking the Administration to request this waiver at the earliest date possible and explore whether additional retailers beyond WalMart and Amazon to participate; and also encouraging the Administration to order the (outdoor) curbside pick-up and payment for food for grocery stores that offer online ordering and delivery and encourage other grocers offer this service.

Marcos has always been INVOLVED in meetings and events of the community.
2019 MEETING AND EVENT HIGHLIGHTS
JANUARY

Marcos participated in the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Association meeting with Superintendent Cinthia Paris, and other elected officials to discuss local matters that affect our students and residents, as well as public safety, and updates about Columbia Gas’ recovery effort.

FEBRUARY

Marcos visited ENLACE at Lawrence High School to recognize Shaddai Vargas, a Science Teacher whose innovative project made him win the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest statewide. After the explosions of Columbia Gas on September 13, 2018, Mr. Vargas’s students were very scared and perplexed, so the teacher taught them how the over-pressurized gas pipes caused the tragedy, and how to prevent it from happening.

MARCH

Marcos participated in a roundtable discussion with state legislators from the Third Congressional District to address important issues in the region about the Merrimack River watershed and overflow waste.

APRIL

Marcos heard testimonies during the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures, and State Assets a public hearing along with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to consider Bill H.69, An Act financing improvements to municipal roads and bridges that can benefit our community. 

MAY

Marcos attended the Public Hearing Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight to listen to testimonies about Bill H2757 an Act promoting small business across Massachusetts.

JUNE

Marcos participated in the Small Business Round-Table Discussion with U.S. Congresswoman Lori Trahan to discuss the role the federal government plays in boosting economic development activities in the area.

JULY

Marcos met with Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo to discuss top priorities for the City of Lawrence, such as job and economic opportunities, public safety, access to quality education, affordable housing, affordable health care, and youth at risk. 

AUGUST

Marcos followed up an in-person meeting with Merrimack Valley elected officials with Columbia Gas of Massachusetts team to get an update on the status of the Heating Equipment Replacement Program, as well as get informed of the recent and upcoming community engagement activities and continued system enhancements.

SEPTEMBER

Marcos visited Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Concord (MCI-Concord) to address dozens of inmates, and bring them a message of civility and positive attitude.

OCTOBER​

Marcos co-signed a letter requesting the DOR Commissioner an end to the Department of Revenue’s oversight of the City of Lawrence, and then finally receive the announcement of the abolishment of it.

NOVEMBER

Marcos joined the Merrimack Valley Delegation to testify on behalf of Bills S.1967 / H.2850 “An Act Relative to Natural Gas Safety and Responsibility,” to address unsafe situations after the Columbia Gas explosions of 2018.

DECEMBER

Marcos joined other elected local officials at a Design Public Hearing held by MassDOT to discuss the proposed intersection improvement project at South Broadway (Route28) and Mount Vernon Street in Lawrence, MA.

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