Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to meet with Massachusetts State Representative Donald Wong or the state’s northern cities, Saugus and Lynn. In his time at the Massachusetts State House, Rep. Wong serves on the Joint Committee on the Financial Services and the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. Before coming to the State House of Representatives, Donald served on the Saugus Town Meeting Member and the Saugus Board of Selectmen. He was elected to the MA State House in 2010. Furthermore, Donald is a third generation Chinese American and is a successful owner of a 60 year restaurant business, Kowloon Restaurant.
It was definitely a pleasant surprise to meet an Asian American in the Massachusetts government who represent a district outside the Boston Metropolitan area and he is also a Republican (I later found out after I met him…should have thought of that when he voiced his opposition to a sales tax increase and stated that the state budget was “going down like an airplane”). However, unlike mainstream Republicans we see in Washington nowadays, Donald strongly believes that we as a community need to take care of one another. He is truly concerned about the problems facing his constituents in the Saugus area and addressing the needs of his district. He regularly tries to meet with people in his district and hear their concerns in various community centers. Donald supported youth and recreational programs and identified himself as a friend and advocate for veterans in Saugus. He managed to secure funding for neighborhood crime watch and police cruiser communication systems as well as facilitated bridge repairs two years ahead of schedule. Furthermore, next year, Rep. Wong plans on proposing a tax deduction for families who are caregivers for members who are elderly and/or disabled.
However, the main intent of my visit was to talk to him about for the Disabled Persons Protection Commission, which is currently facing a one percent cut in funding under the Fiscal Year 2014 State Budget. Donald is a prominent member of the House and Joint Ways and Means Committee. This committee is primarily handling the MA State Budget in debating on which programs and state agencies should receive either an increase in funding, decrease in funding, or maintaining funding at the same level. Upon learning about his beliefs about the community, I told the representative that it was important that funding for the Disabled Persons Protection Commission should be restored to its original levels at $2.6 million instead of reduced to $2.4 million. Currently, the Commission has a small staff of 28 that answers a significantly rising number of cases is abuse committed against persons with disabilities. In addition, their limited budget prevents them from completing their investigations within a 30 day period and offer protections for the victims. Fortunately, as a result, Rep. Wong assured me he will support for funding the Disabled Persons Protection Commission. In response, I graciously thanked for his support.