Photo montage of Denise Garlick in action around district

Issues and Concerns

Noteworthy Issues & Concerns

Strengthening Public Health Services

In 2015, Representative Garlick filed legislation to establish the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health. The 25-member commission of public health and municipal experts released a 2019 report identifying ways for municipalities to overcome barriers and provide quality public health services to residents in the Commonwealth.

In response to the commission’s findings, Representative Garlick filed legislation to implement the recommendations and begin the work to strengthen public health in the Commonwealth – the bill became known as SAPHE 1.0 and was signed into law in April 2020.

To fully address the public health disparities, in the most recent legislative session, Representative Garlick continued her work with public health leaders in Massachusetts by leading the second phase of legislation known as SAPHE 2.0 which passed unanimously in the House last session.

This legislation established minimum public health standards for communities, increased service capacity, and created uniform data collection to provide greater analysis on public health services in the Commonwealth.

Protecting Frontline Workers

As a Registered Nurse for over 40 years, and former president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Representative Garlick knows firsthand that workplace violence in the healthcare arena is real. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare workers face instances of violence more frequently than any other profession.

To better protect healthcare workers in the Commonwealth, Representative Garlick has been the lead sponsor of legislation to develop and implement programs in healthcare facilities to prevent workplace violence.

Understanding that healthcare facilities and the communities they serve experience diverse challenges, Representative Garlick continues to advocate for policies that are tailored to the individual facility, instead of a “on-size-fits-all” approach and that prioritizes the care and treatment of the healthcare workers upon whom our communities rely.

Supporting Veterans

As the State Representative to of the 13th Norfolk District, Representative Garlick works closely with constituents to understand the challenges they face and develop creative solutions.

Through this work, Representative Garlick and members of VFW Post 2498 Needham, identified a difference regarding eligibility for veterans’ survivor benefits for the families of disabled veterans. According to the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN), 31% of veterans nationally report having no emergency savings at all. The lack of financial resources creates additional challenges for veterans and their families; prior to the COVID-19 pandemic 1 in 8 veteran and military families reported being food insecure, since March 2020 increased to 1 in 5 of veteran and military families.

In response, Representative Garlick filed legislation to expand eligibility to the families of all veterans with a service-related disability and provide a necessary financial lifeline in their time of need.

Improving Access to Healthcare

As a direct care nurse for many years, as an elected official, as the former House Chair for the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, as the former House Chair for the Joint Committee on Mental Health Substance Use and Recovery, Representative Garlick has a deep and intimate connection to our health care system and its many dimensions.

Health care reforms in Massachusetts have helped 97% of residents secure health care coverage. Despite the high percentage of residents in Massachusetts with health care coverage, a 2019 Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) survey found 48% of insured Massachusetts residents reported issues related to the cost of care. The high cost of care often results in residents declining or prolonging medical care.

To address the barriers to care, Representative Garlick filed legislation creating a single-payer healthcare system to cover all medically necessary care, similar to the Federal Medicare program but with broader coverage and no deductibles, premiums, or copayments.

Enhancing School Resources

Continuing her work to address the challenges faced by communities in the 13th Norfolk District, Representative Garlick worked closely with members of the Needham Public Schools to identify areas that would improve flexibility and efficiency in school budget spending. Under the Massachusetts General Laws, school districts across the Commonwealth are required to complete extensive procedures for the purchase of school resources and educational materials.

To ease the administrative burden of obtaining the tools to provide students with a highquality learning environment, Representative Garlick’s bill Act relative to school operational efficiency was signed into law that will enhance school districts in Massachusetts ability to obtain educational materials and reduce administrative costs therefore allowing school districts greater flexibility in their budget process and access the materials students need in a timely manner. 

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