It’s coming up on 6 months since South Boston’s newest elected official was sworn into office. State Representative David Biele has been active in neighborhood issues for many years as a concerned resident/private citizen before running for the position. South Boston Today recently reached out to him to speak about his first half year on the job, to get his feelings and thoughts about what he’s been doing, how he believes it’s been going and what his goals at the state house are for the future, representing possibly the busiest district in the entire state.
Long before we contacted him and asked for an interview, this newspaper as well as so many of his constituents have been watching him work. Most would agree, he seems to be everywhere and involved in every issue going on in the district; and as everyone is aware, there are many, most are big and all of them important. To say he’s busy would be an understatement. He sits on 4 committees: The State Administrative Regulatory Oversight Committee, The Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technology, The Committee on Community Development and Small Business and the Committee on Export Development, which deals with commerce between the Commonwealth and its partners, of which Massport plays a major part.
As if these committee assignments are not time consuming enough, he and his legislative aide Tom Mannion attend countless community meetings to have input, answer questions from neighbors and find out the concerns of his constituents. This is often a seven days/seven nights a week schedule for Rep. Biele and Tom Mannion too (It’s a 2 man office, there is no large staff to spread the work around) – so we asked him how he does it, if he even finds time to sleep and what are his thoughts on such a heavy work load. His response was “it would be nice if there could be 26 or 27 hours in a day rather than just 24”. He says lack of more hours in a day is probably the most difficult thing to deal with, especially when representing a district like South Boston with so much going on and sometimes these issues arise unpredictably. But he loves his job, of this there is no doubt.
South Boston Today asked Biele what he liked most about being the state rep from South Boston and he was quick to answer. “Being the advocate for my South Boston neighborhood and being able to look out for their best interests is wonderful. I look forward to waking up each morning and going to work for my 40,000 bosses, who are my constituents. I work for them and I strive to give them my very best effort and to leave no stone unturned in order to benefit the district. This was something instilled in me by my parents at an early age and is something I will never forget”.
Representative Biele says that he is very fortunate to have a great working relationship with all the other local elected officials and that because they all work as a team, it makes accomplishing goals easier. He works well with Congressman Stephen Lynch, State Senator Nick Collins, City Councilors Mike Flaherty and Ed Flynn and Clerk of Court Mike Donovan. Much of the experience he gained on issues dealt with at the state house level came from being the legislative aide to Nick Collins, when Collins was the state representative. And he credits and has much appreciation for the way the local officials have been welcoming to him and how that even before he was sworn into office after winning the election, they kept him in the loop, so he would be able to hit the ground running so to speak.
Some of the many issues Representative Biele has been working on are making sure South Boston gets its fair share of funding for projects. For example, he has worked well with Senator Collins and others on the creation of the ‘South Boston Foundation’. The SBF, in cooperation with Massport, ensures that for every container that is processed at the Connolly Terminal, a dollar is donated to benefit South Boston’s youth programs. This is no small amount when you realize how many containers come in by ship. He has been working to bring in economic and job creating commerce to the district, while at the same time making sure it has no negative impact on the quality of life for residents which is most important. He helped pass a bill that allotted $14.6 million for infrastructure restoration and improvement for the city’s roads and bridges.
Rep. Biele was recently appointed as one of the commissioners to the Beaches Commission, which along with ‘Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’ has been working hard to make Metropolitan area beaches cleaner and more beautiful than ever. The result of this effort is that South Boston now has 4 out of the top 5 cleanest beaches; something that Biele is very happy about.
Of course, tackling the affordable housing crisis is a major goal and is doing all he can on the state level to improve on this serious situation. And there are so many more issues and projects that Representative David Biele has been working with on behalf of South Boston that affect every part of the district, far too many to cover in one story. But to mention another that is dear to the hearts of South Bostonians, especially to our veterans and their families, there is the defaced WW II monument. Biele was hands on, 7 days a week on site after the vandalism, making sure that whatever was needed, whatever work had to be done and as many resources were required to make the repairs were brought in. He has even helped sponsor a bill to name the Gazebo next to the monument in honor of the late John Mullen, who was a driving force in getting the memorial built.
In closing, the first six months on the job brings in high marks from the district’s constituents for State Representative Biele. Residents have said they find him to be a full-time state representative, hands on, hardworking, sincere and effective. Not bad, not bad at all.