Armini, Crighton’s committee assignments focus on environment, justice, mental health

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State Rep. Jenny Armini stumped on environmental issues when she ran for the 8th Essex District seat in 2022, calling climate change “the existential crisis of our time.” 

Now, the Marblehead Democrat will sit on two legislative committees charged with helping curb the adverse effects of climate change. Massachusetts House Speaker Ronald Mariano, Democrat of Quincy, appointed the Marblehead Democrat to the House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change and the Joint Committee on Environmental and Natural Resources. 

“These assignments offer a tremendous opportunity to shape environmental policy at a critical juncture for the 8th Essex District and the entire commonwealth,” Armini told the Marblehead Current. “Marblehead, Swampscott and Lynn are coastal gems, rich in natural resources. The negative impact of climate change on these communities and every community demands we continue to build on what the Legislature accomplished last session.”

With these appointments, Armini will pick up the baton from her predecessor, former state rep. Lori Ehrlich. Ehrlich was a staunch advocate and activist for environmental causes. Armini, out of the gate, began talking about legislative priorities.

“I look forward to partnering with my colleagues to secure our coastline, advance effective climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies and promote environmental protection and preservation,” she said. “I will also be working hard to amplify the voices and concerns of those living in environmental justice communities like Lynn.” 

Moreover, Mariano appointed Armini to the Joint Committee on Higher Education and the House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling. 

She called higher education “the engine that keeps the Massachusetts innovation economy the envy of the world.”

“It is also what propels young people into the middle class and beyond,” said Armini. “Ensuring that all students who want the chance have it, without bankrupting their futures, is something I look forward to tackling this session.”

On the Senate side, state Sen. Brendan Crighton will chair the new Senate Committee on Juvenile and Emerging Adult Justice. 

“I deeply believe in making sure that our youth are being steered in the right direction and not in an overly punitive way, but in a thoughtful way that looks at them in a more holistic way,” Crighton told the Current in a phone interview. 

The Senate committee’s formation comes on the heels of a joint legislative task force publishing a report on the status of Emerging Adults in the Massachusetts Criminal Justice System in 2020. 

Senate President Karen Spilaka, Democrat of Ashland, appointed the Lynn Democrat as the chairperson of the Joint Committee on Transportation. The committee is responsible for “all matters concerning the development, operation, regulation and control of all means of transportation in the air, on land or in the water.”  

Crighton is returning to the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, which he formerly served on. 

“[Mental Health Substance Use and Recovery Committee] is one that I care a lot about [and] has been pretty active,” said Crighton. “Obviously, we continue to have a crisis on both fronts, so it is an important committee to me, and I’m excited to be back on it.”He will serve as vice chair on the Senate Committee on Personnel and Administration. And if his leadership posts weren’t enough, Crighton will serve as a member on the Senate committees on rules and ethics as well as the Joint Committee on Rules.

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