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Opinion: Senator Michael Rodrigues’ Commission for the Blind funding must stick in final budget



Blind and visually impaired community members are usually told to accept what we’re given and be grateful. That means: under resourced agencies that are not accountable to the community.

Recently, workers, consumers, and advocates came together to confront long-standing dysfunction at the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. We successfully advocated for accountability from leadership to the Blind community and to MCB staff and created a pathway toward rebuilding the agency.

Now, the State Senate has taken steps to further sustain this important agency. State budgets can seem boring or overwhelming to the average constituent. Even to our elected leaders, each individual line item can seem easy to cut in favor of more urgent or higher-profile spending. But thanks to the leadership of Senator Michael Rodrigues, the Senate Budget has added a quarter of a million dollars over last year’s final budget for the Commission for the Blind.

While we are hopeful that this critical investment is included in the final bill that goes to Governor Healey, we are very appreciative of Senator Rodrigues’ advocacy during the Senate debate in favor of the important services provided by MCB’s rehabilitation teachers, mobility instructors, and social workers.

If adopted in the legislature’s final budget, this will make a huge difference for me, my coworkers, and thousands of people we serve every day.

Jim Badger-Aguilar
Acting President, SEIU Local 509 MCB Chapter Consumer, Mass. Commission for the Blind

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