News, Off Campus

BC Economic Association Presents at the Massachusetts State House

Dressed in suits and ties, jackets and dresses, 18 students from the Analyst Program of the Boston College Economics Association traveled to the Massachusetts State House in Boston to meet with representatives on Thursday afternoon.

Leading up to the event, the students divided into six groups. Each group was assigned a particular area to research—deer overpopulation, underage drinking, developing agriculture in Massachusetts, bail reform, the opioid epidemic, and daily fantasy sports. The students then organized proposals for ways in which state legislation could be improved with regard to these issues.

Prior to the meeting at the State House, the students held an event on campus to practice their presentations and to get feedback from students and faculty.

Today, each group gave a seven-minute presentation on their findings and solutions.

The group working on the issue of the overpopulation of deer found that the animals are problematic because they can spread Lyme disease, cause car crashes, and affect local wildlife. Their solutions for this issue were to promote commercial removal, remove the law that says that hunting is not allowed on Sundays, and increase education and advertisements for hunting.

“The opioid issues, believe me, we’re going to be dealing with those.It’s your generation more than mine.”

—Jim Cantwell, Mass. representative and BC ’88

With regards to developing agriculture in Mass., the students decided that the creation of an E-Z pass for farmers would help farmers expand geographically and increase their incomes. Their research showed that farmers have to pay multiple tolls each day to get their goods to the marketplace, which costs them thousands of dollars each year. An E-Z pass, the students believed, would encourage farmers to expand their farms without the fear of having to pay more tolls, and would allow them to save thousands of dollars.

Upon arrival at the State House, Representative Jim Cantwell, BC ’88, whom Ian Wyllie, head of the Analyst Program and MCAS ’18, knew from a previous summer job, showed the BC students around the State House. Cantwell, a BC grad, interned at the State House after his sophomore year of college and decided that it was where he wanted to work.

He took them to House of Representatives room, where the representatives meet to propose, debate, and vote on legislation.

Cantwell explained the history of the room. For example, he said, the taxidermied fish hanging in the back of the courthouse faces in one direction when the Hemocrats hold the majority and in another when the Republicans hold the majority. No one can remember, Cantwell said, a time when the fish was facing in favor of the Republicans.

Cantwell then led the students into a smaller, more private side room, explaining that this is where most of the representatives meet when they want to talk without the cameras on them. It was in this more secluded room that the students had lunch with the representatives and their aides and gave their presentations.

Following the presentations, the legislators also offered some advice and feedback to the students. Cantwell offered to put the students in touch with other representatives if they wanted to continue to pursue these issues.

“The opioid issues, believe me, we’re going to be dealing with those,” Cantwell said regarding the presentation on opioid addiction. “It’s your generation more than mine.”

Featured Image by Sophie Reardon / Heights Editor

April 14, 2016