+ − Contact Information
Email Address: email@example.com
Phone: (617) 722-2380
Fax: (617) 722-2215
24 Beacon St
Boston, MA 02108
+ − Biography
Since her election in 1998, Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera has represented the Tenth Hampden District of Springfield as a Democratic State Representative. The Representative’s committee chairmanships include: the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, 2005—2006; the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, 2007—2008; and the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, 2009—2010.
During her tenure in the House of Representatives, Cheryl Coakley-Rivera has played a key role in addressing the concerns and interests of her constituents in the Tenth Hampden District – work that she started at the local level as Chairwoman of the Springfield Park Commission (1988— 2000) and as a member of the Springfield Planning Board (1999—2000). Her civic participation actually started at an early age, learning while working alongside her community-activist parents, known as staunch advocates for social justice. Under their tutelage, she learned the importance of standing up for people’s rights; working collaboratively toward a common goal; and taking pride in her community. She is pleased to continue this important work in an expanded role as a State Representative and legislative policy maker whose priority is to help the people of her District, the residents of the City of Springfield, and the children, families and persons with disabilities who reside within our great Commonwealth.
As Chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, she led efforts to secure funding for the Charles E. Shannon Community Safety Initiative, in order to support prevention efforts and intervention strategies focused on gang violence; and to create the first statewide witness protection program, as provided in Chapter 48 of the Acts of 2006.
As Chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, she worked diligently with her colleagues to guide and ensure the passage of nine laws including the landmark, Chapter 176, An Act Protecting Children in the Care of the Commonwealth. The intent of this law is to provide more protection to the state’s most vulnerable children. It contains the following provisions: the training of social workers; the imposition of penalties against mandated reporters who knowingly fail to report abuse; calling for immediate reporting to law enforcement when serious bodily injury is involved; statutorily establishing the newly created office of the Child Advocate; and the establishment of an Advisory Commission on Grandparents Raising Children. Furthermore, the legislative intent of thirty relevant bills were incorporated into this comprehensive law. Additionally, through Chairwoman Coakley-Rivera’s strong advocacy efforts, Chapter 257, An Act Relative to Rates for Human and Social Service Programs was also signed into law. Chapter 257 establishes a rate-setting process for state-contracted social service programs whose workers take care of our elderly, our children, our veterans and our families. This law will ensure fairness in reimbursement rates for services performed by these providers who are paid very low wages for the vital work they perform.
As Chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, she has heard from workers, employers, unions, trade organizations and advocates who have appeared before the Committee which is charged with considering all matters concerning discrimination in the workplace, labor laws, employee rights, and workers’ compensation. The Representative was instrumental in the passage of Chapter 285 of the Acts of 2010, which will protect honest employers by providing a private right of action to enforce certain provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Law. Specifically, Chapter 285 will allow any three persons to bring a civil action against an employer to recover amounts that should have been paid in securing proper workers’ compensation insurance. The new law will provide a new enforcement device for the Workers’ Compensation Law, helping to ensure that employers compete on an even playing field. Additionally, she was instrumental in the passage of Chapter 293 of the Acts of 2010, also known as the “prompt pay” act, which requires certain construction contracts to include a specific requisition and payment schedule, ensuring timely payment in accordance with time frames set forth in the Act.
Representative Coakley-Rivera has represented her constituents with skill and compassion and is known for her ability to get results. The people of the Tenth Hampden District count on her strong support on behalf of children, the elderly, working families, and persons with disabilities. She is known as a strong advocate for the development of more educational and employment opportunities; for increased economic development; for the continued viability of community-based organizations; and for taking a strong stand on environmental issues. In recognition of her commitment and significant contributions, the Representative has received numerous awards. The most recent awards include: The Lighthouse Leadership Award for her advocacy and support for those with disabilities; the MA Executive Office of Health & Human Services’ Department of Mental Health Certificate of Appreciation for her legislative leadership on behalf of adults and children with mental illness and their families; the Grey 2K USA Greyhound Leadership Award; and the National Conference for Community & Justice Human Relations Award for high standard of responsible leadership and in recognition of her contributions to promoting understanding, tolerance, and cooperation in our increasingly diverse community.
An attorney, Representative Coakley-Rivera attended Cathedral High School, Northeastern University and Western New England School of Law, where she earned her Juris Doctorate.