Thursday, 4:30 PM
Travaglini pledges millions for stem cells, higher ed
Senate President Robert Travaglini today called for spending up to $60-million for stem cell research over the next five years and millions more to enhance public higher education.
In an interview with WBUR-FM, Travaglini said "public higher education is a top priority here for the Senate'' as is "the continuation of the stem cell research discussion.'' (See partial transcript here.)
"I think it's time for the Commonwealth to make a decision as to whether or not we have a financial obligation to participate in that research and to contribute to that research,'' Travaglini told the station. "I've met with representatives from the Children's Hospital recently and some of the scientists who are doing significant work with sickle cell anemia and leukemia and they are indicating to me that we could potentially realize a breakthrough in a very short period of time with some new revenues on the part of the Commonwealth which demonstrates quite frankly a partnership in this research.''
Pressed on the amount, Travaglini said: "it would be between, oh I don't know, I'd say $40 and $60 million.''
The East Boston Democrat also called for spending $75-million to $80-million on public higher education over the next four to five years, focusing on infrastructure and on research.
"Obviously the infrastructure on all of the campuses is in dire need of repair,'' he said. "It's also time to expand with the new types of research and the white-coat economy that we're starting to trend into where we should provide additional resources and enhance the stability of our faculty at all of the campuses across the Commonwealth and we should also give a shot to the community colleges as well. So I'm talking a lot of money here.''
Last year, the Massachusetts legislature passed a measure endorsing stem cell research and subsequently overrode a veto by Governor Mitt Romney. Travaglini has previously called for state stem cell spending, but later backed off. Governor-elect Deval Patrick has also called for stem cell research spending.