2017 “Official Massachusetts Symbols” Bills on the Hill


One measure that was filed by a legislator and not on behalf of any students, is the one that would make “Roadrunner” by Modern Love the state’s official rock song. The proposal was first filed in 2013 by Weymouth Mayor Bob Hedlund and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Both men were state legislators at that time. 

  Rep. Dave Linsky (D-Natick) picked up the torch and filed the bill in 2015 but it went nowhere. He has filed it again this year. Linsky tells Beacon Hill Roll Call that The Modern Lovers were a Boston-based rock band led by Jonathan Richman who is a Natick native, the town in which Linsky was born and currently represents as a state representative.  

  “‘Roadrunner,’ ranked the 274th Greatest Song of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine, embodies what it was like for my generation growing up in the Massachusetts of the 1970s and 1980s,” said Linsky. “The lyrics of the song take the listener on a late-night car ride down Massachusetts Route 128, passing by several Bay State landmarks, including Stop & Shop, Howard Johnson’s, Routes 9 and 128 and the Massachusetts Turnpike. ‘Roadrunner’ combines the liberation of youth on the open road with the sights and sounds (Radio on!) of our beloved Commonwealth.”

  Reps. James Cantwell (D-Marshfield) and Josh Cutler (D-Duxbury) had originally disagreed with the choice of “Roadrunner.” In 2014, they filed a competing bill that would make Aerosmith’s “Dream On” the official rock song. They have since compromised. “We agreed to support Roadrunner as [the] state rock song,” said Cutler. “Aerosmith makes more sense as [the state’s] official rock band.” The duo plans to eventually file the Aerosmith bill.


 The quahog, a hard-shelled clam enjoyed by many seafood lovers. It also served as a form of currency for Native American tribes.


Gingham. The Town of Clinton was a world leader in the manufacture of cotton gingham fabric. According to the town’s website, “In 1828 the Bigelow brothers, Erastus and Horatio, started an industrial revolution that left a lasting mark on the many aspects of Clinton. Erastus, a mechanical genius, invented the power loom for manufacturing coachlace, counterpane cloths and gingham plaids. With Horatio, a marketing entrepreneur, the brothers captured a firm hold on the textile industry.” 


The Boston Cream Pie Cupcake as the official cupcake. Need we say more?


Bell’s Seasoning as the official seasoning. It was created in 1867 by Boston inventor William Bell and is manufactured in East Weymouth.


 The Black Swallowtail as the official butterfly. Sponsors say this is an opportunity to educate, inform and engage the public as butterflies play a role in maintaining a healthy environment and are an important contributor to the ecosystem and help promote plant diversity.


 “14 Counties of Massachusetts” as the state’s official county song. The song was written by Darci Hamman and her third-grade class at Our Lady’s Academy, a private catholic school in Waltham, to provide a fun and engaging way for students across the state to learn the names of the 14 counties of Massachusetts.


  The entire list of official state symbols/designations can be found online at: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cispdf/Mass_Facts.pdf 

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