Massachusetts can be proud of our history as a pioneer in ensuring that everyone can fully participate in civic life. We were long a hotbed of abolitionism, we were the first state to make gay marriage legal, and recently I was proud to vote to ensure that no one can be discriminated against on the basis of their gender identity. Our state’s commitment to equality and justice stands in sharp contrast to the regressive, often hateful rhetoric coming out of Washington DC recently. The fight for civil rights takes constant vigilance and this is true in policy, rhetoric, and in our communities. I am committed to ending discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age and disability, and to ensuring equal and meaningful opportunity for every Massachusetts resident to participate in a civic society in areas such as education, housing, employment, financial services, healthcare, transportation, voting, and marriage.
Massachusetts is consistently rated as having the best schools in the country, but that does not mean there isn’t room for improvement. Instead of turning to privatization, which adds a profit layer to the cost of educating our children and erodes our best-in-the-nation public school system, we need to focus on improving and innovating while ensuring teachers have the tools they need to do their important work. We must invest in our children so they are prepared to meet the long-term needs of the 21st Century. In so doing, we provide the Commonwealth of the future with a skilled and educated workforce underpinning our economy. We have a duty to educate the next generation, not only for economic reasons, but because we have a moral obligation to leave the world better than we found it, and today's students are tomorrow's voters, civic leaders, and global citizens.
Energy & Environment
Before running for office was even a thought of mine, I was a grassroots volunteer for about a decade creating two grassroots groups with nationally-recognized victories that focused on protecting the local environment from a coal-burning power plant that had contaminated our air and drinking water. Energy and Environmental policy is truly at my core and something I studied while earning a Master's degree at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Unfortunately, environmental protection is being squeezed out by climate science denial, the financial heft of the fossil fuel industry, and limited governmental resources. At the same time, spending on storm damage continues to climb as American cities are targeted by more powerful storms and sea-level rise. We can either make the smart move and invest in preserving our environment now or pay much more for our negligence later. Our state already has some of the strongest environmental laws and programs in the country, but we can still do more. As a State Representative, I have always stepped up with legislation and leadership.
Serving in the role of Vice Chair of the Health Care Financing Committee for one session allowed me to appreciate the need for control of costs, which are budget-busters at every level of government, while preserving the level of care for those in need. Everyone deserves access to high-quality, affordable healthcare, and we should all be proud to live in a state that was a pioneer in universal insurance coverage. As two diametrically opposed ideologies approach a showdown on the national stage, political leaders in Massachusetts must recommit ourselves to the principles that everyone, regardless of preexisting conditions or ability to pay, should have access to quality affordable health care.
The American dream rests upon America being a land of opportunity where hard work leads to prosperity. Though the labor market in our nation is changing and shifting based on many factors, Massachusetts' job market is robust. In spite of our high employment rates, according to the US Census Bureau, the gap between the rich and the poor in Massachusetts ranks as one of the widest nationwide. We must do everything we can at the state-level to provide access to affordable, quality training and educational opportunities for under-employed and unemployed workers so they are able to get good jobs with competitive wages. A strong, broad-based economy is key to economic growth.
As the Vice-Chairwoman of The Committee on Labor and Workforce Development for two session, I was able to help pass or forward important labor laws dealing with minimum wage, unemployment benefits, worker training, pay equity, and pregnant worker fairness among others. I have been recognized nationally as a leader in reforming noncompetition agreements, which you can read more about on my legislation page.
Labor & Workforce Development
One in five Massachusetts residents is a member of our growing community of seniors, a changing demographic whose needs are a priority. Our state and our society overall have an unbreakable pact to care for our seniors as they grow older. Older citizens want the same thing as everyone else; access to affordable housing and quality health care, but they also have special needs that must be met due to fixed incomes and health concerns. At the same time I feel it is a mistake to characterize seniors as an entirely separate class of citizens because they have so much to give back to the community and generations that follow them. There are endless opportunities I support to integrate seniors into the community so we do not isolate them completely and squander their valuable experience and wisdom.
Protecting Our Seniors
In the Metro Boston area we know how important an efficient, accessible, and affordable public transportation system is. For so many reasons, the connectivity transportation provides is absolutely essential to our economy and to all of the individuals who use it. Our environmental, economic, development, and housing goals are all deeply related to the quality of the Commuter Rail, the T, our bus lines, our ferry system, and The Ride. Fewer cars on the road helps us meet our climate goals, while easing commutes, while consistent, punctual T rides are necessary if Greater Boston is to continue to compete with other world class metro areas.
Our residents deserve a quality transit system that does not solely rely on aggressive privatization as the only solution. Just as the benefits of a strong transit system are varied, so too are the causes, and a better transportation future for all of us will require effort on several fronts. I am determined to contribute to building a top-notch transportation system that is environmentally-conscious, affordable, and effective.
I am a longtime champion of women's reproductive rights including access to birth control, pre/post-natal care, and sex education. Women should also have access to mammograms and other types of preventative health care that ensure safe and healthy lives. Women deserve the right to unlock their potential to pursue their goals and achieve them, and providing equitable and effective access to all available forms of healthcare is key to providing that opportunity.
As the Co-Chair of the sexual assault working group in the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators I am also very passionate about preventing dangerous situations for women on college campuses and elsewhere.
Our veterans, who express a willingness to put their lives on the line when they enlist or in the case of many, were drafted, deserve to return home to programs that care for them with the utmost attention, quality, and respect. Massachusetts is often recognized with the highest rating among all 50 states for veteran care. This is a tremendous source of pride but not something we take for granted. Addressing post-traumatic stress disorder, veteran homelessness and unemployment, and problems in veterans’ healthcare are all top priorities of mine as we continue to find ways to do more.