I am currently working on zoning reform as a member of the City of Newton’s Zoning and Planning Committee. Zoning reform is a huge opportunity to provide a more inclusive framework to enable us to meet our goals of providing more affordable and more diverse housing opportunities. It’s also an important tool to promote more sustainable community development patterns. I’m focused on incentivizing more energy-efficient building design, walkable neighborhoods and safer streets for all users including protected bike lanes. There are also opportunities for mimicking nature in our built environment that can help mitigate climate change, reduce the heat island effect and incorporate stormwater improvements to help improve water quality, especially in the Charles River.
As Chair of the Public Facilities Committee, I am exploring how the City of Newton can incentivize the electrification of buildings and phase out the use of fossil fuels for heating and cooling. My job includes supporting cost-effective investments in city buildings, roads and aging water, sewer stormwater systems to ensure reliability, efficiency and save money in the long run. As your state representative, I would be looking to maximize state and federal funds to augment local funds for these improvements.
Supported Newton Power Choice, a municipal aggregation program that purchases an additional 46% renewable energy for a total of 62% of electricity coming from renewable sources (this goes up 2% every year) and also offers Newton residents to opt up to 100% Green Energy at a competitive price.
Voted to adopt Newton’s Climate Action Plan as part of our comprehensive plan and to set a climate goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Supported all the City’s solar initiatives including roof-top and solar canopies on city-owned properties on municipal buildings.
Reconstituted the Citizens Solid Waste Commission which advises the Mayor on best practices for our waste and recycling management programs. This body has made recommendations that have saved the City money and reduced trash tonnage. All our communities are facing much higher future trash disposal costs.
I was the lead sponsor and advocate of an ordinance that phased out single-use plastic bags in Newton. We became the 7th community to pass a plastic bag ban. Now some 139 communities have passed bans on single-use plastic bags. This is a first step to phasing out all single-use plastics which litter our neighborhoods, degrade our environment, threaten the health of our oceans and endanger wildlife.