I Support a Massachusetts Green New Deal

Climate scientists now realize that their predictions from 40 years ago were incorrect — global warming is happening much faster than they thought. We must reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. We can reach this goal but starts with political leadership. Our elected officials must be able to respond to crisis much more quickly and effectively and at a scale and scope that’s required to get the job done. The cost of inaction will cost the Commonwealth dearly and will almost certainly be borne disproportionately by the poor, the disenfranchised, the disabled and communities of color.  We need lawmakers with the drive, the vision and the courage to act. I believe a Green New Deal will be a tremendous opportunity to create well-paying jobs, improve public health, improve quality of life for more people and improve environmental quality.

This Green New Deal must include labor and those most impacted by climate change to ensure that we have a just transition to renewable energy, and that way we will not leave our workers or marginalized communities behind.

We need to at a minimum:

  • Commit to sourcing electricity from 100% renewables by 2040
  • Divest from fossil fuels completely
  • Phase out new fossil fuel infrastructure
  • Electrify our transportation infrastructure
  • Require new developments to be built to passive house standards or net-zero emissions
  • Require the retrofitting of all new housing and commercial buildings to the highest efficiency standards and use heat pumps and fossil fuel free technology for heating and cooling.
  • Incentivize electric vehicles
  • Exploit our opportunities for offshore wind

Voting Rights

One of the reasons I am challenging the incumbent, Rep. John Lawn is my frustration with his lack of action on expanding voting rights. Currently, voters must register at least 20 days before election day in Massachusetts. This means thousands of people get disenfranchised. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to adopt same-day registration, including Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont. It has been working well in these states for many years. Where is Massachusetts on this?

Mr. Lawn is the Chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws and he is letting important bills languish in his committee. This includes House Bill 636 which has just been extended until after the November election with no favorable (or adverse) report on “ought to pass” or “ought not to pass”.

The original champion of the bill has resigned her seat and is no longer serving. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H636 Why is Mr. Lawn not taking up the mantle to push this bill through the House before the end of the term?

It’s the same deal with H685 https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H685

And the same with the Senate bill 396 https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S396/BillHistory…

Both Attorney General Maura Healy and Secretary Galvin support same-day voter registration. Mr. Galvin called it the “final step to ensuring everyone who can vote will have the opportunity to do so”.

Ms. Healy has stated that same-day voter registration will expand opportunities to more people who want to vote. “Voting rights are civil rights” and by “increasing participation among people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to vote, we’ll be taking a stand against the apathy and frustration that makes thousands of people opt out of the system all together.”

Same-day voter registration is an effective policy that clearly boosts turnout. States with same-day registration have a well-documented turnout advantage over states without it — an advantage of 7 percentage points in the 2018 midterm, according to the “America Goes to the Polls” report from Nonprofit VOTE and the U.S. Elections Project. In fact, seven of the 10 highest turnout states in 2018 had same-day registration.

Where is Chair Lawn on efforts to ensure all Massachusetts voters have the right to vote? 

Please see the attached articles for more information:

Same-Day Voter Registration Bill Could Boost Turnout In Mass. By 100,000, Advocates Say

Massachusetts should pass Election Day registration legislation

Galvin, Healey advocate for same-day voter registration on Beacon Hill

Voting Rights

One of the reasons I am challenging the incumbent, Rep. John Lawn is my frustration with his lack of action on expanding voting rights. Currently, voters must register at least 20 days before election day in Massachusetts. This means thousands of people get disenfranchised. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to adopt same-day registration, including Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont. It has been working well in these states for many years. Where is Massachusetts on this?

Mr. Lawn is the Chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws and he is letting important bills languish in his committee. This includes House Bill 636 which has just been extended until after the November election with no favorable (or adverse) report on “ought to pass” or “ought not to pass”.

The original champion of the bill has resigned her seat and is no longer serving. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H636 Why is Mr. Lawn not taking up the mantle to push this bill through the House before the end of the term?

It’s the same deal with H685 https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H685

And the same with the Senate bill 396 https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S396/BillHistory…

Both Attorney General Maura Healy and Secretary Galvin support same-day voter registration. Mr. Galvin called it the “final step to ensuring everyone who can vote will have the opportunity to do so”.

Ms. Healy has stated that same-day voter registration will expand opportunities to more people who want to vote. “Voting rights are civil rights” and by “increasing participation among people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to vote, we’ll be taking a stand against the apathy and frustration that makes thousands of people opt out of the system all together.”

Same-day voter registration is an effective policy that clearly boosts turnout. States with same-day registration have a well-documented turnout advantage over states without it — an advantage of 7 percentage points in the 2018 midterm, according to the “America Goes to the Polls” report from Nonprofit VOTE and the U.S. Elections Project. In fact, seven of the 10 highest turnout states in 2018 had same-day registration.

Where is Chair Lawn on efforts to ensure all Massachusetts voters have the right to vote? 

Please see the attached articles for more information:

Same-Day Voter Registration Bill Could Boost Turnout In Mass. By 100,000, Advocates Say

Massachusetts should pass Election Day registration legislation

Galvin, Healey advocate for same-day voter registration on Beacon Hill

Racial and Economic Justice and Black Lives Matter

The events of the last 3 months have put a spotlight on how far we still need to go to have a truly fair and just society. A society where people are not prejudged, dismissed or disenfranchised because of the color of their skin. Systemic and entrenched racism has permeated this country from its inception. The whole world now knows the name of George Floyd who has become a symbol of our culture of violence and police brutality. We know his name, but there are many others.  In our neighborhoods, in our streets, the voices are loud and clear that change has to happen.  Elected officials have a crucial role to play in recognizing the problem and putting in place new policies and laws to protect the civil rights of all people. The role of the police must change as well. Their role must reflect all the people that they have a duty to serve.  We must broaden the definition of public safety and security and make better use of public resources to ensure security for all. Fundamentally, it is not a heavily armed police officer that keeps us safe. It is the integrated fabric of our community that supports, nurtures us, and makes us whole. It is our neighbors with secure jobs, with a comfortable place to live and with health insurance they can afford. It is also our neighborhood schools, our libraries, our senior centers, our neighborhood organizations and clubs and our houses of worship that bring us together, look out for one another and keep our neighborhoods thriving, learning and inviting. 

Over fifty years ago the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others called for a “revolution of values” in America. They sought to build a broader movement that could unite us all and include our marginalized communities. I hear that call now. There is work that remains unfinished. I believe that as a Commonwealth we must build the political will to confront the chronic problems of an economy based on fossil fuels and the raw exploitation of both people and the environment. I’m tired of the underfunding of programs that support human needs. This requires that collectively we rethink our priorities. I for one would prioritize safe affordable housing, good quality health insurance and clean air and water rather than excessive spending on weapons of war and the militarization of our police.

I want to be clear that  police reform and the Black Lives Matter Message are not mutually exclusive. I see how they complement each other and help make our law enforcement institutions stronger and more effective. Our Police officers in Waltham, Watertown and Newton are good people. Many have grown up in our communities and live in our neighborhoods. They are well-trained professionals that help people in times of great need and distress. They deserve our support.

The BLM message does not mean other lives don’t matter, of course they do. Every human life matters. The message of BLM calls out the inherent racism suffered every day by people of color and the significant increase in violence, arrest and incarceration that occurs in their interaction with law enforcement and the legal system. Black men and boys are killed by police at the rate 2 1/2 times the rate of white men and boys. It’s a shocking statistic and we need to recognize the important message of BLM is working to change that statistic. 

On July 25th Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a sweeping police reform and accountability bill that would, among other provisions, certify all law enforcement officers in the state and curb the use of force tactics by police. My opponent voted against the Bill in its entirety. The bill was far from ideal but I believe that it would lead to progress. Rep. Lawn also voted “NO” on key amendments proposed to strengthen the bill. This included the use of tear gas and a restriction on “no-knock warrants” that required the police to ensure that minor children and adults over 65 are not in the home.  

I would have voted very differently. 

Invest in Transit

There are several ways that we can improve our transportation system. We need to address how our land-use and development decisions affect our transportation patterns, how to minimize single-use vehicles, and how to decarbonize our transit.

Read more about our transportation systems and what they can be here:

The future of transportation in Boston could be bold — and bright

The Massachusetts car economy is costing us $64 billion a year, and we barely notice it

We need more transparency and accountability in government

I am committed to good and effective government. This requires listening to all voices and giving everyone a seat at the table. Collaboration and engagement, robust debate and thoughtful planning have been hallmarks in my work as a city councilor and I will continue on that path as your state representative.

Massachusetts is unique in that no other state in the nation exempts all three branches of government from the open meeting law.  Recently, a special commission on public records dissolved after unsuccessful attempts to expand public records law. There must be some middle ground that allows for more transparency and citizen engagement.  A healthy democracy depends on it.

More Affordable and Diverse Housing

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.

We Need More Housing and More Diverse Housing Choices

Over the last 30 years, we have not been building enough housing to meet the needs. The result is sky-high housing costs that burden all but the affluent.  I support building density where appropriate and prioritize building smaller and highly energy-efficient units.  Mixed-use developments adjacent to city centers near amenities and transit reduces reliance on driving and helps create more walkable and vibrant communities.

I support the Governor’s Housing Choice Bill which is a collaboration between the Commonwealth and our communities that will enable the adoption of certain zoning best practices related to housing development by a simple majority vote, rather than the current two-thirds supermajority.

For more information:

Baker-Polito Administration Files New Housing Legislation to Increase Housing Production in Massachusetts

We need more transparency and accountability in government

I am committed to good and effective government. This requires listening to all voices and giving everyone a seat at the table. Collaboration and engagement, robust debate and thoughtful planning have been hallmarks in my work as a city councilor and I will continue on that path as your state representative.

Massachusetts is unique in that no other state in the nation exempts all three branches of government from the open meeting law.  Recently, a special commission on public records dissolved after unsuccessful attempts to expand public records law. There must be some middle ground that allows for more transparency and citizen engagement.  A healthy democracy depends on it.

Invest in Transit

There are several ways that we can improve our transportation system. We need to address how our land-use and development decisions affect our transportation patterns, how to minimize single-use vehicles, and how to decarbonize our transit.

Read more about our transportation systems and what they can be here:

The future of transportation in Boston could be bold — and bright

The Massachusetts car economy is costing us $64 billion a year, and we barely notice it

Address the Climate Crisis

At my core, I am an environmentalist and I recognize how important it is that we continue to push our goals around climate and sustainability issues. The Commonwealth needs to do more to support local communities who have been leading the way. Newton, Watertown and Waltham all have put together climate action plans that set targets over a 30-year time frame in order to become carbon neutral by mid-century. But we need more support from the Commonwealth on transportation, building codes and carbon pricing to ensure success.

We must hold the utilities accountable for repairing leaky gas pipes to reduce this major source of methane pollution. I oppose efforts to expand gas pipelines and will advocate and support policies that wean us off fossil fuels altogether. I will prioritize State efforts to work with local communities to prepare for and adapt to the effects of climate change. Climate must be considered in everything we do because it is the most pressing issue we face. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to lead on this issue and be successful in meeting all milestones.