We need more transparency and accountability in government. First, legislators should be available and accessible to their constituents to answer questions and listen to their concerns. I am committed to meeting with all voters, because I believe that I cannot make an informed decision without hearing different points of view. Second, I believe legislators should be accountable to their voters by having their voting record more readily accessible. It should be easy for you to know what your representatives have been doing on your behalf, and I am determined to be completely transparent and accountable to you.
Our district has the most beautiful natural environment in Massachusetts from our woodlands to our waterways, and we should be working to preserve it. At a state level, the effort to address environmental issues is severely underfunded. We only allocate 0.5% of the state’s operating budget to environmental agencies. As a starting point, I advocate for doubling the percentage of funding as well as accelerating our transition from reliance on fossil fuels to 100% clean renewable energy with measures like incentivizing solar development. With your support, I will push for legislation that fights climate change and protects our natural resources.
As a product of public schools, I know first-hand how crucial a well-funded school district is to the health and vitality of our communities. I am committed to advocating for the necessary school funding to give each and every student the opportunity to succeed. I support expanding efforts to better assist English learners, providing free after school activities, and increasing local reimbursements for special education. I also support lowering class sizes to give students the attention and support that they deserve. As your legislator, I work with other lawmakers to push for increased local aid to our public schools, which would help alleviate local property taxes.
EQUALITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
I am proud that Massachusetts has led the country on equality, but I also recognize there is more to do before equality is truly achieved. I am a steadfast defender of the current anti-discrimination law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in places of public accommodation. We need to advance protections to ensure that all people are treated fairly, with dignity and respect. I am especially concerned for LGBTQ children who are pressured and bullied to not accept themselves. I support a ban on “conversion therapy” practiced on minors, which all major medical communities have discredited. I appreciate diversity, and I am committed to building a stronger and more inclusive community.
GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION
Our community values responsible gun ownership and that is why I support measures to prevent gun violence. I have represented many survivors of domestic violence and understand the strong connection it has with gun violence. Guns should not be in the hands of people who pose a danger to themselves or others. Moreover, we need to stop selling weapons of war and high-capacity magazines, which were not designed for our homes and workplaces, but for a battlefield. I also want to improve access to mental health care to minimize these dangers and risks to public safety.
Our seniors have built their lives in this community, raising families and working hard to make our towns more prosperous and vibrant. In turn we must help them to remain in this community, which is their home. As an attorney, I have represented seniors to make sure they receive the legal benefits to which they are entitled. As a legislator, I work with others in the State House to increase local aid to support programs for our aging population like Meals on Wheels and funding for the Council on Aging. Equally important, by bringing in additional funding we can prevent the costs of these necessary programs from falling on homeowners, many of whom are seniors who might not be able to remain in their homes if property taxes go up.
I am a woman, an advocate for survivors of domestic violence, and a defender of reproductive rights. Women should not have to argue for autonomy over our bodies. Every woman should be able to make personal decisions about the full range of reproductive health care options. I hope to have the opportunity to bring about a brighter, safer, and more equal Massachusetts for all women.
Our veterans have earned our respect and admiration. It is wrong that we have veterans in our state who are homeless and in need of care. They are owed more. As a lawyer, I have fought for veterans’ benefits, and I am committed to supporting them with the help they need and deserve, including health care and mental health services, education, and housing assistance.
I am committed to making health care more affordable and accessible to all, because I believe essential health care is a human right. As your representative, I advocate for a health insurance system that guarantees access and lowers the cost of health care. I support controlling the rising costs of medication, expanding the definition of affordability to include other out-of-pocket costs such as copays and deductibles, and allowing for a public option for individuals and small businesses.
THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC
Opioid addiction is a public health crisis. We should not simply brush it aside with arrests and incarceration. Instead, my efforts focus on prevention and treatment. I support programs that educate youth about addiction and identify and support students at risk, as well as ones that educate doctors about safer prescription management. We can also save more lives by increasing the availability of the overdose reversal agent Naloxone (Narcan) to first responders and caregivers and supporting long-term treatments, including housing for recovering addicts and treatment beds for those suffering from addiction. Prevention and long-term treatment are how we rescue our community from this deadly affliction.
I grew up in a hardworking middle-class family and know first-hand the challenges they face. Working families deserve programs that train them to get good-paying jobs, fair compensation for hard work, job security, and protection from wage theft and exploitation. Hard work and determination should be enough for people to lift themselves into the middle class and beyond. Additionally, I believe we should invest in quality childcare and early education, which will open up more opportunities for parents to provide for their families and advance their children’s future. I will continue to take the lead on these issues and advocate for working families.
We need to invest more in public transportation and infrastructure. It is incredibly important that the Merrimack Valley has more options for commuting and that these options are modern, ubiquitous, and safe. When we invest in public transportation and infrastructure, we can reduce congestion on our roads and bridges and allow them to last longer and be more secure. Furthermore, investing in these now will go a long way to protecting the environment for our future.