In response to the current crisis, state and national governments should:
For details, see this Somerville City Council Resolution
- Put a moratorium on rent, mortgage, and utility payments;
- Expand unemployment insurance to cover all workers including self-employed, hourly, & gig workers;
- Enact vote by mail for all elections;
- Release everyone in pre-trial detention (debtors prison) and those incarcerated who pose no threat to society.
In our district, we have a housing affordability crisis. This is a great place to live, but increasingly we and our children cannot afford to. The result is displacement: as real estate speculators build luxury housing, and rents continue to rise, our neighbors are forced to leave in search of cheaper housing. At the end of this cycle lies homelessness, and Massachusetts has seen an 11% increase in people experiencing homelessness since 2010. The solution is housing for all: a safe, liveable, and affordable home as a human right.
Climate scientists now realize that their predictions from 40 years ago were incorrect — global warming is happening much faster than they thought. We have ten years to avert the next level of dire consequences, and this will require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” according to the IPCC. Massachusetts is behind many other states in passing laws that address the climate crisis; we must become a leader in this fight for our children’s future.
A Massachusetts Green New Deal must take bold action including shifting away from fossil fuels, updating our housing stock, and investing in public transportation. This GND must include labor and those most impacted by climate change to ensure that we have a just transition to renewable energy, and that we don’t leave workers or marginalized communities behind.
The US is the only rich country that does not provide high-quality, universal access to health care, yet we have the highest healthcare costs per capita in the world. Implementing a Medicare for All-type system in Massachusetts would not only provide health care as a human right, it would be good for our state’s financial health. Current healthcare costs to our state government are quickly becoming so expensive that they are devouring the governments ability to provide services for anything else.
Transportation for All
Somerville and Medford streets are filled with potholes. The T is not cheap, runs late, and breaks down. Commuter rail runs too infrequently.
The state needs to fund our transportation infrastructure. Free public transportation would help alleviate our traffic problems and move us in the right direction on climate change. We also need to ensure that when we build new T stations, our residents and local businesses are not displaced. All these issues are intersectional.
Safety for All
In the wake of Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and sentiments, many states took the opportunity to pass their own legislation protecting immigrants from harm. Massachusetts has not; the Safe Communities Act can’t seem to pass despite having a majority of state representatives cosponsoring the bill. We as a state need to take a stand and pass legislation that affirms our commitment to being a welcoming, safe community. We must ensure that all of our neighbors are protected from discrimination, receive due process, and have a voice to speak up for their rights.
And on the subject of intersectional issues, how can a bill that has a majority of state reps cosponsoring it die multiple terms in a row? Transparency is essential for our democracy.
The Massachusetts State House is the least transparent of any State House in the country. That means that there is no way for you to know how your state rep is voting most of the time. This is undemocratic. I will support rule changes that make all votes and testimony public (including committee votes), and I will sign the Voters Deserve to Know pledge.
Most politicians spend a small amount of time listening to their constituents, and even those who do primarily hear from the <20% of people who are already engaged in politics. I am a movement builder, which means that I believe it is the duty of every elected official to listen to and engage the 80% of people who don’t know their state reps, don’t vote in primaries, and aren’t engaged.
I will represent the needs of those currently under-served by our government, including the LGBTQ community, people of color, people of all religions including Muslims, differently abled people, the homeless, seniors, young people, renters, low income people, and many more.
There are things the state can do to allow cities to make better decisions for their residents. For example, if we pass public banking, every city in MA would save millions that they currently pay in interest and fees to Wall St banks.