Where I stand

I believe that your elected representatives owe you clear answers to important questions. We are your voice in government, and you deserve to know what we will say on your behalf. Too often you get vague generalities or comfortable answers to uncomfortable questions. Some candidates use slogans like “he’s for us” or “common sense”, without really telling you what they believe in.  From Day 1 of my first campaign, I have been clear and straightforward in telling you where I stand on issues important to our district.

If you do not see an issue listed that is important to you, please email me and I will add it to the list.

On the Economy:  Partnering for Community Prosperity

A key part of my role as a State legislator is supporting the businesses in our District and helping them thrive.  A major element of that support is a robust transportation system. Employers need workers and customers to be able to get from other areas to our District. This is especially true for our high tech companies, which rely on younger employees who may live in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston — and we are competing with those municipalities for talented workers.  This is true for the restaurants, that need transportation to get their workers from other areas. There are short-term fixes to this problem, such as a private-public partnership where the Commonwealth can provide more bus and shuttle service to businesses.  We have begun to put those fixes in place. There are long-term fixes that will require funding, such as straightening out the intersection of Routes 128 and 3, and creating a transportation hub. Our efforts resulted in $800,000 in federal funding to begin to address the intersection bottleneck.   I will continue to work with leadership to find a solution to these important problems

On Jobs:  Advocating for Economic Development

We, the members of the middle class, are the real job creators because it is our spending that creates demand.  Nick Hanauer, who helped found Amazon, put it this way: “Only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be…We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich business people like me don’t create jobs. Middle-class consumers do, and when they thrive, U.S. businesses grow and profit.” If demand for goods and services increases, businesses will have a need to employ more people to create those goods and services. Jobs will be created.  We have to get money into the hands of the middle class, who will spend that money creating the “virtuous cycle” that will allow us all to thrive.  This is why I filed and championed Paid Family Leave.

On Workers’ Rights:  Championing Fair Wages for Fair Work

I am fighting hard for the rights of workers to get fair treatment in the workplace.  We all have a right to equal pay for an equal day’s work. I fought to increase the minimum wage, because employees who work 40 hours a week should earn a salary that allows them to afford food and shelter, instead of one that currently qualifies those at the lowest end for public assistance benefits.  I was instrumental in the passage of the unemployment insurance reform bill, that will give most small businesses a break in their premiums to help fund increased wages to low-paid workers.  And I led the bi-partisan fight for Uniform Wage Compliance, a new law that gives minimum wage workers the same rights as everyone else to enforce claims if they are not paid. I am against covenants not to compete as long as secrets are protected. My current legislation will create a program that will provide for Paid Family & Medical Leave that is fair for both the employers and the employees. I not only talk about these issues, I have demonstrated a commitment to supporting fair treatment for workers

On Health Care: Protecting Patients, Improving Care

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is fortunate to have some of the very best medical facilities in the country. One of those is located right here in Burlington: The Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. I sponsored and passed legislation, with bi-partisan support, that adds transparency to reimbursements by public insurers for mental health. I helped improve a new law that will help trauma centers like Lahey identify and transfer patients seeking treatment for drug dependency in a way that will clear long waiting lines at the emergency room, save money for the facility, and fairly treat the patients. I am proud that Lahey’s President and CEO, Dr. Howard Grant, called this legislation a “first in the nation”, and wrote: “Our patients, many of whom reside in Burlington, Bedford, and Wilmington, are fortunate to have such a thoughtful and committed legislator to represent them on Beacon Hill.”  Click to read the full letter: 

On Choice: Preserving A Woman’s Right to Choose

I believe a woman has a right to make her own health care choices. This right is guaranteed by the Constitution’s right to privacy, as set forth by the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade.  A woman’s health care issues are between a woman and her doctor, and decisions concerning her health must remain with the woman. I am troubled that some women do not have access to information they need to make well-informed decisions about their health and reproductive choices, or that women who are old enough to face these decisions may not be treated as old enough to make them.  We must continue to defend the rights of all women facing such difficult and supremely personal decisions.

On Education: Supporting Public Schools

This is Massachusetts, the nation’s leader in education.  I believe in strong state support for  public higher education and access to pre-school education.  Effective public education is essential for our society to function.  Our children should not depend on the wealth of their parents to receive a quality education.  Schools should be places where children learn not only the academic skills to succeed, but are also exposed to various cultures, thoughts, ideas and lifestyles through the experiences of their classmates. Our children should be taught science in science class, without regard to religious views on that science.  Our priorities should be to educate all students in public schools, not those fortunate to have been chosen for a charter school.  And our schools should be places were children are not bullied.  Well qualified and trained teachers are vital to our continued success and must be supported.  I am pleased to have succeeded in obtaining permanent funding to educate the children of residents of Hanscom Air Force base.  

Recently I had the honor of mentoring Burlington Elementary student as we filed a bill that they had an idea for. Together, we filed it as a bill, and led it through the legislative process until it was signed by the governor and became a new state law. 

On the Environment: Safeguarding Our Children’s Heritage

We are stewards of this planet.  It is our responsibility to conserve and replenish our natural resources and create a healthy environment for our children.  Therefore, I believe in extending the bottle bill to water and juice containers, to reduce the amount of plastic that threatens to pollute our land and waters.  While 80 percent of returnable bottles and cans are returned, only one-third of non-returnable bottles are recycled.  As a member of the House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change I will continued to work to address this issue and others that affect pollution and climate change.

On Seniors: Promoting Health, Independence, Dignity

I devoted much of my term thus far to addressing the needs of Seniors. I hosted two forums on the needs of our seniors, bringing House Chair Denise Garlick of the Joint Committee on Senior Affairs to one, and Undersecretary Chrystal Kornugay and House Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing to the others.  You told us of your concerns with housing needs, protecting your retirement savings and health care.  I made it my mission to increase funding for ECOP, a program that helps fund vital programs that helps Seniors remain independent. ECOP funds meals on wheels, and the home health aides that come to people’s homes.  I have supported the Circuit Breaker for Seniors, contributing funds for people who pay burdensome utility and property tax bills.   We must protect people’s rights to retire with dignity. We must protect Medicare benefits not only for those depending on them today, but those contributing into the system.  Seniors should never have to choose between filling a prescription and putting food on the table.   In Burlington, we should help the town leaders identify a space for the COA to expand, so that our seniors have the space they need to gather and so that they do not feel they are being squeezed out of the community.

On Open Space:  Enhancing the Beauty of our Natural Surroundings

We enjoy a beautiful environment in our District, with many parks, natural areas, and open space. These amenities attracted many of us to this wonderful part of the state.  I want to preserve them for our own enjoyment, and to provide safe, beautiful, natural surroundings for our children to play and learn in without worrying about traffic and noise.

On Veterans: Caring for Those Who Served

There is no doubt we have an extraordinary obligation to support our veterans returning from service to this country.  There is also no doubt that Massachusetts has been recognized by most veterans agencies as providing the best services of any state for veterans.  I have been appointed by Governor Patrick to the Massachusetts Council to the Military Interstate Compact Commission, a bi-partisan group that includes Veterans Affairs Secretary Francisco Urena and Education Secretary James Peyser, in an effort to protect and advocate for the children of servicemen.  I am proud to have supported the Valor Act II that was passed into law this year, and a new law that expands the rights of veterans this year, including protections against employment discrmination.  We must support the VA Hospital in Bedford, and the rights of all vets to good jobs at decent wages and affordable places to live. What has happened to the VA nationally is insulting to our country and cannot be tolerated.

On Hanscom Expansion:  Relieving Congestion

We came to Bedford, Burlington and Wilmington in part to get away from the noise, crowd and traffic of the city. Expansion of Hanscom to commercial development or commercial airlines will only add to our terrible traffic woes, and will create noise pollution that will affect all of us.  We must fight Hanscom expansion.  At the same time, we must fight to keep Hanscom open as a military base.

On Taxation:  Ensuring Fairness and Accountability

Massachusetts is in the mid range of states regarding both its overall tax burden and its business tax climate. Nevertheless, it has one of the most regressive tax systems in the country.  This is because most of our revenue comes from a flat income tax and a flat sales tax. Flat taxes mean that people who earn less pay a much greater percentage of their income in taxes than do people who make more. This is not simply a matter of fairness: it restricts consumers’ disposable income, and starves the economy of the demand necessary for businesses to thrive and add jobs. Massachusetts’ voters have a right to address tax fairness on the ballot, and I joined Governor Baker when I voted to advance the so-called “millionaire’s tax” for that reason. I oppose casino gambling and expansion of the lottery to include the use of credit cards or on-line gaming because gambling revenue is yet another form of regressive taxation that will make it harder for us to create productive jobs.  We can all agree that none of us want to pay more than is necessary in taxes, and all of us understand it takes revenue to run a free society. So the issue for me is more than just the level of taxation: it includes the sources of that revenue, what we do with the tax revenue we collect, and how we protect it from being wasted.  I will not vote for a tax increase that is not absolutely necessary, but I will consider the need to raise revenue fairly when it allows the Commonwealth to thrive, such as when we must maintain or improve our transportation infrastructure.

On Rights of LGBT Individuals: Fighting Discrimination

I am proud to live in the state that was the first to recognize same-sex marriages and that has worked to prevent discrimination on every level.  LGBT youth should be welcome in school without being singled out.  We can and will work to treat all people the same, and distinguish them by their behavior, and not by their appearance, age, gender or who they love. I proudly voted to expand the civil rights of transgender people, including the right to use the bathroom where the person feels most comfortable. I will not engage in fear mongering, understanding the privacy concern of some people but realizing that no transgender person has ever been convicted of engaging a crime while in the rest room and no person convicted of a crime in a rest room has ever used the defense of transgender status as some sort of excuse to be in the bathroom.

On Cultural Support: Fostering Creativity

As former Chair of the Cultural Council in Bedford, I have devoted significant time to the support of local artists, scientists, educators and others. The character of our communities includes the wonderful art pieces that hang in our libraries and public buildings. It includes the gardens, educational books and periodicals, video creations on local cable channels.  All of this gives us our identity and the reason businesses and people come to our communities, invest in our real estate, and help us maintain property values.  Art and culture is the sauce that flavors our every day diet