Most of Charlene's career has been devoted to the public interest, serving and researching pre-school through adult education. In 2017, she was elected Library Trustee. While working full-time and caring for a parent with dementia, she helped complete a 68-home green cohousing community. She co-founded the Worcester Climate Strike Coalition, organized the MoveOn 495 Region, and was a Board member of the MA Alliance Against Predatory Lending. She has lived in Mass for 20+ years, mostly in Berlin.
Democratic transformation: our state legislature is one of the most secretive and irresponsible in the nation. People understand big money controls the State House. I'll write bills to get private $ out of politics and government, make all legislators' bill votes public, ensure everyone can vote and more candidates can run.
Economic, social, environmental justice: living wages, pandemic help, equitable education, housing & healthcare for all, systemic responses to racism & the climate crisis.
1. Institute a progressive income tax, since the flat tax is profoundly unjust and unwise; and institute wealth taxes, including on investment transactions.
2. Drastically reduce incarceration: particularly for Black, Brown and poor people who were pressured to plead guilty, often through intimidation, deception and lack of legal help; and release those in prison for nonviolent and low-level offenses, including drug use.
I will support bills guaranteeing housing for Mass residents, increase mixed-income housing, and mixed residential and commercial building and rehab programs statewide.
I would overhaul the Chapter 40B law to stop developers cutting corners, and make it easier for lower income people to qualify for. Luxury apartment complexes with a few slightly-less expensive rentals should not have all the units count toward supplying “affordable” housing; it does not help the people who most need it
I will work toward fare-free public transit, while electrifying/greening trains, buses and vans, and expanding service frequency, equitable coverage and interconnections. At a Worcester hearing I highlighted the need for RTA interconnection as well as increased service within RTAs. At MassDOT’s 2019 Rail Vision event, I supported Vision 7, full electrification.
I advocate for a fairer tax system as described above to fund our entire range of needs, including transit and aid to cities & towns.
I was born and raised in the 12th Worcester district. I attended Chocksett and Houghton schools before graduating from Wachusett Regional High School. I then went on to attend Stonehill College. After graduating from Stonehill College with a B.A. in History, I began working in State Representative Harold Naughton’s office where I have worked on many issues impacting the district and the Commonwealth. Starting in 2017, I entered the evening division at Suffolk University Law School.
My top two legislative priorities are healthcare/COVID-19 recovery and education. I will fight to expand access to quality healthcare and mental health services. In my community, I will fight to protect and increase funding for our community hospitals and local health resources. Specific to COVID-19, I would advocate and fight for ensuring the safety of essential workers, veterans, and seniors. As regards education, I am a strong supporter of the SOA and increases to Ch. 70.
Two specific measures the State should take to balance the budget is to utilize our stabilization, or “rainy day,” fund and to pass the Fair Share Amendment, of which I support.
I would support initiatives, like zoning reform, to allow for and stimulate the production of more housing, especially multi-family units. I support the Housing Choice Bill and actions recently undertaken by the House on the economic development bill.
Public transportation, especially in rural communities such as my own, is of incredible importance. There is a strong need to expand services and access to different areas but also to review how the public transportation systems we have in our communities function and service their area. As part of this process, we also need to make continued improvements in our infrastructure. As for funding this, I support implementing legislation such as the Fair Share Amendment and increasing Ch. 90 funds.
I have worked in municipal, state and private sector settings for over 30 years. I understand the various levels of constraints and opportunities that exist for our towns and state resources. I have the ability and relationships to broker partnerships and solve significant issues. I understand how legislative work is done and it is about collaboration and bipartisan solutions. We have to create and find answers that have not been explored previously.
1. Supporting our Local Law Enforcement and Community Service Providers, inclusive of teachers, nurses, firefighters, etc - we need to provide safety and services to our community service providers who support all residents each day
2. Establish a more balanced approach to affordable housing within/for our District towns. We do not have adequate affordable housing and/or housing for those challenged with disabilities within our towns. We cannot approach this as a one size fits all.
1. Assess and reduce earmark funding for politicians to stay elected. We need to have proper funding for our essential services
2. Take an immediate assessment of capital investments and establish private equity partners to fund rather than government - Massachusetts is a hot bed for international investors and innovative companies
We need to work to amend the "one size fits all" approach of 10% for each and every community. We should promote local zoning ordinances that work in each town/city that can expand opportunities for existing landowners, promote restoration of foreclosed buildings, surplus state/gov't buildings, develop "tiny housing" options and complexes that provide what is needed for people to have a place to call home. We also need to further expand the requirements for handicap affordable housing.
I would work with the State offices to develop innovative infrastructure investments. Find effective manufacturers and negotiate better contracts for the production of quality and on time trains to support our rail services. Expand and promote inter-region transportation services. Work with transportation companies to promote community investment into these critical services.