Massachusetts House 15th Middlesex
The Massachusetts House of Representatives is comprised of 160 members, each representing a district of approximately 40,000 people and each elected for a two-year term. As required by the Massachusetts Constitution, the House meets year-round in either formal or informal session to consider legislation. The Massachusetts House is led by the Speaker of the House who is elected by the members of the body at the beginning of each two-year legislative session. Base salary for each representative is approximately $66,256.
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State your relevant background.
What are your top two legislative priorities for the next session, and why?
Coping with COVID-19 has resulted in decreased state revenues and increased expenses in unexpected areas. Name two specific steps the state should take to balance the budget.
What specific initiatives would you support to address housing inequality in Massachusetts?
What steps would you take to ensure the future of public transportation and how would you fund these?
Prior to being elected as a Rep. in 2018, I had a 25 year career in local and regional government. Professionally, I was the Assistant Town Administrator and Community Development Director for the Town of Hudson for 20 years. I was also a local elected official who served 1 term on the Planning Board in Lexington and nearly two terms on the Select Board. I was appointed and elected to numerous regional boards, including 3 terms as the President of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.
The environment and education are my top priorities as these issues serve as the foundation for public good. Clean air, water, and soil determine public health outcomes and the future of the planet and thus must be at the center of all of our decision making. Education, is the pathway to individual and societal success. The most important thing we can do to close income inequality and address systemic racism, is to provide the very best possible education to our children and young adults.
We should pass the Fair Share Amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution which will increase the tax rate on our wealthiest earners (those making over 1 million per year) and will generate in the vicinity of $2 billion/ year. On January 1, 2020, Massachusetts reduced the income tax rate from 5.05% down to 5% due to what was then a robust economy. Now, with 15-25% unemployment, we should return the income tax rate back to the level it was at in 2019 or even consider increasing it to 5.1%.
I support the Housing Choice initiative which makes local zoning for housing easier to achieve. Having just voted on that favorably in July, the next step is to dramatically expand rental voucher programs to keep residents in their homes during this crisis and lower a family's cost of housing over the long term. We also need to continue supporting subsidized housing through grants and other incentive programs.
Investing in public transit is desperately needed to address air quality and jobs access, especially in low/moderate income communities of color and essential to enable us to meet our Global Warming Solutions Act mandates. I support increasing the gas tax, especially now when fuel costs are low and those driving the most miles tend to be those who are still working. I also support raising fees on Uber and Lift and re-envisioning tolls and per mile fees to incentives mode-shift and green options.
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