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Massachusetts House 5th Hampden

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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    Patricia A. Duffy
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

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?

In the mid-1990s I was a graduate student at UMass Amherst, where I got a master’s degree in sociology. There I became involved in my union, rising to leadership and working with other unions to fight the higher education budget cuts of 2000 – 2001. From there I became involved in Holyoke municipal politics and the labor movement. I have spent the past 6½ years working for Rep. Aaron Vega. I have built relationships and with legislators whose priorities are addressing opportunities for all.
My top two priorities are equity in public education funding and equity in health care access. Identifying and addressing inequalities has been the constant driver in my personal and professional pursuits. I plan to advocate for full implementation of the Student Opportunity Act and for changes in our health care system that minimize the influence of large medical insurance companies.
Aside from the “Fair Share Amendment,” I believe that we need to expand the obligations of corporations in two very specific ways. Corporations in Massachusetts enjoy tax benefits that do not exist in other states. Unlike many other states, Massachusetts does not tax any of the offshore profits that corporations transfer overseas to avoid taxes. I also support tracking and enforcing tax incentive agreements by using “clawbacks” of tax incentives granted for job creation that never transpired.
I already have a strong working relationship with Mass Fair Housing, headquartered in Holyoke and serving the state from Worcester to the Berkshires, and have helped secure more funding for their work protecting folks from illegal housing discrimination. In Gateway Cities, we have to focus on cleaning up brownfields and filling in vacant lots. I also want to build on relationships with Holyoke’s good landlords, who are crucial anchors of economic development in our city.
We have to support and grow our Regional Transit Authorities. Regional ballot initiatives would allow local communities to demonstrate their prioritization of public transportation. In addition, I support East-West rail lines and have been part of the legislative planning group supporting the Valley Flyer. These both require federal funding in addition to investment from Amtrak.