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Massachusetts House 5th Barnstable

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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    James J. Dever

  • Steven George Xiarhos

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?

I've been a labor attorney for twenty years representing public employees throughout Massachusetts and the United States. Be it personnel, laborers or first responders, It takes the ability to understand people when they are at their most vulnerable, fight for them, and let them know they have been heard. It was the same approach I took on the Sandwich School Committee for six years. I've had to block out the noise and find just resolutions in both areas. I'll do the same for my district.
It's imperative we make sure employees on the front lines during COVID, which includes first responders, healthcare, teachers and grocery personnel, to name a few, are properly compensated for COVID related illness. They are being asked to perform duties in the face of hazards, both physical and mental. The other issue of equal importance is the destruction of our environment with ramifications throughout the region. To combat, I'd push to institute elements of the MA green new deal.
As a labor attorney for NAGE, which represents employees throughout Massachusetts, I've seen firsthand the wasteful spending by various departments of labor relations. It's the one department common to all state agencies. If done properly, we could certainly curtail the abuse of resources. Also, Massachusetts should explore an added revenue stream from legalized sports wagering.
I would support Representative Dylan Fernandes' housing initiative, if a proper bottom line sales price is set. Additionally,we need to look at policies which drive inclusive growth. The importance of this growth has never been more important than it is today.
Public transportation is key to a vibrant economy. It's imperative we not forget the Regional Transit Authorities, such as the Cape Cod RTA, which has expanded tremendously in recent years. There needs to be a specified revenue stream to keep our RTAs attractive for ridership. It'll take a comprehensive approach to fund by all players, residents, businesses and travelers. Our RTAs can't be swallowed up by the canal bridge projects, which many transportation dollars will fund.
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