My Priorities

  • It is only when we choose to realize “the welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us” that we will build a better world for ALL of us.
  • It is no longer a question of whether we can afford to invest in ourselves; it is a question of “how can we not?”
  • How we lived prior to this crisis, was preferable to life today, but it was still a crisis. Did the booming economy benefit you: were you able to afford childcare, healthcare, or rent? The coronavirus is highlighting how critical effective leadership is during a time of crisis—forcing us to think long and hard about what we need from our elected officials. For far too long, issues that matter to us have been either sidelined or ignored altogether. These issues have now reached crisis levels because our current leadership either waited too long to act… or didn’t act at all.
  • We need to make sure that the world we build after this crisis serves to protect you and your family.
  • How can we not make childcare affordable and accessible? How can we not make healthcare affordable and accessible? How can we not have paid sick leave for all workers, especially frontline workers? How can we not strengthen protections for seniors? How can we not strengthen our towns?
  • How do we pay for these things? By eliminating costly tax breaks.
  • We could reduce or eliminate many of the dozens of special interest business tax breaks—which cost the Commonwealth more than $1 billion a year—which have been shown to be both inefficient and ineffective. We should stop giving $180 million a year to mutual fund companies through the single sales factor tax break—and which this industry responded to by shedding thousands of jobs over the last two decades. This money could be used to fund our schools
  • We could couple our state tax code to provisions in the federal code to close tax loopholes used by large, profitable multinational corporations. As an example, we could recoup as much as $400 million a year by disallowing these corporations, already identified by the federal government, from avoiding their Massachusetts tax obligations through accounting tricks that make profits appear to have been earned offshore.
  • We could offer any taxpayer, from individuals to large corporations, a chance to prepay a decade’s worth of income taxes at a slight discount. This would, in essence, be a cash advance on long-term state tax revenues. We could then use the money to fund short-term economic relief programs, which might include small-business assistance and relief for local governments.
  • We need to empower towns to solve local problems. Currently, towns are frequently restricted from solving their own issues by the Massachusetts “Home Rule” laws, which serve in many ways to restrict—rather than to empower—local governments, especially when it comes to local taxation. I am in favor of expanding local control to solve local problems. Our legislature has enough problems it hasn’t solved; let us have the tools to solve our problems—in a way that best suits the needs of our towns.
  • Well before the current crisis, our legislature failed to pass a budget on time. Towns are able to pass budgets regularly—but our state has failed to do so for nine years running. The rating agency Moody commented that Massachusetts’ late budget is a sign of “governance weakness.”
  • In 2019, the State House didn’t pass the supplemental budget bill (for its last fiscal year ending June 30, 2019) until December 2019—a nearly five-month delay. It is estimated that this cost the state roughly $30,000 a day in forgone interest.
  • This delay was reportedly because Liberty Mutual and Verizon were lobbying for a controversial corporate tax relief provision that would have cost the state $37 million in tax revenue from affected companies.
  • This serves as a powerful reminder of how dysfunctional and self-serving the State House has become. Instead of passing a budget on time—one that would have benefited all of us—our legislators wasted time trying to finagle a tax break for giant corporations.

  • Our families are currently experiencing the greatest crisis our nation has faced in a generation. Families are juggling parenting, home schooling their children, food insecurity, job insecurity, and housing insecurity. Now - more than ever - we need to invest in our families.
  • There can be NO recovery without affordable and accessible childcare.
  • I will lead the fight to fund full-day pre-kindergarten for children.
  • I will lead the fight to expand public funding for affordable childcare.
  • I will lead the fight to expand paid sick leave for all, especially paid sick leave for healthcare/frontline workers.
  • I will lead the fight to protect the health of our mothers.
  • Improving access to childcare will provide increased work opportunities for parents and create higher tax revenues, now and in the long term.
  • There is a new state law temporarily restricting evictions. However, this is set to expire, and in the midst of a pandemic, with over 15% unemployment, we need to make sure we ensure our residents aren’t being made homeless. The extension of eviciton protections should be a priority for us all.
  • I will lead the fight to protect the health of our mothers. The 2018 U.S. maternal mortality rate was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. If you compare this to other countries in the World Health Organization’s maternal mortality ranking, the U.S. would rank 55th, just behind Russia (17 per 100,000) and just ahead of Ukraine (19 per 100,000). It is not enough to send cards, candy, and flowers: we need to take better care of ALL our mothers by providing protection such as paid sick leave, affordable childcare, and affordable healthcare.

  • Well before the current crisis, a report from UMass Boston detailed that Massachusetts seniors have the highest rate of economic insecurity in the country, with 62% unable to meet basic needs.
  • I will lead the fight to expand tax relief for struggling seniors.
  • I will lead the fight to support measures to protect senior renters, ages 75 and older, by limiting the ways these seniors can be evicted from their homes. The constant threat of displacement—not to mention a loss of community and routine—takes a mental and physical toll on this vulnerable population, and we need to do our part to protect them.
  • I will lead the fight to improve resident safety in nursing homes. One facility in Westborough had 30 of the 52 COVID-19 deaths we have had in town. This same facility was fined after a major statewide investigation found systemic failures that led to several significant injuries and the pandemic-related deaths. This begs the question: what went wrong that allowed the virus to spread? Based on the previous fines, were there protections in place prior to the COVID-19 outbreak? What was the correlation between the facilities that were fined and their COVID-19 deaths? Were the budget and staffing levels adequate, and were infection control protocols were in place - and being followed?
  • It is also worth noting the long-term care industry resisted a federal mandate to plan for disasters, including pandemics. Meanwhile, where was our state legislature? What urgent legislation was pushed to improve resident safety before COVID-19? How much money was taken in by the legislature from nursing home lobbying groups?

  • Our schools have all experienced widespread budget problems, caused by the coronavirus-tied economic downturn. These cuts have led to layoffs and furloughs of our teachers. These budget cuts have direct effects on our children and our families during a particularly vulnerable time.
  • Meanwhile, the state has issued mandatory COVID-19 safety guidelines, but without also ensuring that each district has the funds required to implement these guidelines. How is this fair to our schools, who are already dealing with so many other stresses that they find the funds from their depleted budgets to follow the mandatory COVID-19 safety guidelines. We must ensure a statewide school re-opening that is safe, responsible and equitable.
  • The recently-passed Student Opportunity Act was supposed to increase school funding. Post COVID-19, it is important to look at the fine print and ask if it is actually the program that leaves our children behind. The $1.5 billion in new state aid to schools was to be phased in over seven years - and increases depend on annual state budget appropriations. Legislators didn’t create a new revenue stream to fund this bill, so will this spending be maintained during this crisis?
  • A significant majority of school districts remain “minimum aid only,” and will receive the minimum $30 per student. As such, towns and districts must continue to ask taxpayers to pay to maintain existing programs and quality - putting an additional burden on individual taxpayers - especially those of limited means. That $30 per-student minimum also translates into below-inflation increases to our towns, putting further stress on schools and towns alike.
  • I will lead the fight to increase the minimum aid amount to $100 per student - ensuring that all communities get the benefit of state funding and easing the tax burden for all.
  • I will lead the fight to fund full-day pre-kindergarten for children.
  • I will lead the fight to expand affordable childcare.
  • There is a movement in some school districts to publicly deny students school meals because their lunch account isn’t paid up. This “meal shaming” is intended to push/punish these students to pay their bills. In a country as rich and bountiful as this one, the fact that someone took the time to come up with this plan says much about the moment we are living in. We shouldn’t be punishing children for their parents’ inability to pay. Shame on state legislators who have taken a pass on addressing this critically important issue.

  • Among the biggest issues facing families today is the skyrocketing cost of healthcare - and how this basic necessity is pushing families to the brink. This has only been worsened by COVID-19. It is unfair to ask families to pay insurance premiums and soaring deductibles, cough up money for expensive prescriptions, and still end up with medical bills they can’t afford to pay off.
  • I don’t blame people for being terrified of seeking medical attention because of medical bills - I feel the same way, and I am a surgeon!
  • It is estimated that for every additional dollar a Massachusetts family earned between 2016 and 2018, 39 cents of it went to healthcare - including copays, deductibles, and employer/employee spending on premiums. This squeezes families and keeps them from being able to pay for other expenses - such as childcare and college.
  • I will lead the fight to lower drug and healthcare costs, and will strive to ban “price gouging” of generic drugs.
  • I will lead the fight to stop “surprise” medical bills.
  • I will lead the fight to control skyrocketing insulin costs.
  • I will lead the fight to invest in public health infrastructure.
  • I will lead the fight to expand paid sick leave for all, especially healthcare/frontline workers.
  • I will lead the fight to protect the health of our mothers. The 2018 U.S. maternal mortality rate was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. If you compare this to other countries in the World Health Organization’s maternal mortality ranking, the U.S. would rank 55th, just behind Russia (17 per 100,000) and just ahead of Ukraine (19 per 100,000). It is not enough to send cards, candy, and flowers: we need to take better care of ALL our mothers by providing protection such as paid sick leave, affordable childcare, and affordable healthcare.

  • The United States once had an infrastructure that was the envy of the world. That infrastructure is now crumbling (literally). How we respond to the legacy we inherited is how we will be judged by history - or be damned by future generations for ignoring this critical need.
  • Massachusetts roads consistently rank among the busiest and worst funded in the country.
  • All this is happening as the number of Uber and Lyft rides are expected to rise to 98 million this year in Massachusetts, up from last year’s 81 million - further worsening our already-congested roadways.
  • Currently, our towns spend far less than they should to improve roads because of inadequate resources - and because state funding is the main/sole source of money for local road construction and repair. Our legislature has consistently failed (well before the current crisis) to pass the Chapter 90 bond bill by April 1 - which towns use to fund road repair.
  • Local officials like me - from every corner of the state - have repeatedly called for an increase in funding for the Chapter 90 program because it is the only source of unrestricted, equitably distributed local road funding available to cities and towns. Chapter 90 bond-funded allocations have been stagnant at $200 million since fiscal 2012, except for fiscal 2015 when the Administration released $100 million in previously-withheld authorizations to bring that year’s Chapter 90 funding to $300 million.
  • It is estimated that cities and towns must spend $685 million per year to keep municipal roads in a state of good repair. However, since FY 2012, the state has not increased its funding to towns to keep pace with this need - despite the fact that local officials from every corner of the state have repeatedly called for an increase in this funding.
  • Due to inflation, increased costs for construction, etc., funding for infrastructure is actually decreasing. Since FY 2012, construction inflation for roadways has increased 34%, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation - making the $200 million in FY 2012 worth only $132.2 million in FY 2021.
  • I will lead the fight to invest in transportation.
  • I will lead the fight to increase the annual Chapter 90 funding to $300 million, indexed to inflation, to fund our road repair needs-and I will push to get this passed by April 1, 2021.
  • I will lead the fight to support a bill—one that has been stalled on Beacon Hill for several years—to enable local communities to raise money for transportation spending through regional ballot questions.
  • I will lead the fight to support a “Vision Zero” for our state to eliminate traffic deaths on our roads.