Public Health and Safety
Supporting healthy, safe communities is a top priority and has been for me throughout my eight years as a state representative. Ensuring access to quality health care, supporting community health centers, protecting our seniors and veterans, better prescription monitoring and funding for substance abuse treatment, promoting healthy eating funding for substance abuse, criminal justice reform and cracking down on drug traffickers are all key to quality of life in our neighborhoods.
- We passed the ACCESS bill, which ensures women in Massachusetts continue to have access to co-pay free contraception, reaffirming our commitment to women’s rights;
- We are pushing back on predatory practices against our seniors, including the abrupt closing of Harborlights, a critical nursing facility service to seniors and families;
- We passed a measure that expanded access to prescription databases to medical residents, who are often the ones prescribing at hospitals and medical centers, to help reduce abuse.
- My House colleagues and I have taken up one of the defining issues of our time: reforming our criminal justice system to make it more fair, just, and equitable for all. We are looking at the elimination of mandatory sentences for non-violent, first time drug offenses so that our communities can deal with the impacts of substance abuse with a compassionate, constructive lens;
- We are debating ways for juveniles to expunge or seal their records so that once they have served their sentence for youthful indiscretions, they can move past their mistakes and find a productive path;
- We are working on CORI reform because everyone deserves to have a second chance at getting a job, bettering themselves, and staying out of the cycles of crime and poverty that have afflicted our neighborhoods for too long.
Social and Economic Justice
Boston is a world-class city but studies have shown that we have one of the highest income equality gaps in the nation. We are making strides toward closing that gap, but need to continue to work together and implement smart policies to ensure that all Bostonians have an opportunity to share in our city’s success.
- Sen. Forry and I fought hard to create inclusionary policies that resulted in landmark partnerships with developers and contractors led by people of color and women for the new $500 million Omni Hotel now under construction on the South Boston Waterfront. I’ll continue to fight for similar partnerships on all development projects involving state-owned property so we can dismantle systemic barriers, foster diversity at the leadership level and help diverse businesses and investment firms grow;
- We have worked with local job training centers to create connections to good employers, serving as a conduit for the community. We are constantly working to not only create good jobs, but to make them accessible to all residents;
- In December, following hateful policies at the federal level, I was proud to support Sen. Forry’s resolution supporting “Temporary Protected Status” for Haitians, Salvadorians, and Hondurans in Massachusetts. Our foreign-born neighbors enrich our communities and contribute greatly to our local and regional economies, and we need to support policies that protect equality for all.
Reliable and accessible public transit is the key to linking our neighborhoods so that all residents can share in our city’s prosperity. In South Boston, the waterfront has experienced an unprecedented economic boom and it’s essential we relieve congestion and improve our transportation system so that this thriving jobs center is accessible and inclusive to all Bostonians. I am committed to improving our transit network to connect our communities, because transportation is not just a question of how you get to work in the morning, it is also a question of equity and economic mobility.
- Helped secure $25 million in the 2014 Transportation Bond Bill to implement the South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan;
- Led the effort to upgrade City Point Bus Terminal and add more MBTA buses and drivers to reduce overcrowding on the Number 7 and Number 9 routes;
- Studying ways to consolidate bus stops to improve accessibility and reduce overcrowding;
- We’ve begun work on a Bus Rapid Transit pilot initiative to bring faster, better bus service to and from Dudley Station for residents to access the jobs centers on the South Boston Waterfront;
- I have also been strongly advocating to bring rail service connecting the Fairmount Corridor to the South Boston Waterfront because connecting Boston’s neighborhoods to rapidly growing economic centers is not only a matter of alleviating traffic congestion, but one of access, opportunity, and fairness for all city residents.
I have worked closely with Mayor Walsh, Sen. Forry, our city councilors and community leaders as we seek to address our housing needs, while managing density and preserving the character of our many unique neighborhoods. A top priority is to continue the work we’ve done to accommodate the growing demand for low and middle income residents, as well as stabilizing the costs for all Bostonians.
I will continue to advocate for the responsible development of high-quality affordable housing in our neighborhoods that will allow families, workers, veterans, and seniors to afford to continue living in their communities with dignity.
- Recently, the House passed a $1.7 billion Housing Bond Bill reaffirming our commitment to low and moderate income housing across the Commonwealth. It includes $600 million for Public Housing Renovation to help update our existing affordable units, $150 million for a Housing Stabilization / Investment Fund, $60 million for a Home Modification Loan Program, $55 million to support integrated housing for persons with disabilities, and a Low Income Housing Tax Credit;
- I am also proud to say we passed a bill to allow elderly residents of Boston to stay in their homes by deferring property taxes until the sale of the property.
Our schools are one of our greatest resources and ensuring that all of our young people get a quality education, as well as access to higher education or quality job training, is one of my top priorities. Boston is one of the world’s education capitals. We are home to many of the world’s top universities and our state’s public schools are among the nation’s best, yet we have alarming achievement gaps. We must build on the successes and work together to improve our educational system for all.
- We had a major legislative victory in 2017 by passing the LOOK bill, which allows for more inclusive language learning methods to ensure that all children in Massachusetts, including English Language Learners, have the opportunity to learn and grow alongside their peers;
- Helped secure $135,000 for “Boston Uncornered,” an anti-gang program through College Bound Dorchester. The program disassembles gangs in our neighborhoods by creating pathways to college and work. I look forward to continuing to partner with College Bound Dorchester, and similar organizations, to support mentoring, job training and educational programming;
- Championed changes to chapter 70 formula to get more state-aid to the Boston Public Schools
Environmental Preservation and Sustainability
Look no further than our most recent storm that resulted in widespread flooding on the South Boston Waterfront for evidence that climate change is rapidly affecting the way we must think about development, transportation, and resiliency in our city. I believe environmental sustainability is a cornerstone of all good public policy.
- Co-sponsored a number of bills which would protect the environment, incentivize renewable energy usage, and establish Massachusettsas the national leader in energy efficiency information for home buyers;
- We have been exploring ways to utilize ship-to-shore power along the Boston Waterfront to use more clean energy while also increasing the economic impact of the cruise industry;
- I have also been a staunch advocate for protection of public access to greenspace and the waterfront.Whether by improved accessibility on the Harbor Walk, or by public ownership of parks and open space in our neighborhoods, all residents deserve to have access to quality green and open space.