Rural central Mass. can no longer be an overlooked part of our state. Small towns ought to lead the way towards a better future, with working people, farmers, seniors, and the vulnerable front and center. I intend to strengthen the economies of our small towns and lift the standards of living of working people and seniors, including through:
HEALTHCARE: Bring back local healthcare, with adequate providers and hospital beds in every region. In the past few decades, both Worcester City Hospital and Worcester State Hospital have closed, leaving us unprepared to tackle our mental health and addiction crises and emergencies like the next pandemic. The state must reverse this trend now, and guarantee access to all through MassHealth.
EDUCATION: Overhaul state funding of rural schools, and relieve the property tax burden. A central state fund, supported by equitable taxation, must support all schools' needs, including the additional costs of rural schools. We must end unfunded mandates that drop unmanageable burdens upon town budgets and property taxes, which are higher in Worcester County than anywhere in the Commonwealth.
TRANSIT: Pursue not only affordable east-west rail, but also a town-to-town regular shuttle service to connect seniors, youth, and those who cannot drive to businesses, doctors, and services. Quaboag towns were once connected by rails and streetcars, and we must restore the ability to live and travel without a car.
INFRASTRUCTURE: Restore the Community Preservation Act, insure affordable high-speed internet in every town, and overhaul state funding of road maintenance, so that towns can support their residents and industry affordably. Massachusetts should also set up a public bank for affordable retail banking and capital loans for local small businesses, as North Dakota already has.
If elected, on Beacon Hill I pledge that I would:
DEMAND TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY -- Requiring a public record of every committee and floor vote. Massachusetts should not be run through secretive back-room deals.
FIGHT FOR THIS DISTRICT FULL-TIME -- Voters and taxpayers pay state legislators' salaries (currently $62,000/yr), and central Massachusetts deserves a representative who will work for them full time.