The need to address the housing crisis in the 9th Norfolk district is among Kevin’s biggest concerns. As a former member of the Norfolk Planning Board, B1 District Committee and as a current member of the Norfolk Select Board, he has seen first-hand how difficult it is to effectively increase our housing stock, especially affordable housing. He will leverage that experience to propose a modernized approach to housing development that will shift the focus from two ends of the housing spectrum (large, single-family homes and large apartment buildings) to the "missing middle", as it's referred to by the planning community.
Between the long road of recovery from a global pandemic, to some of the most polarized political scrutiny of our time, students, teachers, administrators, and school systems have never needed support on Beacon Hill more than they do now to address the unprecedented challenges that they face today.
During Kevin’s time on the Norfolk Select Board, he has served as a partner to our local school committees and administrations. He supports increased Chapter 70 funding and fully funding Special Education Circuit Breaker programs. On top of that, district-specific needs such as finally funding the Regional Transportation reimbursements to their committed levels and advocating for funding towards school building project programs are some of the first initiatives that he will address on Day 1.
Massachusetts provides health insurance coverage to 97% of state residents but despite near universal coverage, we have yet to overcome critical barriers to accessing care. Disparities in insurance coverage and health care access continue to exist along income, racial, and education lines. The pandemic has worsened health care inequities and increased the need to invest in a stronger public health infrastructure to support future public health challenges.
Kevin will push for resources to take on the mental health crisis that has only worsened during the pandemic. He will advocate for access to critical mental health services for everyone—from children to seniors—and direct action as it relates to historically underfunded state program commitments. Over the last several years, there has been an ongoing and concerted effort to shut down these imperative services resulting in the closure of certain state-run facilities serving the profoundly developmentally disabled and state-run hospitals serving the mentally ill. These facilities serve the neediest and most underserved populations in our state.
For all individuals facing mental health crises or substance abuse issues, increasingly, the only care option has been the Emergency Room—or worse, the prison system, which is the most expensive and least effective method of treatment. Between lingering social stigmas and scarcity of services, connecting those in need of mental health and substance abuse issues with the care they require is increasingly difficult.
Climate policy change related to emissions targets, renewable energy investments, electrical grid updates, rethinking transportation, and environmental justice are among my chief concerns. An important point within Bill H.3372 is that “climate change is intertwined with social inequities that will not be solved by simply transitioning to renewable energy. . . we center justice and equity for environmental justice communities, frontline and fence line communities - particularly poor, Black and brown, and indigenous communities - and other populations that have been disproportionately affected by the climate crisis”. Kevin looks forward to exploring this as a state representative, not only to help underserved people in our own district, but also across the state.
One of the main catalysts that pushed Kevin to run for his Select Board seat was that he believed strongly that the town of Norfolk could benefit from enhanced transparency. Whether it's through open communications with abutters on town projects, the institution of Select Board office hours, or town updates on the local news channel to keep the community informed and engaged, transparency has always been a priority for him.
Although the median household income in the 9th Norfolk District varies by town, the average is $134,171, placing our towns in the top 15 - 20% of the population benefiting from the regressive tax structure. However, the average number of people who still live below the poverty line in our six towns is 2.6%. Kevin’s goal is to turn our tax system “right side up” to address the systemic inequities in our tax structure and ensure that loopholes are closed to those that abuse them.
Working on municipal and county budgets for the past several years has given Kevin a unique perspective on the aspects that affect residents in our local towns the most. The 9th Norfolk district needs a candidate who understands these challenges and will advocate from a position of knowledge on its behalf.
In the Massachusetts State Auditor’s 5-year Statutory Fiscal Impact Report, Regional School District Transportation funding, along with 28 other statutes/mandates, are categorized as having "substantial impact on municipal budgets and operations." Kevin, along with his fellow Select Board members from across the district, have been pushing for district advocacy as it relates to historically underfunded state program commitments. They have been working tirelessly to bridge these gaps in our local budgets year after year. As State Representative, he will focus on ensuring these programs get the support and committed funding that our towns critically need.
Developing and maintaining a partnership with local Select Boards, School Committees, Town Administrators, and others who have served our communities in these capacities will be an overlying theme in Kevin's approach to representative government. With the foundation of so many relationships built and strengthened during his time on the Norfolk Select Board, he looks forward to expanding that network and providing a level of empathy-driven service that only someone who has served in these roles could possibly understand. It is through that collaboration and alignment that we will address our shared challenges together.