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My Platform

Our local schools are facing budget constraints that require immediate attention to ensure that our schools can continue to offer our children the quality education that attracted families to this district in the first place. Critical local funding commitments are not being met by the State. The mental health crisis continues to grow. Affordable housing for the 'missing middle' is an ongoing struggle for hardworking people across the Commonwealth. Last—but certainly not least—while we recently just celebrated a big win for reproductive rights in Massachusetts by securing access to abortion, prenatal and postnatal care are an exorbitant expense for parents oftentimes leaving them in debt upon the arrival of their newborn.

These are everyday issues that impact all of us—directly or indirectly—and they need to be addressed on Beacon Hill.

Day One
Legislative Support

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The Issues

District Funding

I have worked on the Norfolk Select Board for the past 6 years, working with town leaders who do the best that they can with the funds that are provided. Simply put, the funding provided is not enough. Residents and commercial property owners in our towns bear the brunt of the additional costs in their respective towns and it is driving up property taxes as a result. It is unsustainable and it needs to be resolved.

It is crucial for State Representatives to be in alignment with town leaders in the district for which they represent. In addition to the funding that comes from the resident and business tax base, the State of Massachusetts provides funding to each town in a variety of ways, on an annual basis. 

 

Chapter 70 funding is state aid provided to towns in order to support their public elementary and secondary education budgets. (Example: The Town of Norfolk annual budget for 2024 is $47.24M; Chapter 70 funds will cover $3.58M, or 7.6%).

 

Chapter 90 funding can be used to fund municipal capital projects (e.g. public road improvements, approved equipment/machinery, consultant services needed for town-wide capital projects, etc.). In FY23, Chapter 90 funds provided to the Town of Norfolk $403,634, or 1% of the total town budget. The total expected cost to get all of the roads in the Town of Norfolk to a 90/100 rating is $6M. 

 

These funding percentages for both Ch.70 & Ch.90 are unacceptable to me - if elected this will be a day-one priority. 

Reproductive Rights

Reproductive rights means more than protecting access to abortion. We must support families through the entire parenting journey. Full-spectrum pregnancy care—prenatal care, childbirth, and postpartum care—result in towering out-of-pocket costs. Families are paying monthly on high deductible plans that are still saddling them with healthcare debt. Making one of the most joyful transitions of their lives beyond stressful. So many of us know that it can be hard enough to start a family, our families shouldn’t be financially in the red from the beginning.

In addition, parental leave while it is covered under The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), merely secures employment while parents are at home caring for their newborn; it does not guarantee that they will be paid while they are out on leave. While this may not be a financial setback for affluent families, many families cannot afford for one parent to be out of work for several weeks without a paycheck.

Childcare Costs

In addition to the out-of-pocket costs associated with prenatal and postnatal care, the next financial hurdle is childcare costs. In a household with two working parents, access to childcare is not a luxury, it is a necessity. However, Massachusetts has found its way into some of the highest costs for these necessities in the country, almost $21,000 per year on average for infant care—2nd only to Washington DC (Economic Policy Institute, 2020). That means infant care in Massachusetts costs 63.7% more per year than in-state tuition for a four-year public college and 31.1% more than average rent.

Mental Health

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. 

Labor Unions

In today’s economy, corporations are experiencing record profits, CEOs are receiving record bonuses, while many of their employees are struggling financially and can barely make ends meet. Unfortunately, many employers are putting profits over people and we are seeing the downstream effects in our society today. 

Labor unions enable employees to band together to negotiate reasonable wages, benefit from the buying power of group healthcare coverage, earn paid time off, and be assured the financial security of a retirement pension. In a time where wage theft, employer accountability, and workforce retention have become priority topics within our communities, the importance of legislative support is at an all-time high.

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