Massachusetts is known for having superb public and private educational institutions, producing some of the most well-educated students in the country. The Commonwealth must continue to invest in our public education system and close the achievement gap that persists in our student population. I have long championed the METCO program, which remains one of our most effective tools in improving student achievement in lower-income communities. While we have some of the top students and teachers here in Massachusetts, we must find new and better ways to educate our youth to succeed and thrive in a rapidly changing economy. I have filed bills to help towns cover rising special education costs, and provide tuition assistance to public school teachers to help attract the best and brightest into our schools.
Energy & Environment
Even before becoming a legislator, I was a strong advocate for robust policies to protect our environment. While many think “green” policies are merely to benefit our natural resources, in reality a healthy environment benefits us, our children, our workers, our tourism industry and, subsequently, our entire economy. For several years I have sponsored legislation to help replace toxic chemicals in products we use every day with safer alternatives. Doing so would not only help us, the consumers, who use these products, but often the companies who manufacture these goods as well through reduced costs and healthier workers. In the energy sector, I have proudly supported our state’s groundbreaking efforts to promote renewable and efficient energy sources, such as the Green Communities Act. I am also pushing a measure to allow our cities and towns to form their own electric utilities, which would provide consumers with better service and competitive prices. With the failures of large utility companies becoming clear through recent natural disasters, followed by prolonged outages, residents deserve a better choice for their public utilities.
Health & Safety
Our state led the country in reforming the health care system in 2006, leading to the highest rate of insurance coverage in the nation. People are taking advantage of better primary care and receiving preventive services, avoiding costly complications, and emergency room visits. But while the rate of health cost increases has fallen in recent years, the overall cost of health care and insurance remains much too high for individuals, businesses, municipalities, and the state government. I support current efforts underway to reform our health care payment system to ensure patients receive the quality care they need while incentivizing providers to do so in a cost-effective way. There is enough money in our health care system, it is merely a matter of spending it the right way, with more funds going toward primary care and prevention services and paying doctors not just on the quantity of tests given and patients seen, but on the overall quality of care and patient outcomes. Our state can once again lead the nation in providing affordable, accessible health care to all our residents.
As Chairman of the Revenue Committee, I am deeply involved in working to make our tax code and budget more simple, efficient, and fair for all Massachusetts residents. In addition to the many bills I have filed to achieve these goals, I serve on the state’s Tax Expenditure Commission, which is tasked with studying the over $26 billion of tax breaks and exemptions in our laws and ensuring their utility, fairness, and effectiveness for taxpayers. Revenue reform continues to be one of my top priorities.