Covid-19 has effected every aspect of life: our health, our jobs and the economy, our schools and communities, how we worship and how we grieve.
Our state must respond to both the public health and economic damage of Covid-19.
More than 200,000 people have died from COVID since March; 9,500 Massachusetts residents among them. It is a staggering loss of life in a six-month span.
Public Health Response
We must continue to follow the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus until we have a vaccine that has been properly tested. Once available, it must be distributed equitably.
At the same time, we have to deal with the damaging and far-reaching effects of this public health and economic crisis.
The profound dedication and selflessness of our health care workers during the darkest days of the Covid-19 onslaught moved and inspired us. These front line workers in our hospitals and health care facilities deserve not only our respect but also good pay and PPE; they should not have to rely heavily on de-contamination and re-use practices to do their jobs.
I will support our health care workers affected by this public health crisis by:
Supporting emergency paid sick time for any worker to quarantine due to COVID-19 or care for a family member who must quarantine
Supporting priority testing for all healthcare workers, including home care workers
Ensuring sufficient supply of PPE in hospitals and healthcare facilities so workers don’t have to rely heavily on decontamination and re-use practices. Our state must have an ample supply and the means to distribute it equitably.
Sixty percent of Coronavirus deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities. When a loved one of a nursing home patient could not be there, often it was the nursing assistant who brought them together using their phone to FaceTime, sometimes praying with the resident and their loved one. This humanity is beautiful. But it's not a replacement for strong, competent leadership and accountability.
I will push to increase protection for Veterans and all residents and staff in Long Term Care facilities by:
Strengthening oversight of these facilities to ensure proper preparation and standards of care as a condition of licensing
Requiring Long Term Care facilities to report deaths to their local Boards of Health
Assisting Unemployed Workers and Small Businesses
The economic crisis precipitated by Covid-19 and the failure of our President to lead an effective response means people will struggle for some time against the tide of lost income and access to health insurance.
I will support people impacted by the catastrophic damage of this economic crisis by:
Ensuring the continued availability of Unemployment to laid-off workers in all sectors as well as vital assistance to individuals and small businesses.
Supporting measures to keep people housed, including a moratorium on evictions due to Covid-19. I will file legislation to impose a moratorium on foreclosures aimed at specifically assisting the owners of small, owner-occupied homes dependent on rental income.
Working to increase access to childcare, without which families cannot work or supervise their children’s remote learning. As Congresswoman Katherine Clark said recently, "Child care is infrastructure."
I will support our local economy by:
Working with small businesses to identify resources and measures to assist restaurants and small businesses who are struggling to stay afloat amidst necessary restrictions
Supporting our communities and the local economy through continued state Chapter 90 and transportation funding for essential local projects in Danvers, West Peabody, and Middleton.
Identifying and supporting economic development opportunities for our communities.
Education During the Pandemic
The difficult work of schooling during the pandemic will require a capacity to anticipate problems and solve them.
While our students, their parents, and our educators have risen and are rising to the incredible challenges of remote teaching and learning, our state government should assist with technology and troubleshooting.
I will support our families, teachers, and schools by:
Advocating for stronger support from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to assist our schools with technology and resources to make remote learning work in every one of our schools: urban, suburban, rural, regional, and Charters.
Pursuing cost-sharing arrangements with towns and cities.
Funding the Student Opportunity Act.
I will steadfastly support equity in all facets of our public education system (and throughout state government). As a product of the Danvers Public Schools, Westfield State College, and the University of Massachusetts, I know well the irreplaceable role our public schools play in creating opportunities for all students. We must invest in education from pre-K through college.
I'll draw on my experience as our elected Representative, mother and local government volunteer and my passion for fairness and community to the several issues beyond Covid-19:
Health Care Access
Mental health treatment for children and adults must be accessible. Families often cannot get treatment for their family member suffering from mental illness due to bureaucracy and insurance company rules. We have to remove these barriers. I co-sponsored mental health parity legislation in the past and will actively work for its passage if elected.
Substance abuse treatment must be available and accessible. I'll work with Attorney General Maura Healey, District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett and Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger to address the Opioid crisis in our communities and across the Commonwealth.
Reproductive Health: I unequivocally support a woman's right to choose. I led the successful effort in 1996 to repeal the Flynn-Doyle act, which prohibited insurance coverage of abortion for public employees. It is distressing to see that access to reproductive care has been eroded in the years since.
I will actively support the passage of the Roe Act here in Massachusetts.
The effects of a warming planet are all around us; rising sea levels and the threat to local ecosystems due to changing climate can't be ignored. I support the roadmap passed by the Massachusetts House to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by fifty percent by the year 2050. We must invest in clean, renewable sources of energy, including wind and solar.
Locally, we can reduce landfill methane gas by reducing what we throw away (I'm a proud customer of Black Earth Composting). The state should encourage local composting and toxic waste reduction.
We are sorely lacking in good public transportation in our area. Danvers is served by two bus routes that revolve around the Liberty Tree Mall. We can do better. I will work with our local officials and the MBTA to reimagine our bus routes and explore regional approaches to improving access to public transportation that serves our communities in a much broader, cleaner fashion that makes sense.
I will work with our Highway Department to increase safety on our state roads and address transportation needs in the 13th Essex District.
More broadly, our state's public transportation system is vital to a strong economy. It's also a climate issue; I support the Transportation Climate Initiative.
State support is critical to essential water, road and infrastructure projects. I'll work to secure funding for the Smith School, Winona Pumping Station, and road and bridge improvements throughout the district.
The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer shocked our country and forced a reckoning with racial injustice too long ignored. The work of dismantling systemic racism must include evaluating all legislative proposals and spending with an eye toward equity.
Police reform legislation must address training and accountability. The Danvers Police Department was the first municipal police department in the Commonwealth to achieve National Accreditation, which it attained in 1987. As such, it engages in comprehensive pre-hiring screening, comprehensive training in use of force and duty to report, and sets standards for accountability. Good reform legislation will result in ensuring that every police department in the state adheres to these standards. Chokeholds should be banned and victims of police brutality must have legal recourse.
As a member of the Danvers Committee for Diversity/Human Rights and Inclusion for the past eight years, I've worked with fellow committee members to confront bigotry, anti-Semitism, racism and homophobia in our community. Through dialogue with our Police Department, Danvers Public Schools and the Danvers Clergy Association, partnerships and events including the MLK Tribute in January, the Pride Flag raising in June and Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence every July 4 for the past 10 years, we strive to make Danvers a welcoming community to all.
But we have much more to do.