Energy and the Environment

We believe:

  • Protecting our environment is a moral responsibility to future generations, a health and quality-of-life issue for us today as well as an enormous economic consideration.    Climate change is real and the time for debate is over.  Urgent action is required and while the federal government has, for many years, abandoned its responsibility to steward our environment, the Commonwealth can and should do all it can.
  • The environment is a public trust and responsibility for its preservation and sustainability must rest publicly – in a partnership between people, private enterprise and government
  • A more sustainable and environmentally just Commonwealth, that takes the lead in preserving the environment for generations to come.
  • Protecting our water, air and biodiversity through enforcement of existing regulations and financial incentives for responsible stewardship.
  • Strengthening effective land-use planning policies to support smart growth and conservation.
  • Promoting responsible use of the Commonwealth’s natural resources by supporting composting, expanding recycling, reducing hazardous waste, and restoring polluted sites to environmental health.
  • Combating global warming by supporting and developing alternative energy resources and practice, mass transit statewide and energy efficiency programs.
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Providing for Our Neediest

We believe:

  • That our communities—local, state and national—are weakened when our citizens are in poverty or one job loss or medical emergency away from economic insecurity
  • That providing a safety net for citizens is not only in the moral compact of our nation’s founding but also a strategic investment in our long-term economic prosperity
  • That our current system of intervening only in the hardest cases is fiscally wrong-headed/more expensive than alternatives
  • We have a responsibility as a community to lift all people above the poverty line, including the sick, the disabled, the homeless, the hungry, the elderly, and the unemployed, and as a part of resetting our local, state and national priorities, to make available affordable housing and a living wage for all.
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Health Care for All

We believe:

  • Access to quality, affordable health care is a right not a privilege and that no resident of the Commonwealth should be excluded
  • The most effective and efficient system would be Universal Single Payer for all because it would substantially reduce administrative and marketing costs
  • All health plans should provide full reproductive health care, preventative treatment and coordination of benefits.
  • Our health care policy should guarantee equity in health care access, treatment, research and resources to people and communities of color, helping to eliminate racial disparities in health outcomes and real improvement in health and life expectancy for all
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Affordable Housing

We believe:

  • Creating and preserving safe, decent, affordable housing for all residents of the Commonwealth with a particular emphasis on low-income, very-low income, and homeless households — through a strong commitment to preserving existing subsidized housing, and creating permanently affordable housing.
  • Ending homelessness while supporting coordinated legal, medical, financial assistance to the homeless.
  • Containing the impact of foreclosure.  Foreclosures remain a crisis in Massachusetts, causing many families to lose their homes, increasing economic instability, and making neighborhoods less financially stable.   The public good is served if renters are protected and lenders are encouraged/required to re-negotiate terms.
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Public Safety and Criminal Justice

We believe:

  • Every resident should feel safe and secure in their home and their neighborhood.  This is the most fundamental function of government—to provide for basic safety & security.
  • Every child should feel safe in their school. We should never accept young people killing each other as a reality of life, and we should not resign ourselves to crime and recidivism rates that are preventable.
  • No one should be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention without charge, and that all people are entitled to due process by an independent, impartial and civilian court of law.
  • Those who have served their time should be able to enjoy full rights and privileges of citizenship including voting and should not be subject to discriminatory hiring, housing and lending practices.
  • Responsible criminal justice requires that we take steps to ensure prisoners are equipped with the skills/counseling/opportunities (and certainly lack of stigma) to prevent recidivism.
  • In judicial discretion on sentencing that reflects details of the offender and the evidence of rehabilitation
  • Criminal justice policies should emphasize prevention, alternatives-to-incarceration, ample opportunity for workforce training and other rehabilitative programs, partnership with communities, and police accountability in order to insure public safety and justice.
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Public Transportation

We believe:

  • The goal of having a thriving economy and a sustainable environment are both improved by active investment in and expansion of mass transit – trains, busses and high speed rail that move people from where they live to where they work, safely, efficiently, cost effectively
  • The government should invest substantially in developing safe, reliable and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our Commonwealth’s dependence on fossil fuel, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote public health.
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Education and Workforce Development

We believe:

  • Public education is the foundation for a strong democracy and the pathway out of poverty.  It has made it possible for poor children, many of them sons and daughters of immigrants and slaves to gain the skills required to make a better life for themselves and in the 20th century, it created the largest and most productive middle class in the history of the world.
  • Education should inspire; it should be fun; and it should teach us to be critical of what we know.  Education should not focus on answers to the questions we know, but to imagine the questions we don’t even know to ask.  Education should teach us to dream, to be creative, to create the jobs and solutions of the future. Quality public education should be accessible to everyone.
  • Schools should be community centers. Schools should be a place our children are excited to go to; where our communities gather; where learning takes place for all ages. The buildings and classrooms should be places that encourage inspiration and creative contemplation.  Schools should have classrooms that are diverse for the different types of learning styles.  Quality schools should be a few blocks away from all people who want to access them.
  • Early childhood learning opportunities give young children a head start.  All day kindergarten strengthens their preparation and provides working parents with a safe and secure environment for their children.  Adequate funding for public schools and after school enrichment ensures that the promise of equal education is fully realized.  And support for our public institutions of higher learning puts a college degree within reach of many of the state’s poorer residents.
  • Our education policy should have input from teachers and students, parents and community leaders so that it does not merely enrich a few testing companies, but our communities.
  • Our education policy should focus on quality schools for every child, early childhood development (ages 0 – 5), youth and dropout prevention programs that enable all kids to succeed and aim to eliminate the achievement gap – with academic, athletic, and cultural programs that focus on human development, a commitment to reducing class size, and a strong emphasis on parental involvement.
  • Teachers should have the resources to create a positive learning environment.  Teachers should have the time to coordinate with their peers, collaborate with experts and fellow teachers and the freedom to try to be innovative.  Teachers should have the dignity of being paid at a rate that reflects their critical role as professional development for future generations.
  • Students should have classrooms and teachers that match their learning styles rather than a one-size fits all approach to education.  Standardized testing should be used to assess a child’s learning style each year, progress in achieving relevant education goals and a guide to give that child the best opportunities; not a one size fits all fill in the oval test.
  • Education does not end with formal schooling and that, as our economy evolves, workers must have the skills required to secure employment in expanding sectors.  The private sector, unions and government have a role to play in equipping our workers with the skills they need to be successful in tomorrow’s economy.
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Job Growth and the Economy

We believe:

  • A strong economy and an abundance of good paying jobs are the cornerstone of a successful community.  When people work, families are more stable, neighborhoods are safer, and citizenship is stronger.  The very fabric of the community is strengthened.
  • Our economy must provide real opportunity for all Americans and ensure that everyone has access to a minimum standard of living.
  • Economic policy should focus on the creation and preservation of living-wage and prevailing-wage jobs with adequate benefits, leave, paid sick time and security to support a family, that aims to nurture a diverse economy, and that provides opportunities to those who have been left out (including minority and women-owned business enterprises).
  • Sensible regulation is essential for capitalism to function.  Further monopolistic corporate cronyism produces inequities that threaten a free and just society.  Government and the private sector must work collaboratively to ensure growth and innovation as well as social justice and equity of opportunity.
  • A functioning economy requires government regulation to protect against ant-trust violations, to protect innovation from large corporate patent attacks, and to protect consumers with a vigorous testing regimes.
  • Government should refrain from picking winners and losers – that is, providing incentives to individual companies.  Instead government should encourage innovation, provide the infrastructure (transportation, education) necessary to success and ensure adequate public investment in industries of the future like alternative energy and bio-tech which are the strengths of Massachusetts.
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President Obama makes strong case for progressive policy

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Fair Means Giving Back

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