Issues

PJ's Priorities 

As your State Representative, my top priority will always be keeping my ear to the district and making sure that my actions as a legislator are directly informed by the hopes and needs of my constituents.  I will strive to build on the precedent set by Mayor Walsh and run an office that is immediately responsive to the needs of all residents, relies on community input, and keeps our government accountable.  

Shared Economic Development

I will work tirelessly to make sure that our city’s economic growth and prosperity is shared by all of our neighborhoods and each of our neighbors. To get us there, I will:

  • Work to rebuild pathways to prosperity by passing a minimum wage increase that allows workers to provide for their families and by connecting more residents with the jobs and skills they need to succeed; and
  • Promote a housing and community development strategy that creates and protects housing that is affordable to residents of all income levels and helps to build inclusive, vibrant, healthy communities

I am optimistic that Dorchester can be a place where the middle class is much more attainable, and much harder to lose hold of, and where our city's economic growth and opportunity are shared by all of our neighbors.

I believe that State government needs to do much more to rebuild pathways to prosperity--through more high quality jobs for our neighbors, through wage laws that allow workers to provide for themselves, through housing that is affordable enough to allow people from all incomes who live in the district to stay here, and for new people to come here to make a life for themselves and their families.

Our district needs a housing strategy that addresses the housing shortage while creating active, vibrant, residential communities and delivers affordable, healthy places for people to live, generates jobs, supporting the economic growth of the region.

We need a serious plan for shared economic growth that leverages state and city resources and builds on existing mechanisms to grow quality, healthy, affordable housing stock, focusing on our transit stops, underused parcels, and other parts of the district would benefit from residential and mixed-use growth.

We need to work harder to make sure that new development throughout the city helps to lift Boston’s neighborhoods, by strengthening existing jobs policies and making sure that residents in all of our neighborhoods have access to the training and placement resources they need to participate.

Our shared success also depends on a reliable infrastructure. Our state-owned roads in the neighborhoods suffer from underinvestment and neglect. We need a state stimulus bill that is focused on shovel-ready projects like repaving our roads and making sure that traffic patterns are adjusted to improve public safety and maximize the use of our roads for all users. I will work to invest in our existing transit and road networks while advocating for all projects that bring jobs and an increased quality of life to the district.

Addiction and Recovery

Addiction is a problem that touches almost every family, including my own. And in Dorchester, more of our friends and family die as a result of overdoses than in the city as a whole. While drug and alcohol abuse touches each family in a different way, the challenges are similar. There are too few treatment beds, not enough support for families who are looking for services and a lack of integration between the medical care system and substance abuse providers.

I deeply appreciate the role that Mayor Walsh has played in preventing and treating addiction in the district and throughout the state. As our State Representative, Mayor Walsh carried a well-deserved reputation for being personally responsive to families in need of addiction treatment beds and seeking to improve treatment options. If elected, I will do my best to provide the same level of care to families experiencing addiction, while also working every day to secure changes in our addiction and mental health treatment systems to build a future where families do not have to struggle to find the treatment they need.

Specifically, I will:

  1. Make addiction treatment resources a top priority during the state budget process and push for more treatment beds. When a person decides they want to get clean and sober, there should be one place where they can go to find a bed and there must be a bed available to them. I will work with the City and State to make sure that residents have seamless access to addiction treatment services.
  2. Make the life-saving emergency intervention Narcan more broadly available. Abuse of Oxycontin and other prescription painkillers has reached epidemic levels of use in our city. Boston has led the way in reversing opioid overdoses by increasing access to Narcan -- a nasal aerosol that reverses overdoses -- for both bystanders as well as emergency responders. Since 2007, Boston has saved over 2,000 individuals from overdose through a combination of street outreach, training of first responders, and providing access to individuals who are at highest risk of an overdose. In addition to increasing Narcan use among first responders, I will support legislation and regulatory changes to allow pharmacists to prescribe Narcan to those in need.
  3. Work with the state to establish a licensing program for sober homes. “Sober homes,” also known as alcohol and drug free housing, are private residences owned and operated by individual landlords to provide affordable, substance-free housing for individuals in recovery. While individual residences vary widely, and the quality of individual programs can vary significantly and there is no reliable system for identifying or reporting concerns related to quality, abuse, or the concerns of abutters. I will work with other legislators and state government to ensure adequate licensing and oversight of sober homes.
  4. Invest in addiction prevention. Even though our addiction rates are alarming, Boston does better than the US in preventing use of drugs and alcohol by our young people. Much of this is due to the good work of our Neighborhoods Organizing Against Drugs (NoDrugs) community coalitions, like the Dorchester Substance Abuse Coalition, that help promote positive messages, and initiate a broad range of new prevention initiatives that respond directly to community needs and experiences. I will support the work of these vibrant community organizations by helping to sustain their federal, state and local funding sources.

 

Inclusiveness, Civil rights, and Equal Access

Dorchester has always been a place that has allowed generations of newcomers to our country and city to make a name for themselves and build a life for their families.  I will work to ensure that our city and state governments help to build on our best traditions of inclusiveness.  Specifically:

  • I will work to remove barriers to participating in the mainstream economy and the political process for non-English speaking residents, and implement a comprehensive language justice program to make state government, programs, and resources are more accessible, including the electoral process, economic development, and small business programs.  
  • I will work through the legislature and the legal system to maintain equal rights to marriage and equal protections under family law for LGBT individuals.  For more on my positions, read my DotOUT questionnaire here.
  • I firmly believe that our district's broad racial and ethnic diversity is our greatest asset, but our legislature and state government need to continue to work to ensure that our neighborhoods and institutions can help to promote racial and ethnic justice and inclusiveness, through addressing barriers to equitable participation in employment, housing, and other community institutions.  

Education

Give our schools and teachers the resources they need to close the achievement gap, including funding for universal early education, wraparound support services for our highest-need students, and innovative programs to guarantee college and career-ready graduates

Livable Neighborhoods

Build on best practices from Boston and elsewhere to solve each of our community’s challenges, including

  • Violence prevention
  • Better public spaces
  • Infrastructure improvements
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