I am running to be a strong and effective advocate for the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester district. I want to bring new energy to Beacon Hill and work with the community and the other members of our Western Mass delegation on the core progressive issues that matter.
The cities and towns of our region are home to creative, civic-minded people and an unrivaled progressive spirit. They are filled with extraordinary vibrancy, innovation and natural beauty. I feel very fortunate to live here, to be part of this great community, and to be able to give back to that community through public service.
I have spent many years as an advocate for progressive reform in the public interest, building skills and experience that I believe will help me be an effective legislator.
Previously, I worked for organizations including Common Cause and FairVote on issues of government transparency, campaign finance and election reform. Among the things I was proudest to work on was legislation to get big money out of politics. Today I am an independent consultant.
I'm a former steering committee member at the Northampton Living Wage Coalition, which works to ensure working people earn a wage sufficient to meet their basic needs, and a former board member of Northampton's Ward 3 Neighborhood Association. I have also volunteered with a local arts program called Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares, which applies the "farm share" model to community concerts in the region.
In 2013, I was elected to the Northampton City Council representing Ward 3, and then won a special citywide election for Councilor At-Large in 2016. Every year Northampton's nine councilors elect a President to preside over the Council, and this January my colleagues unanimously chose me to take on that job. (My first meeting presiding over the Council as President was cancelled due to a major snow storm, but the weather has cooperated since then.)
As a City Councilor and Council President, I have fought for the environment, affordable housing, campaign finance reform, worker's rights, civil rights, and public education. I have done my best not just to speak out but to work with others to be effective and get results.
Among the things I am proudest of are:
Campaign Finance Reform - Writing the first ordinance in Massachusetts to create a local campaign finance law stronger than the state's to reduce money in local politics.
Economic Justice - Writing an ordinance to require all municipal employees be paid at least the state minimum wage, and passing a resolution endorsing a $15 minimum wage in Massachusetts.
Environmental Justice - Speaking out against the fracked gas pipeline proposed to be built across Western Mass and putting Northampton on record as the first city in the Commonwealth to oppose it in 2014.
Public Education - Championing full funding of public schools and publicly opposing the recent ballot measure that would have lifted the state charter school cap.
Civil Rights - Writing a resolution affirming Northampton's anti-discrimination policy, making it clear people should not face discrimination in matters of public accommodation on the basis of gender identity. (This passed in Northampton before the Legislature extended those protections in 2016.)
Public Resources - Authoring local legislation to ban privatization of Northampton's water system, and consistently supporting conservation of open space.
Affordable Housing - Actively pushing for investment in affordable housing and working on zoning reform efforts to help create it.
I was born in Springfield in 1980, went to public schools, and graduated from UMass in 2002.
My mother and father were married at St. Mary's Church and lived for a number of years on Isabella Street in Northampton. When my parents separated, my mother moved us to affordable housing in Amherst where I grew up. My mother raised me by herself, something I have come to appreciate and respect more and more with time. She worked as a secretary at UMass and later as a teacher in the Holyoke school system. My grandfather also taught in Holyoke for 25 years. My grandmother translated textbooks into Braille for visually impaired students.
After graduating from UMass, I worked in the Marketing Department at the Fine Arts Center there and then spent seven years in the Washington, DC area, briefly interning for Congressman John Olver before going on to work for some of the non-profits I listed above, and then ultimately moving back to Northampton.
When I have spare time, I like to spend it with friends, and I love taking walks through the neighborhoods of Northampton.
At a community gathering in Northampton.
With my grandfather in 1983 in Easthampton (I'm on the left.)