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1. Education. Major inequities exist among schools and I am committed to closing those gaps. I will provide universal access to pre-K, and support programs to low-income and single-parent families. I will work to level the playing field in our public education system by supporting teachers, moving away from an over-reliance on high-stakes testing, and reversing chronic underinvestment in our low-income schools. I will make investments in our public higher education system to make college more affordable for low-income students and expand vocational training programs.
Inequality. Inequality has been growing in this Commonwealth and around the nation to unacceptable levels for the past several decades. I will work to increase the minimum wage to $11 per hour and beyond, to ensure all Massachusetts workers earn a livable wage. I will fight for a fair tax system where people with higher incomes pay higher tax rates and people with lower incomes pay lower tax rates. And I will make the unapologetic case for bringing the progressive values of social justice, equality and compassion back into our public discourse. I will commit to intense efforts, which I will personally lead, to end hunger, homelessness, and child poverty in Massachusetts within the next decade.
Healthcare. It is crucially important that we control healthcare costs without any harm whatsoever to patients. I am the only candidate who favors a single payer healthcare payment system. And I will use my experience over three decades in health care improvement to move our state away fee-for-service payment and from fragmented delivery into coordinated, team-based, integrated care. The result will be better care at lower cost. Controlling health care costs will restore hundreds millions to the state budget to be devoted to other essential programs, restore billions to workers and businesses and create jobs. It will also allow us to make sure that everyone is covered with high-quality, affordable health care regardless of who they are or their employment status.
I WILL NOT march.
I have spent my life devoted to fighting for health care as a human right. Among other initiatives, my organization launched massive projects in Africa to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission. Massachusetts has made great strides in fighting HIV/AIDS, and appears poised to become the first state in the nation to achieve no new infections. I will bring my thirty years of health care experience to double down on this progress as governor. I will fight to make necessary investments, and advocate for a single payer health care system, which can ensure that every resident has access to medically necessary treatment, services, and resources–including those with HIV/Aids.
The tragedy in Ferguson, MO underscores the need for steps to foster trust between police and the communities they serve. I believe in community policing, not combat policing.We should be proud to have some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and the recent gun bill passed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives is a sign of continued progress. But we can do more to protect people and communities from gun violence. As Governor, I will support: 1. Federal advocacy and regional solutions. Many of the illegal guns in Massachusetts come across state lines from New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. I will be a relentless advocate for comprehensive national gun safety laws, and I will work with neighboring governors to crack down on interstate gun commerce.Continued assault weapons ban. Weapons of war have no place on our streets. I oppose automatic weapons and favor the strictest possible restrictions on semi-automatic and high magazine weapons, on a state and federal level.
2. Comprehensive background checks. I support universal background checks with the teeth necessary to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals.
3. One gun a month. I support Governor Patrick’s proposal to limit gun purchases in Massachusetts to one per month.
4. Safety education. Lawful gun owners should be provided adequate education to ensure that they store firearms safely out of the reach of children.
But to make real progress reducing violence, we need to go beyond limiting the number of illegal guns. We must tackle the root causes of violence in our society—poverty, inequality, and lack of opportunity:
1. Outreach to at-risk youth. I will expand community programs that provide support to high-risk youth populations proven to reduce gang participation and offer young people alternative pathways to a prosperous life.
2. Programs to reduce recidivism. I will expand programs within our criminal justice system proven to help incarcerated people transition back to their communities and reduce repeat offenses.
I am running for Governor because I believe that all the people of Massachusetts have a right to equal treatment, dignity, and compassion – from their government and from each other. That promise includes, of course, full guarantees to the LGBT community. I will fight for them. Part of this fight is to make sure that all victims of domestic violence are afforded the same services and protections as all others. This is particularly necessary in a community that is disproportionately impacted by domestic violence. The unfinished fight for absolute equality is central to my desire to be governor, and will remain a constant focus of my administration.
LGBT youth in this state are at high risk. They suffer disproportionate levels of homelessness, violence, and suicide. Students are subject to bullying, and yet they often don’t feel comfortable seeking help. LGBT seniors fail to receive culturally competent care. And transgender people still face discrimination in our public spaces. As Governor, I will: 1) Provide support services and housing for unaccompanied homeless youth. All youth need safe spaces wherever they are, including in our homeless shelters, and state support is required for housing and social services designed particularly to address the unique needs and challenges of LGBT youth on the streets. Studies have shown that 20-40 percent of unaccompanied homeless youth – up to 2,400 children and teens in Massachusetts – identify themselves as LGBT. They need protection and, in my Administration, they will get it. 2) Invest in anti-bullying programs. When harassment or discrimination goes unaddressed, ostracized students are psychologically injured, and they are more likely to engage in self-destructive behavior. I will assure that our schools have the tools and training to intervene effectively and help to prevent high-risk behavior before it starts. This includes expansion of high-quality mental health services to meet the need.
Until every person in our Commonwealth can go through life without fear of discrimination, intimidation, or persecution, the fight for LGBT rights continues. This, of course, applies regardless of age. As Administrator of Medicare and Medicaid for President Obama, I fought to make sure that our nation’s seniors, including members of the LGBT community, had access to the best possible medical care and services. I will continue that fight as governor.
I will adopt a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination against transgender individuals. I fully support the “Equal Access” bill that adds “gender identity” to existing law that prohibits discrimination in public places.
I am running for Governor because I believe that all the people of Massachusetts have a right to equal treatment, dignity, and compassion – from their government and from each other. Those values have informed my work as a pediatrician and an executive for over 30 years. As Medicare and Medicaid Administrator, I oversaw the issuing of regulations that assured the same hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples as for heterosexual couples.In the Massachusetts that I envision, there are no second-class citizens, there are no tolerated forms of discrimination, and there is no concession to disparities that deny people the full benefits of citizenship. This includes the full rights that accrue to families. Neither the sexual orientation nor the gender identity of parents has any bearing on a child’s success or happiness. What matters is a loving, supportive home. Families are families. Period.”
As Governor, my top three priorities will be building an economy on our terms, transforming our public education system, and providing access to high-quality physical and behavioral healthcare for individuals and families across Massachusetts. I will work to build on the strength of our workforce and decrease barriers to business growth, in order to create jobs and economic opportunity across every region of the Commonwealth. I will also continue my track record of standing up for the rights of workers and pursuing strategies that reduce income inequality, including enforcing anti-discrimination laws and supporter earned sick time. I will also be committed to transforming our public education system, including universal access to early education and community college, so that all children, regardless of their income bracket, have the best possible chance to reach their full potential. Finally, an issue that is personal for me, we must continue our tireless efforts to ensure access, quality, and affordability in our health care system; and not only to physical health care, but to mental health care as well, because too many individuals and families in our state continue to suffer in silence, unsure where to turn for support or unable to access the services they need.
I WILL NOT march.
Throughout the campaign, I have spoken about the importance of expanding access to high- quality, culturally competent health care, especially community-based health care services. I have called for greater funding and increased coverage of services from private insurers. In some respects, Massachusetts has been a victim of its own success. Because Massachusetts has successfully driven down the rates of HIV and AIDS, federal funding has been reallocated to other states, leaving a funding gap for programs like free condom distribution and media advertising. As Governor, I will work with our federal partners to restore this funding and ensure that these programs remain adequately funded. Expanding the capacity of existing services, to ensure that we can meet the demand is one critical step to ensure affordable access to treatment, services & resources.
However, we must also remain focused on even more fundamental problem: eliminating stigma. Like with mental health and substance abuse, there is still a powerful stigma attached to HIV/AIDS, particularly in certain communities. All the services in the world will do us no good if people are too afraid to access them. As I have shared the story of my family’s battle with mental illness, I have seen the profound impact that it has had on people who have been scared to discuss their own struggles. I believe the next Governor must make it a priority to bring the issue of HIV/AIDS to the forefront of the public conversation; to use the bully pulpit to shed light on the issue and help reduce the stigma, so that people suffering with this disease feel empowered to seek the help they need.
I have worked my entire public career to make our schools, homes, and streets safer, and I believe our efforts to improve public safety must focus on prevention and rehabilitation. In my career as an ADA, DA, and now AG, I have seen too many people enter our criminal justice system who could have been diverted by an appropriate intervention earlier on, whether that’s access to education, employment, or behavioral health care. I believe we must make a greater commitment to protecting public safety on the front end, by increasing support for services, especially for young people, which offer viable alternatives to violence from an early age and address the underlying causes of violence, including mental health issues and substance abuse.
I also have a strong record of pursuing the most effective strategies to combat gun violence, which continues to plague our urban communities, especially. I have supported critical measures like closing the gun show loophole, instituting universal background checks, and banning assault weapons. I support the gun control measures recent signed by Governor Patrick and, as Governor, I will continue to pressure the federal government to pass comprehensive gun control legislation so that Massachusetts’ toughest-in-the-nation gun laws are not undermined by surrounding states with more relaxed laws.
Finally, I believe that we need to meaningfully improve post-release services for those who are incarcerated. Currently, recidivism rates sit well above 50%, meaning that much of the crime in our communities can be attributed to individuals who find themselves stuck in a cycle of violence and incarceration. We need to utilize the time inmates spend in prison to help them acquire education and job skills that can be invaluable once they are released. And when they are released, we need to ensure that there is a readily accessible, sustainable network of services available, including job counseling and behavioral health services, to help them reintegrate successfully into the community and break the cycle of incarceration.
I have spent my career working to reduce violence, both by holding perpetrators accountable and exploring innovative ways to support and empower victims, including those in the LGBTQ community. As with any type of violence, I believe the key lies in early intervention; I helped champion Massachusetts’ groundbreaking anti-bullying law, which puts in place greater protections for LGBTQ young people, who are often the target of harassment and violence. I will continue to work tirelessly to reduce the stigma that so often leads to violence against members of the LGBTQ community. For those cases we are unable to prevent, I will work with law enforcement and advocacy groups to ensure that cases involving LGBT victims are treated equitably, and that law enforcement and other state employees working to reduce violence receive proper cultural competency training.
I also believe it is important to do more to support and empower victims. Earlier this year, along with Speaker DeLeo, I spearheaded significant domestic violence legislation, recently signed into law by Governor Patrick, which requires that bail for domestic violence offender be delayed by six hours, to give victims a chance to get help and find a safe place, and requires employers to offer 15 days of leave a year for domestic violence victims who must receive medical attention or attend court. Empowering victims is critical to breaking the cycle of violence, especially domestic violence, and will be a priority of mine as Governor.
Bullying and harassment are some of the most serious challenges facing young people today, especially young LGBTQ individuals, too often resulting in tragic consequences. As part of my policy for working with the LGBTQ community, which I released earlier this year, I identified a range of strategies to address these very challenges, including:
1) Integrating LGBTQ-related topics into school curricula
Incorporating LGBTQ topics into school curricula will improve the educational experience for LGBTQ students, and help build acceptance and support among the broader school community. I strongly support An Act relative to healthy youth, which would require school districts offering sexuality education to include critical issues that young adults face, including the importance of safe sexual activity and the skills to build relationships that are free of violence, coercion, and intimidation. These lessons are crucial to building tolerance and understanding for young people, especially young LGBTQ young people, as they enter into relationships. It is also important that instruction in other subjects recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of LGBTQ individuals. As Governor, I will work with educators, nonprofits, and parents to create a framework for incorporating awareness of the LGBTQ community throughout school curricula.
2) Increase budget for MA Commission on LGBTQ Youth and expand student-led advocacy groups
Last year, the budget for the state commission on LGBTQ youth was doubled, from $100,000 to $200,000, which allowed the commission to expand anti-bullying training for parents, teachers, and students into 300 schools across the Commonwealth. We need to provide the resources to implement this type of training program in every school district in Massachusetts. This investment can help enormously to build understanding and prevent the social isolation and discrimination still faced by too many LGBTQ students.
Furthermore, the MA Commission for LGBTQ Youth and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education should work collaboratively to educate school officials about the benefits of creating strong student-led advocacy groups, like Gay/Straight alliances, and ensuring that these groups have the institutional support to function effectively. These groups should adopt a model similar to the State Student Advisory Council, whereby the they collectively elect members to serve on a statewide council, the chairman or chairwoman of which would sit on the Commission for LGBTQ Youth, to provide direct feedback about the priorities and concerns of LGBTQ students.
3) Expand LGBTQ-specific services for unaccompanied homeless youth
Up to 40% of all unaccompanied homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, and their service needs often differ from those of other unaccompanied youth. As Governor, I will direct the Department of Housing and Community Development to develop additional LGBTQ-specific services for unaccompanied homeless youth including increasing the number of LGBTQ-specific shelters, such as the Waltham House, that offer at least one private bathroom and shower for the privacy and safety of LGBTQ youth, and expanding group homes that address specific mental and physical health challenges often faced by LGBTQ youth. In addition, I will work to identify and address the root causes of homelessness among LGBTQ youth, including working with DCF to support families with LGBTQ children, and I will work with law enforcement officials to ensure that they have the cultural competency to be a safe and effective resource for LGBTQ youth.
One of the biggest challenges facing the LGBTQ community today is ensuring that members of the community have access to appropriate care as they age. Too many older LGBTQ individuals choose not to seek needed care because they don’t have access to competent services, and we still need better data about those seniors who need LGBTQ-specific services. Massachusetts has recently created a special commission to study the specific issue of LGBTQ elders; as Governor, I will review the commission’s recommendations and find ways to implement strategies that improve access to appropriate care.
I have been proud to stand with the LGBTQ community throughout my career. In 2009, my office was the first in the country to challenge the Defense of Marriage Act, because the law was unfairly preventing more than 16,000 same-sex families in Massachusetts from receiving benefits that were rightfully theirs, and a federal judge agreed that DOMA violated the rights of Massachusetts and its citizens. When the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, our office filed an amicus brief, which stated “our firm conviction that in order to truly achieve marriage equality all couples must enjoy the same rights and protections under both state and federal law.” Our leadership in Massachusetts inspired the Department of Justice not to defend DOMA, and when the high court struck down the law once and for all last year, it echoed many of the same arguments we had made in our original case.
We have made it a priority to expand protections for transgender individuals in Massachusetts. In 2011, I testified in support of proposed legislation that would expand legal protections and ensure equal access, and told the Joint Judiciary Committee that “our Commonwealth is stronger when every person can live and work free of harassment and threats.” The law that took effect in July 2012 represents an important, and long overdue, first step, but we must continue to remain focused on ensuring access to places of public accommodation, something I will fight for as Governor.
Working together, we have developed better strategies to prevent students from being bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I chaired Massachusetts’ Commission on Bullying Prevention and, in partnership with MassEquality and the Anti-Defamation League, I sponsored legislation that requires schools to update anti-bullying plans to include protections for especially vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ youth. The law will allow us to better measure the effectiveness of our anti-bullying programs and create a safer environment for every student.
I am proud of the work I have done in partnership with members of the LGBTQ community. I am proud to have received the endorsement of MassEquality in my current campaign for Governor, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with legislators, advocates, and members of the community on the challenges still facing LGBTQ individuals in Massachusetts.
1. Aggressively address the issues of poverty and economic deprivation by offering universal pre-K education, as well as dramatically enhancing workforce training and closing the skills gap to make our fellow citizens career-ready.
2. Within the context of creating between 75,000 and 100,000 jobs annually, I’ve set a goal of creating 50,000 new manufacturing jobs over the next five years mostly in our older, industrial cities by investing in our vocational-technical schools and our community colleges.
3. Revolutionize the delivery of health care services to reduce or eliminate health disparities, primarily by significantly increasing our investment in community hospitals and community health centers and by promoting wellness programs, which research shows can return $3.27 for every $1 invested.
I will NOT march.
Underfunding programs that provide HIV testing and counseling, contraception, and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, among other services, not only denies our most vulnerable residents the health care coverage, treatment, and counseling they desperately need, but it is also economically wrong. You judge a society by how it spends its resources. As governor, I will be deeply committed to ensuring that we spend the appropriate amount of funds on these services and programs.
Violence continues to plague too many families each year across the Commonwealth, including in the neighborhoods of Boston.
I applaud the Governor, the Speaker, and the Legislature for making our nation-leading gun laws even tougher by expanding background checks, increasing access to mental health services, and enhancing school safety. Here in Massachusetts, we know that tough gun laws save lives.
But as proud as I am about our gun safety statistics, I am not satisfied. Statistics do nothing to comfort the 254 grieving families still healing from the loss of a loved one killed by guns in Massachusetts during 2011, the most recent year for which we have statewide data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There is more work to be done to reduce the number of gun-related fatalities in Massachusetts.
I have made common-sense gun safety solutions a centerpiece of my policy platform. In addition to the new gun safety law, I’ve also urged lawmakers and the Attorney General to add three additional reforms: limit gun purchases to one a month, require gun manufacturers to use smart gun technology, and create an interstate regional task force to deal with the torrent of illegal guns crossing our borders.
I will strongly support increasing funding for domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and LGBT domestic violence services.
In addition, I will be an unwavering advocate to ensure that state government works collaboratively with all schools as well as colleges and universities – public and private – to ensure enhanced training, resources, and prevention programs for sexual assault. One in five women across the country report having been sexually assaulted in college. Led by Vice President Biden, the Obama administration has taken several executive actions to address this crisis, working with educators and school officials to implement new programs that effectively address the crisis of sexual violence and harassment. As governor, I look forward to forging new partnerships with educators and government officials to build on this progress.
Over the years I have been also involved in three organizations working to prevent domestic violence and provide victims with support services: RESPOND, Second Step, and Casa Myrna.
I was a long time member of the board of the Dimock Community Health Center and have also served as a member of the advisory board of the Fenway Community Health Center since the board was created.
I strongly support “An Act Providing Housing and Support Services to Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.” Homelessness disproportionally impacts LGBT youth, who face discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I will ask the Secretary of Health and Human Services to review the report recently issued by the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless, issue a list of recommendations for the new administration, and then seek support from the Legislature to ensure this critical work of the commission continues.
As we address the issue of homelessness impacting LGBT youth, we must also ensure we develop a long-term, permanent solution and dedicate the appropriate funds continue to provide the necessary housing facilities for those desperately in need.
Inscribed on the front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington are the words, “Equal Justice Under Law.” We have an obligation to make those words a reality for every citizen, family, and child in this Commonwealth. That fundamental principle of equal justice and equal opportunity will guide every decision I make as governor.
It’s morally wrong when we don’t provide adequate protections for students who live in fear each day. But furthermore, students who don’t feel safe can’t learn to the best of their ability.
I’m proud that Massachusetts recently updated its bullying law. As governor, I will also ask education officials under my direction to meet with teachers, students, principals, and school district officials to discover how we can best implement the law and ensure it’s applied effectively.
As governor, I would make the Secretary of Elder Affairs a full cabinet position reporting directly to the governor to ensure that I receive constant advice and guidance directly from the secretary. I would ask the secretary to work with members of the legislature and implement a curriculum that best serves the interest of all our senior citizens, including those in the LGBT community. Nobody should be denied the right to retire in dignity. We need a comprehensive approach that brings health care professionals, government officials, and non-profit organizations together to develop senior housing, transportation, legal services, and social events for LGBT older adults.
I also believe that empowering all our seniors to make independent choices that best fit their needs also requires expanding financial education and financial literacy. That’s why, working with the Legislature, I’m proud we created the Financial Literacy Trust Fund to provide our most vulnerable citizens with the knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions.
Recent studies from the 2012 LGBT Aging and Health Report have found that almost two thirds of LGBT seniors have been victimized at least three times, and more than one in five do not feel comfortable disclosing their sexual or gender identity to their doctor.
In addition to working collaboratively with physicians and insurance companies to correct these health disparities, we must provide seniors with greater access to transportation services by strengthening our regional transit authorities (RTAs) across the state and increasing the number of wellness programs and senior centers.
Yes, I support the legislation. I will serve as an unwavering advocate for citizens who identify as transgender to receive the rights they deserve. These are questions of human rights, fairness, and decency. To begin, I will stand up to misleading, offensive rhetoric from the far right that seeks to replace tolerance with division. That’s why I am proud to have been the only candidate to have publicly called out Charlie Baker at the recent LGBTQ forum at the Boston Public Library for having demeaned the transgender community by calling this proposal “the bathroom bill.”
I will work with my colleagues in the Legislature, many of whom I have relationships with that date back many years, to seek support for expanding protections in places of public accommodations, and urge the Joint Committee on the Judiciary to move “An Act Relative to Equal Access” favorably out of committee and bring it to a vote.
The 17 other states with transgender nondiscrimination laws offer protections for public accommodations, and Massachusetts should be no different. I was deeply disappointed that the public accommodations provision, a provision that I strongly and publicly supported throughout the process, was not included in the transgender rights legislation previously passed. We must be a Commonwealth that leads, not follows.
I will continue to strictly enforce Executive Orders 526 and 527, signed by Governor Patrick to provide employment non-discrimination protections for transgender state workers.
I will advocate vigorously for the Legislature to pass “An Act Relative to Equal Access,” and provide those in the transgender community with the equal justice they deserve. I’m proud that Massachusetts recently updated its bullying law. As governor, I will also ask education officials under my direction to meet with teachers, students, principals, and school district officials to discover how we can best implement the law and ensure it’s applied effectively.
I’m running for governor to build One Commonwealth that leaves no one behind. I believe the fundamental challenge we face today is rampant economic inequality. As governor, my top priority will be to level the playing field for many families and individuals struggling to keep their place in the middle class.
I also believe that the words carved on the front of the Supreme Court of the United States, “Equal Justice Under Law,” define the fundamental principle on which this Commonwealth and this country were built. Long before I was an elected official, I supported the fundamental values that continue to shape the fight for LGBTQ social justice, including the battle for marriage equality and transgender rights.
My wife Barbara and I have stood shoulder to shoulder with the LGBTQ community for the past 15 years. Barbara is often introduced at LGBTQ events as the first straight member of the MassEquality board. We provided significant initial funding through GLAD for the legal team that began the fight to overturn DOMA. I’m also proud to have served since its conception as a member of the advisory board of the Fenway Community Health Center.
As chairman of the DNC from 1997-1999, I re-established the DNC’s gay and lesbian caucus and hired the DNC’s first full-time director of gay and lesbian outreach. When I stepped down as DNC chair in 1999, I actively and successfully lobbied President Clinton to make my life-long friend and LGBT activist Andy Tobias Treasurer of the DNC, a position he still holds.
When I ran for governor in 2002, I strongly opposed a petition for a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Barbara and I also contributed financial support to legislative candidates who were deemed to be at risk because of their opposition to the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
In 2012, at the request of former MassEquality Executive Director Marc Solomon, I reached out to and secured the commitment of former chairs of the DNC to publicly support marriage equality in the 2012 Democratic Party platform.
Grossman Marketing Group has provided domestic partner benefits for many years. Last summer, the company served as one of the amici curiae in United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 12 (2013), arguing that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) “forces us to treat one class of our lawfully married employees differently than another, when our success depends upon the welfare and morale of all employees.”
Last year, I joined others in the investment community calling on large corporate sponsors of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia to speak out against laws in the country that discriminate against the LGBT community. As chairman of the Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM), I believe we can’t stand idly by when foreign governments seek to deny their citizens fundamental human freedoms.
I’m deeply proud that we have a diverse campaign staff, including LGBTQ volunteers and staff, as part of our team. I am particularly pleased to let you know that all LGBTQ members of the State House of Representatives and State Senate have endorsed my candidacy for governor.