As an educator, Colin understands how important it is that we prepare future generations to be successful in an ever-changing world. Massachusetts is consistently ranked as one of the best places in the country to receive an education. We have the best primary and secondary schools as well as the best colleges and universities in the nation. However, we are not currently doing enough to prepare students for an uncertain future. With technology and automation projected to eliminate many jobs (LA Times), we need to make sure we teach students the critical thinking skills that will allow them to succeed in a 21st century economy. Colin’s experience in both public and private school environments has prepared him to tackle these issues head on. Visit this site in the coming months to see more of his ideas on how we can best prepare the students of Massachusetts to be successful in a more automated world.
Our criminal justice system is currently based on the idea of retribution. We seek to punish those who have committed crimes instead of dealing with the root issues that put people into positions where they make bad decisions. A better approach, one that would both reduce recidivism and overall spending, would be to overhaul the criminal justice system to focus on rehabilitation and reintegration into the community. This will require both short and long term changes to the way we think about justice and to how we think about spending money to address the problem. According to the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, “Massachusetts spends approximately $50,000 per year to house each inmate, and, on average, inmates serve a term of roughly one year.” That’s about 2.5 years of in-state tuition and fees at UMass Amherst. Many inmates serve time due to the mandatory minimums that exist for nonviolent drug crimes. Eliminating mandatory minimums and focusing instead on getting these individuals treatment would actually save the Commonwealth money. Over the coming months, Colin will post more ideas on how reforming the criminal justice system won’t just be good for society by reducing crime, but will save the taxpayers money in the long run.
Massachusetts is great place to live, but life here is expensive. According to CNBC, Massachusetts has the fourth highest cost of living in the United States. In addition to high housing costs, we pay substantial state and local taxes. We get the nickname Taxachusetts for a reason. We do a lot of things right here, but Massachusetts is not currently a place that allows everyone to prosper. We need to stop spending big and start spending smart. We need leaders on Beacon Hill who won’t just throw money at symptoms, but look to fight the disease. The cost of life is going up, but we are getting less and less. Your taxes used to pay to fix the potholes on your streets, but now you pay your mechanic to fix your wheels when you hit them. Your taxes used to pay for your kids to play sports, but now you are stuck paying additional fees. Being more intelligent with our spending will not only help to tackle our biggest issues smartly, but will lessen the stress to your checkbooks. Check back in the coming months to see how we can reduce our spending on the expensive stuff and start spending money on the effective stuff.
Colin is running as a Democrat because the Democratic Party supports all types of people. However, he fundamentally rejects the notion that one party has a monopoly on the best ideas or that a legislator must always toe the party line. It is politicians like that that have made Beacon Hill and Washington so toxic. At the end of the day, we need leaders who will put the interests of the people of Massachusetts over those of their party. Colin promises to support issues and ideas that will best help the people of the district regardless of whether they are Republican ideas, Democratic ideas, or nonpartisan ideas. Here are just a few of the ideas Colin believes would help to put the interests of the citizens of Massachusetts first.
Gerrymandering should not be a partisan issue. Quite simply the way we draw the lines for our political races in Massachusetts is unrepresentative of the people of the Commonwealth. The districts that exist for State Representative, State Senate, and US House of Representatives should be based on regional commonalities and not on ensuring that the party in the majority gets the most seats possible. If elected, Colin will push his Democratic colleagues to create a nonpartisan process for drawing our political boundaries to give people better representation on Beacon Hill and in Washington.
Money in Politics
In 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that, “Political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment.” This landmark decision opened up the floodgates for unlimited spending in political campaigns and it made it legal for corporations and unions to participate in the political process. Massachusetts needs to do more to level the playing field so those that have nearly unlimited sums of money don’t have an undue influence in our political process. Limiting the way corporations participate in the political process would be a good start. State Representative Chris Walsh introduced a bill in the 189th General Court (Bill H.616) that would force corporations to get approval from stockholders before spending money on political activities. Ideas like these will start to level the playing field so all voices can be heard in the political process.
According to legislative transparency organization Open States, Massachusetts is one of four states that received an “F” on an open legislative data report card. The State Legislature currently makes it incredibly difficult to find out information about how your State Representative or State Senator votes on specific issues. State Government needs to be more open and transparent about its business, full stop. If elected, Colin will work to ensure it is much easier for you to understand what your representatives are doing on a daily basis. He will also pledge to make every vote he takes public.
Massachusetts, like much of the country, is in the midst of a substance abuse crisis. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in 2012, 742 Massachusetts residents died due to opioid related overdose deaths. In 2016, that number rose to 1,990. To truly address this epidemic, we need to ensure that we treat it as a public health issue and not as a criminal issue. Instead of jailing nonviolent individuals, we should be working with communities to get people treatment. We also need to review the standards that doctors have in place to prescribe people the pain medication that gets them hooked in the first place. Doing so isn’t just the right thing to do, but in the long run it will save us money as well.