Jen is opposed to the adoption of the Common Core standards. Massachusetts Public Schools are the best in the country, and Massachusetts education standards should not be changed. Instead, our schools need more funding and support. As a college graduate and daughter of a teacher, Jen understands the importance of education and will fight for our teachers and public schools. Jen previously served as a mentor at Girls Inc., providing after school programs to encourage and empower young women. If elected, Jen will prioritize the expansion of early childhood education, including universal free kindergarten and pre-K. Furthermore, Jen will work to secure funding for new facilities at Saugus High School and Wakefield High School as well as increased state funding for extracurricular programs.
Jen believes that we should be doing everything possible to alleviate the heavy congestion on Route 1 and Route 1A. It is unacceptable that funding for the Copeland Circle project was not distributed this year, providing no relief to the issues on Route 1. In addition to securing the Copeland Circle funding, investing in alternate modes of transportation, especially the Lynn ferry, would be extremely beneficial to the surrounding communities. The ferry is vital for economic development in the North Shore, ensuring that those wishing to invest in Lynn and the Seaport District have easy, accessible means of transportation. Economic development is inextricably tied to the continued operations of the ferry. Additionally, more funding is needed in order to update the water and sewage infrastructure of the 9th Essex District.
Massachusetts-and our community in particular-is facing a serious public health problem with the massive wave of opioid overdoses. Lynn and Saugus have the 3rd and 12th highest respective per capita opioid usage rates in the state. Through door knocking, Jen has has heard from families in the district whose loved ones are suffering from addiction. She will fight for the funding to create and expand public health programs that support those ready to seek treatment. She is a proponent of the adoption of Gloucester’s ANGEL program, which has seen great success. This program matches participants with a volunteer mentor and connects them to a quality drug treatment program. Jen is proud of our local police departments and supportive of their efforts to use these programs to remain transparent and in dialogue with the communities they serve.
The recent regulation requiring restaurants to responsibly dispose of grease is essential to the health and safety of the 9th Essex District and to our revitalization efforts. This regulation is designed to limit expensive and environmentally harmful sewer damage that results from the improper disposal of fats, oil and grease. As a lifelong environmentalist, this is one of the policy issues Jen cares deeply about. Jen also supports efforts to provide more funding to our parks and playgrounds to ensure they are safe and clean places for our community to enjoy. Jen proudly supports the recent city council decision to pass legislation protecting and conserving the Lynn Woods Reservation. Furthermore, Jen believes that the completion of the Rail Trail project in Wakefield is of critical importance. The conversion of 4.4 miles of old railroad tracks into a paved recreational trail would serve as a much needed resource to the community.
Jen is adamantly opposed to the Wheelabrator proposed landfill expansion. Wheelabrator, a recycling service in Saugus located near the Salem Turnpike, should not be able to put the surrounding environment at risk for its own benefit. Nowhere else in the area is there an unlined landfill, within which lies a 90-foot-high mountain of ash laden with chromium, lead, and mercury. Under a consent order from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), this landfill should have closed in 1996. Since then, the consent order has been extended nine times. As a state representative, Jen wil fight so that Saugus has the same protections as every other community in Massachusetts.
Jen knows working class people are the lifeblood of this district. Her father is a member of Plumbers Union Local 12 and a current public school teacher, while her mother is a nursing aide. She understands what it’s like to grow up in a working class household. Jen will support unions and the rights of workers and has received the endorsements of dozens of local unions. Bringing good jobs to the 9th Essex District will benefit the entire community and continue to make it one of the best places to live in Massachusetts.
Workers deserve paid family and medical leave. Nobody should have to choose between taking care of a loved one and putting food on the table for their family. This is why Jen supports the recently-passed Massachusetts bill, H1718, which will help protect those who are forced to leave work for family or medical emergencies.
Jen believes the middle class needs a break, which is why she supports the Millionaires' Tax. The tax change would add an additional four percent tax on income over one million dollars, providing important revenue that could be used towards education and transportation. This funding would lead to more opportunity to all of the district's residents, building bridges between classes and ensuring the possibility of social mobility.
Jen supports the equal treatment of all people regardless of race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age and national origin. Jen will fight hard for a fair minimum wage, equal pay and anti-discrimination protections in the 9th Essex District and beyond.
Jen wants businesses to thrive. She plans to support local businesses by collaborating with the Chamber of Commerce to secure much needed aid from the state. She wants to make it easier for growing businesses to expand and for new, developing businesses to establish themselves, especially in the Wakefield Square, Cliftondale Square and Wyoma Square areas. This will encourage start-ups and small businesses to choose our community, which will lead to job growth and economic development. Jen will also foster a collaborative and cooperative community by supporting forums for business owners and workers to discuss their needs and to present ideas for better business in the towns of Saugus, Lynn and Wakefield. Finally, Jen wants to make sure we are supporting the revitalization of Lynn by taking advantage of its close proximity to Boston.
Veterans make up approximately seven percent of the population of the 9th Essex District, and Jen is committed to ensuring vets are properly represented by their elected officials. As a District Representative for Congressman Seth Moulton, Jen frequently assisted with veterans' casework. She has ample experience working alongside local Veterans Affairs offices and the VSO to provide veterans with the assistance and benefits they need.