While I was completing my Masters in Social Work at Hunter College in New York, I had the opportunity to help lead a national campaign called Mothers In Prison, Children in Crisis, which called attention to the mass incarceration of women—especially poor women and women of color—and the impact on their children.

In Massachusetts crime rates have declined every year for the last six years, and with them, overall rates of incarceration. Yet there’s much more to this story.

And it begins with focusing first on continued disproportionate rates of incarceration in communities of color.

While roughly 6.6% of the state’s population is Black, approximately 28.3% are incarcerated. And while roughly 10.6% of the state’s population is Latino, the incarceration rate for Latinos is approximately 26%.

We must also end the practice of incarcerating people struggling with addiction or mental illness, overhaul our bail system, end the practice of solitary confinement, and more.

Please take a moment to look at the criminal justice reform bills I have co-sponsored this session, which appear below.

Co-sponsored bills

  • S.826: An Act to reduce mass incarceration
  • S.894: An Act improving the accuracy of eyewitness identification procedures
  • S.897: An Act to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences related to drug offenses
  • S.905: An Act to collect data on LGBTQI prisoners held in restrictive housing
  • S.937: An Act relative to treatment, not imprisonment
  • S.983: An Act prohibiting discrimination against adults with disabilities in family and juvenile court proceedings
  • S.1145: An Act ensuring access to addiction services
  • H.1368: An Act relative to enforcing federal law
  • S.1374: An Act relative to access to community corrections
  • S.1379: An Act to strengthen inmate visitation
  • S.1388: An Act relative to crime gun data reporting and analysis
  • S.1430: An Act relative to inmate telephone call rates
  • S.1453: An Act to ensure compliance with the anti-shackling law for pregnant incarcerated women
  • H.1532: An Act relative to the repeal or reform of certain unenforceable or unconstitutional archaic laws
  • H.1551: An Act to track the implementation of the Brangan ruling
  • H.3493: An Act prohibiting the participation of healthcare professionals in the torture and abuse of prisoners

An informed and engaged electorate. Transparency and accountability within public institutions. Ridding our elections of corrosive big money and reigning in corporations. Preventing public officials from engaging in sexual harassment or assault.

These are some of the necessary building blocks of a healthy democracy.

Our democracy works best when everyone can participate. Please take a moment to look at the democracy & transparency bills I have filed and co-sponsored this session, which appear in the tabs below.

Filed bills

Filed bills

Co-sponsored bills

Co-sponsored bills

  • S.12: Proposal for a legislative amendment to the Constitution relative to voting rights
  • S.383: An Act restoring financial transparency in presidential elections
  • S.389: An Act ensuring municipal participation of the widest eligible range
  • S.396: An Act relative to election day registration
  • S.404: An Act promoting political participation
  • S.406: An Act promoting access to democracy in Massachusetts
  • S.408: An Act supporting parents running for public office
  • S.414: An Act to use of ranked choice voting in elections
  • S.418: An Act to limit political spending by foreign-influenced corporations
  • S.419: An Act to promote good democracy in primary elections
  • S.420: An Act providing a local option for ranked choice voting in municipal elections
  • S.953: An Act enhancing data transparency within the prosecutorial system
  • H.1532: An Act relative to the repeal or reform of certain unenforceable or unconstitutional archaic laws
  • S.2163: Resolutions for a United States Constitutional Amendment and a limited amendment proposing convention
  • H.2745: An Act identifying corporate irresponsibility
  • H.3196: An Act providing for timely reimbursement of cities and towns for veterans’ benefits

Accessibility in its fullest sense is the right to be seen and not be forced to live on the margins of our communities.

We must challenge and help transform the stigmatization faced by people living with disabilities. Disability rights advocates speak passionately about the waves of suspicion, blame, and judgment they face on a daily basis. The Massachusetts State Senate must be a watchdog for this insidious reality, making sure that state policy not only does nothing to perpetuate it, but helps alleviate it.

Attached to the stigma is the pervasive challenge regarding expectations. That’s why the Legislature must lift the horizon on expectations for what people living with disabilities want, need, and can achieve so that government is not adversely limiting what’s achievable.

We must also recognize the broad continuum of people living with disabilities and ensure that policy reflects government’s nuanced responsibility across abilities—from physical to developmental to emotional to cognitive.

And, we need to proactively create legislation that makes it easier for people living with disabilities to be present and to engage deeply. Joannah Whitney, a disability rights advocate living in Greenfield told me, “We’re building a world that makes it harder for people with disabilities to be present.” This heightens the risk of isolation.

Bottom line, we have to focus across issues—education, housing, employment, public transportation, infrastructure, and health care—that robustly breaks down barriers to full engagement and provides the resources needed to fulfill the mission of associated programs and initiatives. And this focus must not be an afterthought, we have to lead with it as central.

Please take a look below at the disability rights-related bills I co-sponsored this session.


Co-sponsored bills

  • S.36: An Act to lift kids out of deep poverty
  • S.50: An Act relative to personal care attendant services
  • S.53: An Act updating terminology and investigative practices related to the protection of persons with disabilities
  • S.58: An Act relative to economic mobility for families with low-income
  • S.61: An Act relative to persons with developmental disabilities
  • S.305: An Act ensuring language readiness in deaf and hard-of-hearing children entering kindergarten
  • S.756: An Act creating higher education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities, autism, and other developmental disabilities
  • H.908: An Act requiring mental health parity for disability policies
  • S.983: An Act prohibiting discrimination against adults with disabilities in family and juvenile court proceedings
  • S.984: An Act to prevent and respond to bullying of elderly and disabled residents
  • S.1441: An Act relative to the architectural access board
  • S.1531: An Act relative to disability pensions for violent crimes
  • S.1643: An Act relative to tax abatements for deaf residents

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