What I'm About
I believe Congress and state legislatures should legislate in broad principles, not incremental details. Our executive branches will be more efficient and effective if they are given general requirements and given license to meet them in the best way. There is more agreement when we go to the system level: most everyone can agree on, for instance, the importance of having a well-funded and flexible public education system, so why did we spend 2016 arguing about 12 new charter schools a year rather than talking about how we fund charter schools to begin with, or even more importantly how we fund district schools to begin with?
Getting at the root of problems can also save money - for instance, it's much more cost effective (and better for the people involved) to have programs that assist families who are struggling to pay rent than to spend what would need to be a lot more money on housing people in homeless shelters.
System-level change means setting in place a foundational structure that works for everyone, and letting the system play out in a way that allows everyone to pursue their vision of what life should be.
I use the term "radical centrist" to describe my political identity. I dislike the two-party system and know it is the cause of many issues, from climate denialism to the election of President Trump, that would not exist if we had a nonpartisan system. I recognize that political ideologies cannot be simplified on a spectrum ("left" to "right"), nor do I think that either party has a cohesive philosophy that explains all its policy positions - the reasons many people who support gun rights also oppose transgender rights are purely historical, not rational. As such, I hold some positions traditionally associated with both major parties, and I focus on many things that neither party really talks about. Unlike moderates, who may have a weaker/more technical/more practical form of one of the parties' traditional platforms, centrists take the best from all ideologies and try to think as objectively and creatively as possible. Radical centrists do so with a focus on system change - bold steps rather than incremental steps.
Going along with system change, I have a particular passion for engaging fellow under-30-year-olds in politics and government. Most of my generation does not see government systems as an effective way to create change anymore, and so we have the lowest voter turnout among young people in the history of the U.S. and are wildly underrepresented in elected positions (20% of eligible voters in MA are 18-29; 5% of legislators are).
One of my goals is to mentor young people and encourage and support more young candidates for office. I do so through communications training, visits to classrooms from elementary school through college, the annual CivicsFest I host with the Amherst League of Women Voters, and workshops for young candidates.
For more info on this, read my April 2017 guest column in the Amherst Bulletin.
I am honored to have served as the State Representative from the 3rd Hampshire District, comprised of Amherst, Pelham, and precinct 1 of Granby. At 24 years old, I am the youngest current member of the MA legislature, which gives me a unique perspective and passion for bold legislation. In addition to advocating for my district as all Reps do, I see my unique role in the House as a member to push for systemic change, always trying to get bigger picture bills on the agenda.
Growing up in Amherst, I attended Fort River elementary school, ARMS, and ARHS. I attended services at the Jewish Community of Amherst and became a full member of the Amherst School Committee while in twelfth grade. At a young age, I learned from these communities that it is our duty to find the most impactful ways we can improve the lives of others, and carry them out.
A graduate of Brown University, I hold degrees in Engineering and Public Policy. As an undergraduate, I founded and led the Energize Rhode Island Coalition, a statewide carbon pricing campaign. I also gained valuable government experience serving as an intern at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, as well as in the offices and on the campaigns of several U.S. Senators.
As a State Representative, I serve on the Joint Committees of Higher Education; Housing; and Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. I also serve on the House Committee on Personnel and Administration.
A Declaration of Independents
As growing partisanship threatens to deepen the divides in our country, we join together as political independents to declare five common principles that we believe can unite a new movement to repair our politics and restore the American dream for future generations.
First, we put the public interest ahead of any partisan or special interest.
Government should represent “We, the people” -- not the party leaders or those who can buy access to power. As independents, we believe good governance is about rising above petty partisanship and putting the people first.
Second, we use common sense and find common ground to solve problems.
We reject today’s zero sum politics and desire to work together with Democrats and Republicans in an inclusive and civil manner to get things done. As independents, we think for ourselves, understand different perspectives, follow the facts, identify root causes, offer new ideas, and make logical decisions.
Third, we stand for the timeless values of opportunity, equality, and stewardship.
We want to empower every American to realize their full potential, uphold equal rights for all under the law, and ultimately leave a stronger country for the next generation. As independents, we believe in both fiscal and environmental responsibility.
Fourth, we champion competition, transparency, and accountability in politics.
We seek to rebuild Americans’ trust in government by holding ourselves to the highest standards of honor and honesty and by fixing the broken incentives that contribute to political dysfunction. As independents, we support reforms to ensure our political process truly represents the people -- including the way we draw district lines, fund campaigns, and run elections.
Fifth, we believe in the shared responsibility of civic engagement.
As Americans, we understand it is our civic duty to be informed and engaged on important issues. As independents, we encourage increased citizen participation in our political process and in service to our country.
Objectivity - Structure policy to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people; use research, science, and data
Fiscal Responsibility - Make wise investments in public goods and services that are useful to society and/or save more money in the long-term
Care for Future Generations - Support education, economic opportunities, conservation, and other policies to leave our children a better world
Bold Actions - Spend political capital to legislate improvements to whole systems, rather than using the same effort to create incremental change
A small set of specific MA state-level policies that I support include:
Single-payer health insurance
Lowering the sales tax
Increasing the income tax
Eliminating property taxes
Solar, offshore wind, and nuclear power
Bans on conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ youth
Larger investment in public education
Fixing the Ch 70 Foundation Budget school formula
Having charter schools
Shifting charter funding to state rather than districts
Requiring civics education
Automatic and same-day voter registration
Lowering the voting age
Programs to prevent homelessness
Public funding for homeless shelters
Integrating mental health care into general health for all
Protecting access to contraception
Eliminating most mandatory minimums
Easier expungement of youth criminal records
Investments to develop revolutionary clean energy technologies such as new batteries