"It's time for a Rural Revitalization. In the wake of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus, now more than ever, this region needs an innovative strategic plan to move forward. And that's exactly what I'm proposing. My Rural Revitalization Plan focuses on three fundamental pillars: education, economic development, and infrastructure. This isn't a plan for just Democrats or just Republicans; this is a plan for everyone. A plan for the 2nd Franklin District. As the only leader offering a clear vision for our future, join me as we rebuild our community and restore our future."
LIST OF ISSUES
When I was a student at Athol High School, a quote scrawled on the walls of the main corridor greeted me every day: "Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those people who prepare for it today." In our rural region, the value of a quality education is more important than ever. With enrollment declining by 14% from 2008 to 2017, compared to 2.7% across the rest of the state (RPP, 2019) and skyrocketing transportation costs for schools, there are several areas within our education system that we must address in the short term. Whether working to secure sustained educational funding for our region, fighting and advocating for our local teachers, or analyzing new ways to collaborate across our school systems, I will make rural education a top priority in my first term.
In the wake of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, creative economic development strategies in our region will be critical. Whether passing legislation like the Rural Jobs Act to attract investment and businesses to our district, advocating for the establishment of an Office of Rural Policy, or tailoring models like the Transformative Development Initiatives for our rural regions, we need legislators focused on jump-starting the economy. Whether a small business owner in Belchertown or a farmer in Athol, you can trust I will be the voice in Boston fighting for our rural economy.
In the 2nd Franklin, some of our most significant issues stem from our aging and inadequate infrastructure. From battered rural roads and bridges to lack of consistent public transportation, many of these problems have a severe impact on business and economic development. In my first term, my priority will be to tackle this head-on, starting with expanding broadband and cell service to the remaining "unserved" communities of the Last Mile Program. Additionally, I will address ways to increase funding for our Regional Transportation Authorities to expand access, frequency, and convenience of service to all. Finally, I will advocate for sustainable cross-district partnerships to offer reliable and adaptive alternatives to public transportation.