A partial list of things we could do to help people *right now* for the cost of a sales tax holiday

With the Commonwealth suddenly finding itself flush with a multi-billion dollar surplus, Governor Charlie Baker has proposed a two-month sales tax holiday at an estimated cost of $900 million.

Needless to say, there are plenty of long-term investments that should be prioritized over a short-term gimmick like a sales tax holiday, and many have listed out the important educational or infrastructure investments that could be made by using either the $900 million Baker is proposing here, or a larger piece of the state’s surplus.

It’s also overwhelmingly clear from economic evidence that sales tax holidays don’t do anything to contribute to long-run economic growth, instead taking purchases that would have been made over a longer timeframe and condensing them into the window. Even conservative economists and advocacy groups like ALEC have panned these holidays, saying a far better idea for long-run support for businesses and taxpayers is to just permanently lower the tax rate, even by a little bit.

But I’m going to take at face value that the idea here is to create some sort of immediate benefit and relief for people in the wake of COVID-19 (rather than this being a mere publicity stunt that Baker or Polito can stick on a campaign ad next year or use as a cudgel against opponents, since sales tax holidays are the kind of thing that poll great even though just about any unbiased analysis shows is bad policy).

As immediate ‘COVID relief’ or ‘help for residents and businesses who just went through a tough time,’ this is also a lousy proposal. Sales of durable goods – things like electronics and furniture, for instance -are what spike the most during sales tax holidays; those kinds of products have hardly been impacted by the pandemic in any negative way.

Sales tax relief worth an average of $66 per month per Massachusetts resident isn’t nothing, but it’s also not much, compared to what could be done – especially considering the distribution of that $66 per month will be skewed toward people who make more expensive purchases more often. Bear in mind that food and clothing are already exempt from sales taxes in Massachusetts, and the largest cost-burden on struggling Massachusetts families – housing costs – are also not impacted by sales taxes.

Here is a partial list of things that could be done with $900 million that would provide more immediate, short-term value to Massachusetts residents than a sales tax gimmick. Bear in mind, many of these aren’t exactly optimal policy either (we should be using this money to make long-deferred investments in our future – striking while the iron is hot). But they’d all be better ideas than a sales tax holiday!

-Eliminating all user fees, parking fees, etc. from all Department of Conservation and Recreation parks and properties for the next 5 years, while also doubling its budget

Ever since the 2008 economic crisis, there has been a squeeze on the budget of environmental agencies like the Department of Conservation and Recreation. As such, there has been an increasing push for DCR to generate more revenue to cover its costs (even though public parks, beaches, pools, and recreation facilities are supposed to be public services and not businesses).

This is why you’ve seen entrance fees at state parks increase, parking meters pop up along DCR parks and beaches (hello Revere), and increasing fees for things like public skate rentals and other recreational programming predominantly used by working-class people in Massachusetts who don’t have access to their own private amenities.

For significantly less than the cost of a two-month sales tax gimmick, the state could double the DCR’s budget for the next 5 years (source) while also eliminating all user fees, parking fees, etc. at all of the state’s beaches and parks. Imagine the kinds of investments the state could make in making all of our public parks and beaches glistening, gleaming, modern facilities with a doubling of its budget – while also keeping them fully free and open to all.

-Make all MBTA fares and parking at MBTA stations free for the next year

The MBTA projected collecting a total of $693 million in fares and $44.5 million in parking revenue in FY20. This means that for the cost of a two-month sales tax holiday, we could make the MBTA entirely free to all users on all modes – bus, subway, or commuter rail – for the entire year, and then still have $170 million left over. We could also eliminate the cost of parking at all stations during that period of time.

With insane traffic congestion returning to Boston’s streets even before much of its white-collar workforce is back working in person, a one-year elimination of fares and parking costs would send a loud and clear message to commuters and those heading into the city for recreation that taking the T is the way to go- which would be great for the environment in addition to reducing congestion.

From an equity standpoint, the vast majority of the people who have continued to use the T all throughout the pandemic are the much-lionized essential workers – often low-wage workers who had to continue going in each day even through COVID’s peaks. Such workers have seen the cost of MBTA fares increase by 220-300% since 1994. A monthly bus pass costs $55 a month, so a year of free fares would mean savings of $660 for some of the poorest blue-collar commuters in the state.

-Make the entire UMass system completely tuition- and fee-free next year (and then some)

The entire UMass system collected $917 million in tuition in FY20 across all of its branches. This means that you could theoretically just neatly and cleanly offer a one-year tuition jubilee and be done with it – but realistically, you could probably do even better than that. The financial report doesn’t break down how much of this tuition revenue comes from out-of-state students, but it’s fair to assume it’s at least a good chunk, with 5,000+ out-of-state undergrads at UMass-Amherst alone paying higher tuition than in-state students.

All of this is to say, making tuition completely free across the entire UMass system for a full year for MA residents would almost certainly leave enough money to also do the same across all community colleges, too.

This would provide an immediate and significant boost to the educational aspirations of many working-class Massachusetts families while also providing the long-run benefit of reducing debt burdens on future UMass grads.

-Mail a $900 check to every Massachusetts household making under $70,000 per year

An estimated 1,072,970 households in Massachusetts – a little over 40% – make under $70,000 per year. This means you could send each of those households $838 for less than the cost of a tax holiday that would save them on average ~$132. This would provide immediate relief to people who work in service industries that saw the biggest impact on their bottom line during COVID.

-Send a $1,200 check to every Massachusetts household with children

There are an estimated 742,000 households with children in Massachusetts, meaning that with no income means-test at all we could send every single one of them $1,212 for the cost of the Governor’s sales tax holiday proposal.

If those checks were targeted to kids in poverty, we could send out over $4,000 per kid in poverty per 2016 data.

-Completely eliminate all fees at the RMV for an entire year

Annoying fees to renew your licenses and such at the RMV are a fact of life for everyone, with a special burden on low-income people (who also face even larger time and transportation obstacles toward being able to navigate the RMV in the first place).

The RMV collects an estimated $600+ million per year in license and registration fees. We could make them all free for an entire year – and still have $300 million to spare. Wouldn’t that be a load off so many families?

-Triple the amount spent on the emergency food program for the next 15 years

The amount of money spent on the state’s food bank program in the four years pre-COVID was about $17 million per year. We could set up a trust fund that ensures that this funding will be tripled every year for the next 15 years, working to ensure no family in Massachusetts goes to bed hungry, for less than the cost of a two-month tax holiday.

-Quadruple the Youth Summer Jobs budget for the next 15 years

Summer jobs for at-risk youth is one of the most proven strategies for reducing juvenile delinquency, keeping youth out of trouble, and putting them on a path to success. From 2016-19 around $11 million per year was budgeted for the youth summer jobs program.

We could set up a fund that ensures this budget will be quadrupled for the next 15 years instead of enacting a tax holiday.

-Double the earned income tax credit in Massachusetts for the next three years

Massachusetts budgeted $283.9 million toward the Earned Income Tax Credit program within the state, which allows MA taxpayers a refundable credit against MA tax equal to 30% of the amount of the federal EITC. We could spend the next three years DOUBLING what has been demonstrated to be an anti-poverty tool embraced across the political spectrum.

-Triple rental vouchers for the next three years

The Legislature recommended a $125 million budget for rental assistance vouchers in FY2021, thankfully increasing it from the Governor’s request for $113 million. These vouchers help the most at-risk elders and low-income families who are navigating the Massachusetts rental market, many of whom were the most impacted by COVID’s public health and economic impact. We could triple this program for the next three years, dramatically expanding the amount of help that can be given to those who might otherwise be on the brink of homelessness.

Quintuple funding for the Massachusetts Cultural council for the next 10 years

Some of the most devastated sectors of the economy during the COVID-19 crisis were areas like the arts, music, and tourism. Many who relied on live gigs and travelers to make a living had a rough go of it – not only hurting the economy, but hurting the state’s cultural vitality.

The Legislature appropriated $18 million to the Mass Cultural Council in FY2021, which is used to support community arts and cultural facilities, museums and festivals, family-friendly programming, and other similar pursuits.

A quintupling of the budget could help create jobs and promote vitality in arts, music, and culture, while supporting the revival of an industry heavily impacted by COVID-19.

-Eliminate all license fees paid by MA businesses for the next three years+

The Corporations Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office collects about $264 million per year in licenses and fees – such as the fees for initially incorporating in Massachusetts, annual renewal fees, and the like.

It costs $275 to file your articles of organization, $25 every time you appoint or change a registered agent, $12+ for certificates of your legal existence, and more. Then add in things like trademark and service mark registration fees. It starts to add up!

These could be completely eliminated for three years, reducing unnecessary hassle and burden on MA-operated businesses.

-Pay two years worth of rent for every homeless veteran in Massachusetts, then mail every veteran regardless of income a check worth $2,600

Massachusetts has an estimated 917 homeless veterans, supported by veterans shelters around the state. The cost of two years of rent an average cost of $1,600 per month would be $35.2 million to house every single homeless veteran in Massachusetts for two years. Then with the rest of the $865 million we would have spent on a sales tax gimmick we could mail a $2,600 “thank you” check to all 328,000 military veterans in Massachusetts (including the now newly-housed, to help them with additional living expenses).

If you look through the budget you’ll see many more valuable examples of what we could do with the money, but it would require leadership that isn’t short-sighted or in thrall to the most influential corporate lobbying groups on Beacon Hill. Let’s hope we see leadership get creative about how to utilize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in the Commonwealth. My hope with this exercise wasn’t to push any one of these particular ideas as the best one, but demonstrate that there’s really something for anyone across the ideological spectrum that would be more immediately beneficial to Massachusetts residents than a sales tax jubilee.

Enio Lopez and Marisol Santiago Endorse Joe Gravellese

Chelsea City Councilor Enio Lopez and School Committee Member Marisol Santiago Endorse Joe Gravellese for State Representative

Chelsea City Councilor Enio Lopez and Chelsea School Committee member Marisol Santiago announced their endorsements for Joe Gravellese this week in the 16th Suffolk District State Representative race (Revere, Chelsea, and Saugus).

Early voting is underway in the Democratic Primary, with Election Day coming up on September 1.

Gravellese had been previously backed by Chelsea School Committee member Roberto Jimenez Rivera, and was also unanimously endorsed by the Chelsea Ward 4 Democratic Committee. On the Revere side of the district, Gravellese has been backed by the Revere Democratic City Committee.

“Councilor Lopez embodies the attitude I take to public service – he shows up and he gets things done,” said Gravellese. “Councilor Lopez has worked tirelessly as an employee at the Chelsea Soldiers Home to support veterans; lifts up fellow members of the immigrant community; and has dug in to improve infrastructure like streets and sidewalks in Chelsea.”

“Marisol Santiago has long been a champion for working people in Chelsea, and fights every day for fair and equitable public education as a member of the School Committee,” he continued. “I am honored to have their backing and look forward to fighting alongside them on Beacon Hill.”Voters can learn more about Gravellese’s campaign at www.joegrav.com.

A Commitment to Transparency

Last week, my campaign was endorsed by Act on Massachusetts – an organization dedicated to increasing transparency in our historically secretive state government. They endorsed me in part because I am one of dozens of candidates around the state – but the only one in my race – to sign the State House Transparency Pledge.

The Transparency Pledge commits me to making all of my committee votes available to the public. Most important votes at the State House happen in committees. But these committee votes are not required to be made public – meaning voters don’t know how their legislator is voting, one way or the other, on key bills.

I’m committed to changing this by 1) posting all of my own votes publicly, and 2) pushing for rule changes to require everyone to do so.

The Pledge also commits me to standing for a public roll call vote on bills I co-sponsor. Legislators often sign on as “co-sponsors” to bills to show that they support them, but there are bills that more than half of the Legislature has signed on to that still never even get an up-or-down vote. The Transparency Pledge pushes to change this. 

It’s common practice to try to dodge difficult votes that may drum up opposition in your district. I think that if you really believe in something, you’ll make the case directly to your constituents about why it’s important, and accept the consequences of your vote one way or the other. 

I also support Act on Massachusetts’ push for rule changes that would require that the public and legislators be given more time to review bills before voting on them.

I worked as a staff member at the State House, and I saw up close the absurdity of the budget process. A massive budget amendment would be released that contains hundreds of funding items worth millions of dollars, and legislators would have just a few hours to review this before voting on it. This needs to change.

Act on Massachusetts is also pushing for term limits for key leadership positions. Right now, too much power is concentrated in too few hands. 

My commitment to transparency extends beyond the Pledge. I’ve committed myself to being up front with the voters about my intention to truly be a full-time representative. That means holding no other job while serving.

Legislators are allowed to hold other jobs, and most do. There’s no rule against it, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. But I didn’t get into this race for the salary, I got into it to make change – and that requires a lot of hard work and long hours.  

I would also resign from my volunteer post as the chairman of the City of Revere’s Scholarship Committee if elected. In that role, I have to vote on who is awarded scholarships by the City. It may create the appearance of a conflict of interest if I have to vote between a student who is in my voting district and one who isn’t. To prevent such a conflict, I will give up this position. Voters deserve clarity on these types of questions before they cast their vote.

Throughout this campaign, I’ve tried to be transparent with you about my priorities. I’ve hosted town hall events where I’ve spoken about issues, and opened the floor up for questions. I’ve publicly answered hard questions about where I stand on certain bills. I’ve filled out many questionnaires from endorser groups asking about my stances, so I’ve posted one publicly on my website for you to review.

If you vote for me, I can’t promise that we will agree 100% of the time, on every issue. I can promise that I will always be honest with you; I will always be willing to talk candidly with you; I will always hold myself to the highest standards of transparency; and I will always work tirelessly on behalf of the people of this district.

I worked at the State House. “The way things are” isn’t because the people who work there now are bad people. They’re not. They’re doing the best they can to make things better within a broken system. But all over Massachusetts, there are candidates running who want to change that system, who don’t accept “but we’ve always done it this way” as an answer. 

If you are looking for continuity with the way things have always been done, I am probably not your candidate. But if you’re looking for something different from business as usual, I hope to earn your vote on September 1. 

Protecting those who served: An agenda for Veterans Services

While there are many areas where Massachusetts has fallen short, one area where we remain a national leader is in providing services to veterans. There is always room for improvement, but the State Legislature has been effective in passing bipartisan legislation to continuously update veterans benefits.

If elected as the next State Representative in the 16th Suffolk District, I hope to continue this strong leadership on behalf of those who served in the military, and I have particular priorities for veterans services that I hope to focus on:

1. Addressing veteran homelessness: Like all vulnerable Massachusetts populations , veterans face pressures from displacement and rising housing costs. In 2019 there was a slight decrease in veteran homelessness, but there were still over 900 homeless veterans in the state. It’s fair to anticipate that this number may rise in 2020 amidst this economic crisis.

To address veteran homelessness, we need to support veteran-preference affordable housing projects that include on-site supports, similar to a project in Revere successfully pushed by Mayor Arrigo and Councilor Novoselsky. Veterans often require particular on-site services that address concerns like post-traumatic stress disorder, physical challenges, and other after-effects of serving.

We can create more of these projects through tax incentives and funding. We can also support state-level changes to zoning laws, and add teeth to affordable housing laws, that will help incentivize veteran-preference projects. We also need inclusionary zoning policies in our communities, to make sure that when new development takes place, space is set aside for affordable housing, especially for vulnerable populations like veterans. 

2. Educational access for veterans’ families: Senate Bill 2502, introduced by Senator Julian Cyr, would allow those benefiting from the Massachusetts National Guard educational credit tuition waiver to distribute these free credits to their children up to age 26, up to a total of 130 credit hours. This is a sensible policy change that would allow those who have served in the National Guard to use benefits they’ve already earned to support their families.

3. Soldier’s Home oversight: This summer, the Baker administration introduced a series of proposed reforms to governance of Soldier’s Homes following the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldier’s Home. But as this tragedy occurred under this administration’s watch, it’s crucial that the Legislature exact oversight as well. 

A special legislative task force chaired by Rep. Linda Dean Campbell is currently investigating the circumstances around the Soldier’s Home outbreak, and preparing its own proposals for reform. 

While the investigation is specifically focusing on the incident in Holyoke, the recommendations oversight panel will have implications for the state’s other Soldier’s Home, located in Chelsea. As such, the two members of the Chelsea House delegation next year – whoever those two may be, as both seats are currently contested – must urge inclusion for one of us to sit on this panel and be active participants in any proposed reforms to Soldier’s Home governance. 

4. Protecting benefits for veterans with PTSD, and veterans discharged for being LGBT: We need legislation similar to a bill passed in New York that would allow more veteran benefits to extend to veterans who received a less than honorable discharge who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury, or were discharged for being LGBT during the age of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Too many veterans have been denied recognition because they were dismissed for who they are. It will take federal action to correct these less than honorable discharges, which is unlikely under this administration – but at the state-level, we can do more to ensure access to benefits.

5. Protecting mental health care and substance abuse services: The veteran population will be particularly impacted by ongoing, much-needed efforts to ensure equity in coverage for mental and behavioral health services, as well as expanded access to evidence-based substance use treatment. 

In the Legislature, I will champion expanded access to these services, just as I did when working at Revere City Hall, when Revere emerged as a regional leader in substance use treatment. I’m proud that the Arrigo administration has prioritized increasing staffing and funding for public health programs and substance abuse treatment, and I look forward to taking this experience with me to the Legislature to benefit veterans and other populations in need of these services. 

*

Living up to our obligations to those who served in the military is one of the most important duties of government. The acceptable number of homeless veterans is zero. The acceptable amount of roadblocks to veterans receiving mental health and substance use treatment is zero. While we can be proud of what Massachusetts has accomplished so far, we still have more to do- and i look forward to pushing for more if elected on September 1.  

To Thwart Polluters, We Need Better Policies

The hazards of living near heavy polluters in our district – from Logan Airport to our south, to the Wheelabrator incinerator in Saugus, to the emissions from trucks and tailpipes that impact Chelsea each day – are usually invisible. We can’t immediately see the results, but they’re there – increasing rates of asthma, cancer, and COVID-19, in communities like Revere, Chelsea, and Saugus.

Sometimes, the invisible becomes visible. Last Sunday, when smoke billowed out of the Wheelabrator facility in Saugus, it was a visible reminder of the consequences of decades of failed environmental policies – and a clear example of the need for change. But just asking for change isn’t enough – we need to look at the big picture, and put in place the structures that will create change. 

The first step is making sure Massachusetts is putting appropriate resources into environmental enforcement. In July, the Boston Globe reported that enforcement actions and fines against polluters – such as landfills and gas facilities – dipped nearly 75% since 2006, as the number of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection employees fell off by nearly 25%.

When we don’t have the people in place to do air quality observations, safety inspections, and other needed checks, the result is going to be weaker enforcement. This is a bipartisan mistake, as every year our supermajority Democratic legislature continues to pass budgets that dedicate less than 1% of the state budget to environmental protection, despite warnings from public health and environmental groups about the critical need to invest in these programs. 

Beyond strengthening the Department of Environmental Protection, we also need to put in place stronger ethics laws that cut back on the revolving door of government regulators being heavily influenced by the companies and industries they are supposed to regulate. It doesn’t matter how well-staffed our environmental protection agencies are if they are staffed by people who are too cozy with polluters.

I am the only candidate in my race to have committed to not taking campaign contributions from fossil fuel lobbyists or executives. This should be a requirement of anyone serving in a leadership role on legislative committees like the Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture, or the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy.

When it comes to the Wheelabrator facility specifically, we need to look at  both short- and long-term steps to improve public health.

In the long-term, we need a state-level commitment to zero-waste policies that move us away from sending so much trash to landfills and incinerators. Ultimately, if trash is produced, it’s going somewhere – and right now, cities and towns are putting many items into the trash that we already know how to reuse or recycle, like food waste, yard trimmings, mattresses, and paper goods. Even just by offering up better recycling and reuse programs for the things we already know how to work with, we can cut municipal waste by over 50%. These steps are essential to preventing future expansion of landfills and incinerators, which we should be concerned about whether they be in our backyard or someone else’s.

In the short-term, the work of lobbying both the Saugus Board of Health and the MassDEP regarding Wheelabrator’s operations is important, though limited in likely effectiveness without broader policy shifts. We also need to look at immediate steps to provide public health relief, such as fighting to have the unlined, 140-acre landfill lined to prevent pollution from leaking into the nearby marsh; and putting in place – and enforcing – tougher guidelines on what comes out of the smoke stacks.

To be certain, none of this work will be quick or easy – whoever picks up the baton to continue the fight against pollution in vulnerable communities like ours will have to overcome decades of entrenched policy. But there are steps we can take to shift these policies, and move us toward a cleaner and more sustainable future. 

National Association of Social Workers MA-PACE Endorses Joe Gravellese for State Representative

The National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts Chapter – Political Action for Candidate Election (NASW MA PACE) has endorsed Joe Gravellese in his campaign for State Representative in the 16th Suffolk District (Revere, Chelsea, Saugus). 

“The National Association of Social Workers MA-PACE is proud to endorse Joe Gravellese in the 16th Suffolk district race,” said Allison Bodek, co-chair of NASW MA PACE. “Joe’s vision of economic and environmental justice, as well as equitable access to education, transportation, and health care for all are in line with NASW-MA’s mission. We are excited to endorse a candidate whose platform will not only support social workers, but also the clients and communities we serve.”

Joe Gravellese said of the endorsement, “The members of the National Association of Social Workers do critically important work, often with little recognition – from those supporting vulnerable students in schools, to those helping our neighbors struggling with addiction. But beyond the important work they do on the job, social workers also understand the importance of using their voice and their political action to lift up the most vulnerable people in our society. NASW MA works tirelessly to address inequities in education, housing, and economic opportunity. It is a true honor to have their endorsement, and I look forward to working alongside them in the Legislature to move Massachusetts forward.” 

For all the reasons we have cited above and more, the PACE committee is proud to endorse Joe Gravellese for State Representative in the 16th Suffolk District

The Primary Election will take place on Tuesday, September 1, 2020. Voters can find their polling location by visiting WhereDoIVoteMA.com. 

Progressive Massachusetts endorses Joe Gravellese for State Representative

Progressive Massachusetts – a statewide advocacy organization working to elect legislators who will bring more transparency to state government, and bring needed change to Beacon Hill to invest in education, transportation, the environment, and other key priorities – has endorsed Joe Gravellese for State Representative in the 16th Suffolk District (Revere, Chelsea, Saugus).

“With Massachusetts facing crises of growing inequality and accelerating climate change, we need elected officials who will fight for workers’ rights, accelerating our transition to clean energy, and investing in our collective future. Joe Gravellese is such a leader and is committed to fostering transparency and civic engagement to bring more people into the democratic process,” said Jonathan Cohn, political director for Progressive Massachusetts.

“Joe Gravellese is former legislative director and mayoral aide and has hands-on experience of crafting policy,” said the release from Progressive Massachusetts. “He’s running for office in order to fight for greater investment in public transit, solutions to our affordable housing crisis, and an accelerated transition to 100% renewable energy.”

“Progressive Massachusetts urges our state to live up to its highest ideals,” said Gravellese. “The members of Progressive Massachusetts share an important belief I hold, which is that our state, which has been a national leader on so many issues – from public education, to public libraries, to equal rights – must continue to set a positive example for the rest of the country.”

“I particularly appreciate their commitment to civic engagement and getting more people involved in the political process,” continued Gravellese. “At my campaign events, you’ll see union laborers, high school and college students, immigrants, new residents of the area, young professionals, and people who have lived in Revere for multiple generations. This is the kind of inclusive movement I am looking to work with to bring change.”

The Democratic primary election will be held on September 1.

Gravellese Commits to being Full Time State Representative if Elected

Being a State Representative isn’t about just showing up to vote – it is a full time position that gives you a platform to advocate for your community every day, and raise important issues. 

That’s why I’m taking the Full-Time Commitment Pledge. If elected, within 90 days, I will resign from my full-time job in higher education, and I will remove myself from the volunteer city board I serve on (the Revere Scholarship Committee) so I can dedicate myself to doing the job of State Representative, with no distractions and no conflicts of interest. The voters deserve to know that this job will have my full attention.

-Joe

Chelsea School Committee Member Roberto Jiménez Rivera Endorses Joe Gravellese for State Representative

Roberto Jiménez Rivera, who topped the ticket in his first run for Chelsea School Committee in 2019, has endorsed Joe Gravellese for State Representative in the 16th Suffolk District (Revere, Chelsea, and Saugus). The Democratic primary in that race will be held on September 1.

“Joe understands the systemic education and climate injustices that plague Chelsea and Revere,” said Jiménez Rivera  “He has built the community relationships that will enable him to advocate for us and reform the broken government systems that have led to our inequitable status quo.”

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of an emerging leader in Chelsea like Roberto,” said Gravellese. “Roberto has led the conversation around a safe reopening of schools, and has been a fierce and effective advocate for better investment in low-income students in communities like Chelsea.”

“Throughout this campaign, I’ve worked to ensure that the whole district knows they will have a champion in the Legislature if I am elected on September 1,” he continued. “I’m proud of the relationships I’ve built in Chelsea, from the unanimous endorsement of the Chelsea Ward 4 Democratic Committee, to the support of local leaders like Roberto. I look forward to continuing this work in the Legislature, because Chelsea needs strong partners at the state level as it recovers from COVID-19.”

350 MASS ACTION endorses Gravellese for State Representative 

350 Mass Action’s State Political Team, representing 350 Mass Action chapters from across the state, has unanimously endorsed Joseph Gravellese for State Representative for the Suffolk 16th  district, including parts of Revere, Saugus, and Chelsea.

350 Mass Action is a statewide network of volunteers dedicated to addressing climate and environmental challenges, by moving toward a just, healthy, and sustainable energy future. 

“While some state-level progress has been made around climate protection and environmental justice issues, there is much more to do,”  said 350 Mass Action Political Manager, Cabell Eames. “The health and prosperity of our cities and towns requires that Massachusetts prioritize these issues. We are happy to endorse Joe Gravellese because we expect him to be a climate champion in future Legislatures.” 

In their decision, 350 Mass Action stated that the endorsement was based on Mr. Gravellese’s background fighting for a safer environment, more aggressive action against dangerous climate change, and effective government action at both the local and state-wide level.  

“I’m honored to have the backing of all three environmental groups who have endorsed in this race,” said Gravellese, who was previously endorsed by the Sierra Club and by Sunrise Boston, two other prominent environmental advocacy organizations.

“These endorsements represent not only my background and experience working on these issues, but also the way I’ve run my campaign – with a commitment to fighting for more transparency at the State House, a pledge to refuse donations from fossil fuel executives, and detailed and honest conversations with voters about my priorities when it comes to environmental legislation.”

The Democratic primary election for State Representative will be held on September 1. 

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