Our criminal justice system is designed to punish, not to rehabilitate or improve public safety. People of color, people from low-income backgrounds, and people with behavioral health conditions are forgotten by public policy. As a result, they end up swept into a punitive and violent system that only serves to prevent their success and interrupt public safety. Catia seeks to reduce mass incarceration while promoting a vision of freedom from poverty, disease, and homelessness as public safety.
The Boston area is the second most expensive housing market in the country after San Francisco. Somerville is one of the most densely populated cities in the area. Affordability is a crisis that affects people across the income spectrum. Housing ought to be considered a human right. Somerville cannot solve this problem alone; it takes a regional approach to address housing prices.
Massachusetts is a national leader in health care coverage, but there is still more to do. Care fails to prioritize prevention over treatment of serious conditions, especially in behavioral health. Our system is too complex for the average person to navigate, and care suffers as a result. Catia will push to expand access and affordability of high-quality behavioral and physical health care for all Massachusetts residents.
A thriving and equitable economy requires the infrastructure to support workers. Our current system fails to do this. More reliable, safe, and equitable transportation options will not only improve commutes and expand economic investment in our area, but can also help us to reach our climate goals.
Human-caused climate change is a global catastrophe. As time goes on, we are left with fewer and fewer options for addressing our contribution to permanent disruptions in ecosystems. We must work to mitigate our impact going forward, remediate pollution from the past, and develop approaches to improve the equity and resilience of our communities to the change we cannot address.
Massachusetts in general and Somerville in particular has one of the best-educated populations in the country. But the number of masters degrees among residents hides educational and workforce inequities. We need an economy and school system that can ensure that all residents have the opportunities they need to succeed.
Government programs are critical to a well-functioning society. But we don't often set goals for those programs, monitor our success at achieving those goals, and publish successes and failures in an accountable way. Catia has spent her career bringing data and social science to bear to establish systems for performance and accountability, and plans to bring these ideas to the State House.
The City of Somerville is a state (and, frankly, national) leader in promoting good government and accountability through the SomerStat program. Catia seeks to promote a similar outcomes-oriented approach at the state house, building upon her work developing systems to monitor performance of social services through pay for success contracts while working at the Executive Office for Administration and Finance for the state.
Government services can be vital in providing equity of opportunity, supporting our most vulnerable residents, and regulating potential harm that may come to one member of society to the benefit of another member. Tax revenue is needed for these important roles, but ought to be collected not only in a way that does no harm to any one segment of society, but that also fosters the same values of equity, access, and fairness.
Our tax system in Massachusetts currently fails to live up to these values. If you add up all types of taxes for each category - sales, income, payroll, etc. - you find that low income residents of Massachusetts pay far more than their fair share compared to the highest earners. Catia worked on a plan under Governor Patrick to increase tax fairness. From that role, she knows about the loopholes and tax credits that disproportionately benefit high earners, and how making up for those lost revenues through high sales taxes disproportionately hurts our most vulnerable residents.
Catia is in favor of improving tax fairness so that the way the state raises revenues follows the same moral principles that Catia espouses in how it spends those dollars: equity and justice for all.