Lesley's Top Issues
Single Payer Healthcare
Lesley will work to establish Single Payer Health Care (Medicare for All) in Massachusetts. With attacks on the Affordable Care Act by the current federal administration, Massachusetts is uniquely poised to become a model of this increased level of health care reform.
Lesley will work to protect individual freedoms, including blocking the attempt to reverse civil rights protections for Transgender individuals; abolition of ICE.
Lesley will work to address growing income inequality in Massachusetts with numerous reforms, including legislative revisiting of the judicially rejected Fair Share Amendment (the "Millionaires' Tax"); accelerating and expanding the $15/hour minimum wage recently subsumed into the so-called "Grand Bargain"; meaningful student debt relief for all students and their families; free quality 4-year college education; meaningful affordable housing and tenant protection; reform of the state's condominium law; judicial supervision of all foreclosures.
Lesley's Other Issues:
Tuition Free College
Tuition-free college, providing an education experience comparable to that obtainable at private universities, must be a right for all Massachusetts residents. Meaningful student debt relief for all past and present students and their families is equally mandatory. The increasingly common practice of requiring parents to co-sign their children's educational loans is now creating two generation of disadvantaged debtors for many college loans, and it is a practice that must be stopped.
Despite all of the evidence that irreversible climate change is already happening and will accelerate if our fossil fuel dependence is not quickly turned around, too many climate deniers still have too loud a voice.
Our prison system preys on, and all too often profiteers from, the misfortunes of the criminally accused. Racial profiling is all too common, to the extent that “BBAD” (“Being Black/Brown After Dark”) is joked about by prosecutors and defenders both as one of the most frequent causes for arrest. Extreme – even life – sentences are too often the result of the most minor of crimes when a mandatory minimum is triggered. And we imprison more of our citizens than almost any other industrialized nation. All this must be corrected.
As a lesbian and as a transgender woman, Lesley feels very strongly about this issue. She believes we are facing a dangerous threat in Massachusetts that the Transgender Equal Protection in Public Accommodations legislation, passed only two years ago after an almost decade-long struggle, may be overturned by a hateful and hate-filled ballot question this November. Should that unthinkable result occur, Lesley would immediately sponsor and insist on immediate passage by the legislature of these rights, and likewise introduce the necessary constitutional amendment(s) to ensure that, at least in Massachusetts, rights once granted will never again be so threatened.
Citizens United/Money in Politics
The Citizens United decision must be overturned by any means necessary, whether legislative, judicial or constitutional. Lesley Phillips supports the proposed Constitutional Amendment to reverse the effects of the Citizens United decision. Money has taken too much control of politics. Campaign spending should be severely limited. Public financing of all political campaigns would be the ultimate solution. Massachusetts already has some of the most stringent campaign finance laws in the nation, and these can be further strengthened, in particular in the elimination of so-called Super PAC's. Massachusetts already has some of the most stringent campaign finance laws in the nation, and these can be further strengthened, in particular in the elimination of so-called Super PAC's.
Ranked Choice Voting
A carefully drafted Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system would be a asset to reflecting the will of voters in all elections, but especially so in party primaries where candidates' positions on many issues tend to be similar. A form of RCV, known as Proportional Representation, has had a long history of successful use in Cambridge municipal elections, and has been used elsewhere in the state; there is no reason why RCV can not be successfully used for our state elections.
While Massachusetts voting districts on the whole are fairer than most, the long connection of Massachusetts with gerrymandering easily creates suspicion and cynicism whenever districts simply "look" wrong, even if drawn so with the best intentions. The fact that, for example, 5 of our current 9 Congressional Districts all touch within 10 miles of the Boston Common surely reinforces such suspicions. So long as the legislature is in complete control of the redistricting process, there will be suspicions. Putting the creation of redistricting plans in the hands of an independent redistricting commission, as has successfully been done in many other states, can only increase the confidence of the citizens in the resultant plans.
Jobs for Youth
The divide between the rich and the poor is getting wider by the year, and starts when disadvantaged youth are unable to obtain first jobs that lead to meaningful career. Programs that will fund effective youth jobs programs are a must.
While not an issue that can effectively be addressed at the state legislative level, Lesley fully agrees that Social Security must be protected and would use the "bully pulpit" of her legislative seat to advocate for this principal.
Deficiencies in our infrastructure, especially as they pertain to health issues and public transportation, are another contributing cause to the income and wealth inequality that is tearing our society apart.
It is one of the sad failures of our legislative process that the Clean Elections Law was never allowed a fair trial, and that the legislature managed quickly to first ignore and then overturn the will of the voters on this issue. The idea of public-financed campaigns should be revisited, and given the fair trial that it never had.
We are a nation that has grown strong because of its historic welcome to immigrants. We need to return to that founding principal. Nationally, we need a fair and humane immigration policy. Locally, the Safe Communities Act is a first step in this direction we need to go. ICE must be either radically reformed or else abolished. And the practice of federalizing national guard troops to “protect” our borders, as was recently attempted in Massachusetts, must be stopped. Separation of children from their parents or care-givers is simply unconscionable.
Too Big to Fail
The influence and power of unregulated and unregulatable mega-financial institutions hurts our economy on both the macro- and micro-economic levels. Banks that are big enough tell the government what to do - and who, as in the aftermath of the financial crisis of the late 2000's, took government bailouts ("TARP" funds) and never repaid them are the very essence of anti-democratic values. On the micro-economic level, unregulated mortgage foreclosures in Massachusetts are at an all-time high. One immediate remedy Lesley would support is judicial supervision of all residential mortgage foreclosures in Massachusetts, a practice that has long been routine in other "title theory" jurisdictions.
Lesley opposes trade agreements such as TPP, NAFTA and the like in part because of their repeated failure of provisions intended to enforce environmental standards and worker rights, as well as their obvious damage to communities from which jobs are removed.