Massachusetts is the third most expensive state to call home. To afford the average one-bedroom apartment, a person needs to earn $27.41 per hour – more than double our current minimum wage. The First Essex District is no exception. Our cost-of-living has risen out of reach of many young people, service and care workers, and seniors – the people enhancing our communities, caring for those in need, and keeping our local economies running.
In recognition that housing is a basic human right, Amber will advocate for:
Changing zoning laws to help advance affordable housing development and smart growth
Ensuring seniors can afford to stay in their communities
Increasing and reimagining our investment in public housing
Making a real commitment to programs designed to help prevent homelessness
EFFICIENT AND RELIABLE TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS
After decades of incremental action, our transit infrastructure is at a point of crisis. Overhauling our transit network can unleash immense environmental, public health, safety, and economic benefits. It can bring opportunity within reach, give hours back to commuters, contribute to cleaner air and water, and dramatically reduce our contribution to climate change.
A project of this scale requires vision and persistence. Amber will advocate for:
Expanding regional transit and increasing the frequency of trains
Electrifying trains and buses
Making fares accessible to all
Collaborating with municipal leaders to secure and disperse sufficient infrastructure and road-work funds
We desperately need to take better care of Massachusetts children and the people raising, caring for, and educating them. The cost of childcare is an incredible burden on families. Our public education system is chronically underfunded. One out of every eight children in our region is food insecure. The Commonwealth is fourth from the bottom nationwide in our ability to provide stable homes to kids in foster care. And families are falling into homelessness in Massachusetts at a faster rate than in any other state in the nation.
Investments in children should need no defense. Amber will advocate for:
Expanding access to public pre-k and full-day kindergarten as progress toward an ultimate goal of universal childcare
Building on the progress of the Student Opportunity Act and ensuring every child has access to a high-quality public education that meets their individual needs
Providing the over 3,000 food-insecure individuals (including hundreds of children) in the First Essex District with the benefits and support they need today, while pursuing systemic reform to prevent food insecurity tomorrow
Significantly strengthening the programs designed to keep children in safe and stable homes
CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTIONS
Decision-makers at every level of government need to regard climate change with the urgency it demands. It is time to come together around transformative solutions that touch every major sector of our economy, and we need to advance all solutions in a manner that seeks to repair the inequities of our past and present.
Guided by science, Amber will advocate for:
Setting a target and establishing a roadmap toward 100% renewable energy by 2035
Accelerating the responsible development of large-scale offshore wind power
Removing caps on net metering to incentivize more solar power development
Significantly reforming utility regulation to incentivize sustainable and equitable performance
Dedicating 1% of the state’s operating budget to environmental agencies (an increase from the current 0.6%)
A HEALTHY MERRIMACK RIVER
Every year, hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage overflow from sewage treatment facilities, directly into the Merrimack River, subjecting the downstream communities of Amesbury, Newburyport, and Salisbury to significant health risks. This problem is only projected to worsen as climate change increases the frequency of the heavy rainstorms that often drive these combined sewer overflows. Beyond sewage, PFAS (toxic “forever chemicals” flowing from industrial sites and landfills), pollutants in stormwater runoff, and solid waste, are all contributing to the declining health of this vital river and the communities and wildlife that rely upon and interact with it.
To protect the health of this shared and treasured resource, Amber will advocate for:
Providing residents and river visitors with access to real-time information on bacteria levels in the river
Ensuring that federal and state funding supports swift upgrades to sewage treatment plants to prevent combined sewer overflows, with long-term climate resiliency in mind
Providing state environmental agencies with the resources they need to effectively facilitate research, assessment, permitting, implementation, compliance assistance, and enforcement of responsible practices