Our Commonwealth is based on a social compact, a set of promises we make to each other—promises to look out for one another and pursue the common good. The Massachusetts Constitution says that when our social compact isn’t working anymore, the people have a right to alter it. It’s time for a new social compact for a new generation.
Setti Warren believes that the job of state government is to make Massachusetts a place where people are able to live safe, peaceful and productive lives no matter where they live and regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, wealth, immigration status, or disability. This means being smart about removing the impediments that hold people back, and extending a helping hand to folks who need a little extra support. Right now, too many people and communities are falling behind because state government is not fulfilling its responsibility to ensure that all people have an equal opportunity to succeed.
Promises We Must Keep
There are a few promises we must keep in our social compact. As a Commonwealth, we agree to support our veterans and military families, help seniors as they enter their golden years, ensure our communities are accessible, empower people with disabilities, make comprehensive health care a right for all, and practice good stewardship of our environment. Right now, we are falling short on keeping our promises. We must give seniors and veterans a seat at the table in state government, not just so they can make sure their needs are met, but so they can bring their wisdom, training and experience to bear to help meet the needs of others. By investing in upgrades to our electrical grid and supporting the use of wind, solar, and other renewable energy resources, we can cut the Commonwealth's carbon footprint, save money, and create good-paying 21st Century energy economy jobs. We must also develop a region-specific housing strategy focused on people and outcomes to address the current shortage of affordable and mid-range units. Finally, we recognize that healthcare is a basic right and start moving the Commonwealth toward a single payer health care system.
A Government That Listens
In order for state government to achieve meaningful outcomes, it must earn the trust of the people. As Mayor of Newton, Setti Warren governed in an open and transparent way because people deserve to know what their government is doing in their name. Massachusetts lags the nation in government transparency, but nowhere is sunshine needed more than the annual state budget making process. Setti Warren believes that a budget is not only a statement of values, but that the process of writing this values statement requires public input. That’s why he will make public records laws apply to the governor’s office and has endorsed the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center's recommendations to make our budget process more transparent.
Good Jobs & Higher Wages
For too many Massachusetts residents and regions, the impacts of globalization and automation are already being felt in widening income inequality and increasing disparities in opportunity. We must take action now to make sure the Commonwealth’s economy works for everyone by instituting policies like a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave. Setti Warren also believes we need to rethink how education works. In addition to making college more accessible, the Commonwealth needs to be a national leader by creating a model for lifelong learning, paid apprenticeships and co-ops to help workers adapt to shifting economic conditions. We need a strategy that draws on each region's unique assets and opportunities to create growth across the Commonwealth by supporting innovative, nationally competitive hubs in diverse industries. We must marshal Massachusetts’ strengths to address Massachusetts’ challenges by making sure that state government is giving every distinct region its fair share of time, attention and resources. Setti Warren believes we need to provide better support to existing small businesses and give tools to entrepreneurs to create new ones. This means cutting red tape, making investments in people and infrastructure and keeping health care costs for business down.
Reaffirming our Belief in Public Education
Today, many good jobs require more than 12 years of school. Setti Warren believes that we need to make public colleges free for Massachusetts students. The Commonwealth has always been at the forefront of public education in this country. We were the first state to recognize that all children need an education, but somehow we’ve gotten stuck on this idea that education begins with preschool and ends in 12th grade. The reality of life in the 21st Century means we need to redefine our state's commitment to education and career preparedness. At moments in our history we have recognized that our shared responsibility to provide an education is no longer being met by the status quo. We must realize that we are in one of these transformational moments now. We must support families with young children to provide a strong foundation and assist students as they grow into our future workforce. If we continue to insist that students take on crushing loads of debt to get a college education, we will never be able to end economic inequality in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts can once again stand at the forefront of national progress on education by making public colleges free.
The Right to Move
Many people think about transportation and infrastructure policy as a list of worthy projects, but Setti Warren believes the ability to move around the Commonwealth with reasonable speed and at reasonable cost is essential to addressing the challenges of economic inequality. Constant traffic, underfunded public transportation systems and crumbling roads and bridges are not just an inconvenience, they are an impediment to opportunity. Creating more good jobs where people live will help lighten the load on highways and public transportation. We need a strategy to make sure that regional transportation authorities are able to meet the needs of the people of the Commonwealth. We must commit to projects like extending the Blue Line to Lynn, building a bullet train from Springfield to Boston, and repairing our underfunded roads and bridges. We cannot wait 20 years to get this done.