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Helping Winthrop & Revere
Fight Back From COVID-19
My passion has always been to help communities be healthy. It’s led to my pursuit of a Bachelor of Science in Health Management & Policy and a Master’s in Public Health. It’s also led me to four years with the Massachusetts House of Representatives. During my time there, I worked for the chair of House Ways & Means, chair of Health Care Financing, and for a member of the Special Committee dealing with the Commonwealth’s economic recovery from COVID-19. I have been able to fight for bold and compassionate healthcare legislation, including pro-choice policies and, over the last year, COVID-19 relief.
I have seen firsthand how the current House works, and have the experience and relationships needed to get things done for Winthrop and Revere.
Over the last year, from Shirley Ave to Point Shirley, the pandemic has hit us hard. The first COVID-19 death in the Commonwealth was an 87-year old veteran right here in our community. Since then, over 10,000 people - our friends and neighbors - have been infected by the virus in Winthrop and Revere, and research overwhelmingly shows that working-class communities of color are being disproportionately affected.
This isn’t the moment for another lawyer on Beacon Hill. We are living through a public health emergency that is decimating our communities. I think it’s important to put someone with experience in public health and community organizing at the table -- because if you ask me, our next Representative should be able to hit the ground running on day one.
That's why I want to share with you my COVID-19 plan for our community:
ENSURING A FAIR VACCINATION
PROCESS THAT EVERYONE CAN ACCESS
We have all heard the stories of family and friends trying and failing to access the Commonwealth’s vaccination system. The Phase 2 vaccination roll-out is creating mass confusion and is largely an incredibly burdensome process for our seniors. It’s been even harder on seniors for whom English is not the first language.
To make matters worse, our community of Winthrop and Revere is treated like an afterthought in the Commonwealth’s current vaccination plan when it comes to locations. Not only are there no vaccination sites in Beachmont or Winthrop, but none in the entire 19th Suffolk District.
Here’s how we can fix these issues:
Overhaul the existing web-only registration process by expanding it to a multifaceted system that focuses on ease of use for those accessing it rather than administrative expediency. We can accomplish this by using an ‘all of the above’ approach, including:
A statewide, multilingual registration hotline.
Utilize and deploy the support of hospital systems and nonprofits.
Direct mail and calls to everyone that meets the age and occupation requirements of Phase 2 of the vaccination plan, including multilingual outreach.
Engage community partners, like our health centers, to assist in the registration process and build trust.
Prioritizing expanding to accessible locations, including Stop-The-Spread locations.
Increase funding for our Community Health Centers
Winthrop and Revere are home to four community health centers, in addition to benefiting from services provided in our surrounding communities. Our community health centers have long played an essential role in the health and well-being of all. Their importance has only increased during COVID-19 as our systems of care were required to shift from in-person care to telemedicine.
Many community health centers in the Commonwealth are now being called up to assist in the vaccination process, and also serve as an important partner in helping dispel any hesitancy towards the COVID-19 vaccination.
Investing in community health centers is vital to increasing racial equity in vaccine distribution, and in earning the trust of communities of color, whose trust has so often been violated.
Here’s what we can do:
The Commonwealth’s FY22 budget must include increased funding for our Community Health Centers (Line Item 4510-0110)
COVID-19 relief funds should be targeted towards those that have been hardest hit by the pandemic -- seniors and low-income people, especially those who are Black and Latino -- and the community health centers that serve them.
Prioritize Mental Health Services
Prior to the pandemic our community of Winthrop and Revere already lacked sufficient resources to ensure the mental health of our friends and neighbors, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made matters worse.
Here’s what we should be doing:
Invest in a multi-pronged solution to combat the mental health crisis through increased grant funding to community institutions that have been servicing our most vulnerable friends and neighbors:
Our public school systems,
Our Veteran Service Offices,
Our senior centers.
Resources and Pay for those on the frontlines
Those on the frontlines of the pandemic, such as our teachers, nurses, and local first responders, deserve better, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the vaccine rollout slowly takes place. To date, we have fallen short providing those serving our community day-in and day-out with the increased resources and pay they deserve as they help us fight back from COVID-19.
Here’s what we should be doing:
Continuing to provide increased PPE for our nurses, teachers, and local first responders over the next six months, and making sure the allocation process for PPE is transparent.
Fight to ensure those that are infected by COVID-19 do not have to use their earned time while recovering from the virus.
Implement a hazard pay program for our local first responders and nurses until the end of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 State of Emergency declaration.