State Representative Tim Toomey has announced his re-election bid for the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Toomey, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Somerville and Cambridge, said he is running so that he can continue the work he has done on issues like improving transportation access and reliability, ensuring government transparency, increasing funding for low income and affordable housing, and social justice issues such as gender pay equity and LGBTQ rights.
“I am honored to serve the people of Somerville and Cambridge,” Toomey said. “I plan on using my experience to continue advocating for the full completion of the Green Line Extension and to fight for the necessary investments we need to make in our communities and schools.”
Toomey said rising income inequality was one of his primary concerns as a legislator, and cited the work he has done to advance the “Fair Share Amendment” and increase funding for housing voucher programs as examples of his leadership on the issue.
“Massachusetts needs a tax system where everyone–including the rich–pays their fair share,” said Toomey. “The ongoing effort to advance the Fair Share Tax Amendment is the best chance we have had in many years to accomplish this, and I am proud to say I have been among the leading voices in the legislature calling for its passage.” The Fair Share Amendment, an amendment to the state’s constitution that would implement an additional 4% tax on income over $1 million, was recently advanced by the legislature’s Joint Committee on Revenue, of which Toomey is vice chair. Supporters expect it would raise about $2 billion annually for investments in transit and public education.
In 2015, Toomey was a prominent voice for increased funding for housing voucher programs, and helped lead an effort to increase funding for the Alternative Housing Voucher program by $1.05m, creating 120 new housing vouchers for low-income, disabled Massachusetts residents. “Housing prices are a huge part of the rising inequality that we see in our state’s urban areas,” said Toomey. “Funding for housing vouchers is an essential part of combating the affordability crisis in Massachusetts and ensuring that every resident has safe and affordable housing that meets their needs.”
Toomey also pointed to his work to reform the state’s criminal justice system in order to reduce incarceration and recidivism as an ongoing priority. He has partnered with Somerville state senator Pat Jehlen to sponsor legislation that would allow dying inmates to be placed in more medically appropriate and humane settings. Toomey has also been working as a member of the legislature’s Harm Reduction and Drug Law Reform Caucus to change our state’s drug laws to promote recovery and rehabilitation as an alternative to mass incarceration. “We have learned that the past approaches to criminal justice and sentencing haven’t been effective, and that our laws need to be smarter–not tougher–on crime,” said Toomey. “There is a growing movement in the legislature to tackle these issues head on–the recent vote to repeal mandatory driver’s license suspension for drug offenses is a great example–and I am proud to be a part of this effort.”
As a State Representative for a diverse and vibrant community, Toomey has played an integral role in facilitating collaborative efforts between the public, advocates, and state agencies on transportation and economic development projects. “I’m proud to represent such an engaged and passionate community,” Toomey said. “That drive and collaborative willingness is what preserved the viability of the Grand Junction Path as a commuter-centric multi-use project, and I will fight tirelessly for continued strong public involvement on projects like the Somerville Community Path, the Grounding McGrath project, and the Green Line Extension.”
“I have always believed that my job as a representative is to listen to my constituents and to be strongly committed to providing excellent constituent services. Having been born and raised in the district that I now represent in the legislature, it’s especially important to me that I do my best to represent our communities’ values on Beacon Hill.” Toomey cited his strong track record of making himself available and accessible to his constituents, and vowed to continue to make himself available for meetings and conversations at his district office in East Cambridge.
While Toomey is proud of his accomplishments so far in the 2015-16 legislative session, he stressed that he will continue to fight to pass key social justice legislation. “I’m confident that the Massachusetts legislature will continue to lead the nation in progressive change, and I will continue to fight for adding protections for gender identity in public accommodations to the state’s non-discrimination laws, making insurance coverage mandatory for a wider variety of contraceptives, and passing the Equal Pay Act to strengthen Massachusetts families by closing the gender pay gap.”