My Views on a Few Issues

(In alphabetical order)

Please contact our campaign at campaign@Mulcahy2020.com or in person during our listening sessions if you have any questions or would like my views on any issue not covered here.


Bees

Love ‘em. I am a third -generation beekeeper and caught my first swarm when I was only 12. Bees keep us alive, and we should return the favor by banning all bee- killing pesticides as other nations already have.


Birth Control

If condoms can be purchased without a prescription, so should the pill.If condoms can be purchased without a prescription, so should the pill.


Civic Engagement

For most people, the closest we will ever come to interacting with our elected representatives will be in the few moments we spend in the voting booth coloring in a small circle. I grew up in the sixties and seventies, when civic engagement was key to stopping wars and saving the planet.  But active involvement in political life has been whittled down over the decades, perhaps not accidentally. Lack of access to our elected officials has suppressed civic engagement, and that in turn has contributed to low voter turnout rates.

Why bother taking the time to vote for someone who never has time for you and has no idea what matters to you? Have you ever tried to contact a member of your local government? Your state rep? Your congressperson? Your senator? Did you reach them, or  were you shuttled to a  gatekeeper who gave you a scripted answer or  a form letter? No matter we rarely even try to let our representatives know what’s important to us. Since 2015 however I have been overjoyed to see a renaissance in civic engagement.

To help foster this rebirth, I (not a staff member) will hold 39 listening sessions –one in each of MA6’s 39 towns and cities. For those who cannot attend in person, these sessions will be recorded and made available on my campaign website. My goal here is to lead by example. If I can be more accessible perhaps our elected officials will meet the challenge to do the same.


Carbon Tax

Absolutely! Not as an excuse to pollute more, but to bring down atmospheric CO2 and provide incentives for people to reduce carbon emissions. Tax credits should go to companies with net zero, or lower, emissions. When the deposit on bottles and cans was first suggested, it prompted fierce debates. In the end it was approved, and years later we see that the fears of voters opposed to a bottle deposit were unfounded . The benefits to the environment have been proven. I predict that carbon taxes, if correctly crafted and implemented, will follow this same trajectory.


Election Reform

Yes! All 50 states should have open primaries and same -day voter registration. Election day should be a federal holiday and voting should be required of any person who is of age and able to. We should lower the voting age. The youth of the world have shown themselves to be more politically informed and engaged than many adults. Young people deserve the right to vote, especially because the messes we adults have created will largely have to be cleaned up by our children. If you are old enough to drive a car (a potentially dangerous object requiring judgment and car to operate safely) you should be old enough to vote.


Election Security

The time has come for paper ballots and/or permanent non-electronic records to protect our elections.


Food Deserts

Despite our state’s wealth there are some communities with no access to good food. Stores are either not there or not close and if too far to walk to may not have public transportation available to get there. Too often this means a dependency of expensive, nutritionally questionable food from convenience stores. The health and economic consequences of these food deserts must not be overlooked. Everyone deserves access to healthy, nutritious, delicious affordable, local food. Though my years of work at WorldStove I’ve come to learn that food is infinitely more than sustenance it is heritage, community building and environmental stewardship as well. I will support any effort to be sure no one is left in a desert.


Free College

Yes. To remain competitive globally, Americans need access to the best possible education without the fear of a lifetime of debt. USA is currently competing with other nations who educate their innovators and workforces for free. This puts us at a competitive educational and economic disadvantage. (For details, see my core focus pages). That said, not everyone should have to go to college. Trade schools need to also be free and should benefit from the same status and support as universities.


Fracking

While there are many fossil fuels, fracking deserves a mention of its own.  As a proud resident of Massachusetts’ 6th Congressional district, I believe that the closing of Salem’s coal power plant was an important step toward protecting our environment.

Too often, power plants make a transition to so-called “natural gas,” and market the change as if they are making a “green” choice. Let’s be clear-  there is nothing clean or economical about “natural” gas, especially if it is from fracking. Fracking is prohibitively expensive, but it only appears to be competitive because of fossil fuel subsidies. Fracking also requires an enormous quantity of water, of which we have ever less. The waste it produces leads to contamination of water tables. There are credible peer-reviewed studies that attribute an increase in seismic activity near fracking sites to fracking operations.

There are many truly clean energy options. We do not need to accept fracked gas as a clean energy alternative when it is anything but.


“Freedom Fuel”

My Nonna had this expression – “At times one must bite garlic and say it’s sweet. “ This is not one of those times. There is nothing liberating in continuing a toxic dependency on fossil fuels. The wars we’ve fought, the lives lost, the natural environments destroyed - all for fossil fuels - are already a price too high to pay, especially when there are better alternatives.

The time has come to eliminate all subsidies for fossil fuels. Changing the name does nothing to hide the fact that fossil fuels, like those who wish to continue promoting them, are fossils...and evolution is a fact of nature. Like the recent attempt to reclassify nuclear waste, changing its name or classification does nothing to change its substance.


Fund Our Future

 I fully support the aptly- named Fund Our Future movement. Our state’s future, and that of our nation,  depends on an educated population, and the more we work to assure that everyone will have the same educational opportunities, the brighter our future will be. A child’s educational opportunities should not be determined by zip code.


Glyphosates

Glyphosates (often sold as the brand RoundUp) have no place in our environment, or food production. A proven carcinogen to humans it does not wash off produce and it kills the very soil our food supply, and significant carbon sequestration mechanisms, depend on. The City of Miami has banned them. It’s time for the nation to have the courage to do the same.


Green New Deal

Yes, and with concrete, immediately applicable, scalable, local and national solutions. I laud the current trend of states like Maine which are passing their own Green New Deals. We need to make these decisions at a national level. I will discuss this in far greater detail in the Environmental policy page but would like to add that without immediately actionable strategies using proven solutions there would be no point in discussing the #ClimateCrisis. The solutions exist, we simply need to commit to them in a way that our legislators have not for four decades or more.


Gun Control

New Zealand passed comprehensive gun reform in 26 days. Here in Massachusetts State Senator Bruce Tarr managed to get bump stocks banned in a matter of months. It has been 20 years since Columbine.  I think America has waited long enough. Kids’ lives should receive more protection than gun rights.


Housing

The greater Boston area is home to some of the most expensive housing in the nation, and that makes sense because, if Massachusetts were a nation, its GDP would put it in the top ten. Shamefully, however, Massachusetts is sixth in the nation in terms of income disparity. So we are rich, but with a lopsided distribution of wealth. Welth is concentrated in one group, and poverty in another. I feel strongly that everyone has the right to a living wage. But a living wage means little without affordable housing. Secure housing has been shown to contribute significantly to people’s health, economic growth and educational opportunities. Everyone should have the right to affordable, safe housing. If we can make that housing green, all the better for all of us.


H.R.5

This bill in the House of Representatives prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Everyone in the nation and in our Congressional district deserves equal rights under the law.


Immigration Reform

No to open borders. Yes to full immigration reform and full path to citizenship for anyone seeking it. ICE and family separations should have no place in this nation, the land of opportunity. Lucy Stone (the first woman from Massachusetts to earn a college degree, in 1847,) said, “If while I hear the wild shriek of the slave mother robbed of her little ones, I do not open my mouth, am I not guilty?” We must raise our voices to the current injustices taking place at our border.

The recent story of Brenda Alvarez-Lagunas the Florida high school student who honored her immigrant parents in her 2019 valedictory speech is far more typical than the fear- mongering portrayal of immigrants by ill-intentioned or ill-informed bigots.  

(For more on this, see my Immigration page.)


Internet

With small independent newspapers on their way to extinction and most media being owned by a very few large corporate conglomerates the internet (providing we defend net neutrality)  remains the rightful heir to the bastion of democracy that is freedom of the pres. The internet allows access to education and information to people who may not have access to a local library or school. For these reasons and more I believe the internet should be a public utility and access to it should be a right.


Lead Poisoning Prevention

In 1971, with the passage of the lead act Massachusetts was the leader in the nation in terms of lead poisoning prevention legislation. Tragically, our state has not updated our legislation to be in keeping with better medical understanding and scientific advances for 48 years. For years I have been working with state and federal representatives to correct this dire situation.


Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act (P.L. 109-479)

A rather long title, but an important one for our state and especially for our congressional district. The commercial fishing industry is our state’s fifth most important industry, and even more important for our district. Because so much of District 6 borders the Atlantic Ocean, the pressures that are threatening industrial fishing everywhere are affecting us especially. Industrial fishing is fighting for its very survival. Despite a greater demand for good fish in our cities, gentrification is forcing the working waterfront out of the few remaining waterfront areas. Seasonal recreational boats are taking over areas that would otherwise support year- round income and food generators for our district. While well- intentioned in its creation, the act itself has flaws. Primarily, it prevents innovation. In an ever-more competitive world, we must innovate, not only to survive, but to create new jobs and feed in a sustainable way more people, while simultaneously acting as stewards of the environment.


Medicare For All

ABSOLUTELY. Good for the economy, good for families, good for small businesses and the health of the nation in general. (For details, see my Healthcare page.)


Minimum Wage

I firmly support the Fight For $15 while acknowledging that it should be only a starting point. In my mind and heart, minimum wage should mean that if you work 40 hours you should earn enough to live,  and maybe have some savings. According to many studies, if the minimum wage had been tied to inflation we should now have a federal minimum wage of over $22/hour.

Economic Policy Institute

Other studies have put this figure at over $33/hour. The reality is that nowhere in the USA can a person survive by working 40 hours per week at minimum wage. Tragically, 50% of USA residents are struggling to even pay for basics like food, rent, or heat. My work often brings me to impoverished developing nations where people are struggling with the difficult choice of food or the fuel needed to cook the food. Here in New England it is inexcusable that we find the same conditions. If Iceland can make equal pay mandatory, why can’t the USA? As we celebrate 100 years since the passing of the 19th amendment allowing women to vote, we should also assure equal pay for equal work for all men, women, disabled and able-bodied.


Marriage Equity

Absolutely! Jessica and I are very aware that were it not for the Lovings [Lovings vs Virginia] our marriage would not be legal. Marriage to me, at its core, is love. We want our babies to grow up knowing that love is love. No government has the right to tell them who they, or anyone else, may or may not love. May no one misconstrue my beliefs about love between consenting adults to extend to child marriage, which I firmly believe should be banned.


Money in Politics

I support any effort to not only reinstate the Glass-Steagall act of 1933, (separating investment and commercial banking activities,) but also to revoke the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973, a law which protects and promotes corporate HMOs.  (Pub. L. 93-222 codified as 42 U.S.C. §300e)


National Security

While I laud the incumbent's experience, and agree with him that we, as a nation, need to focus on national security, I disagree that this requires a militaristic approach. While I have dear family members who serve in the military forces, I never have. I believe that the greatest threat to our national security is climate change.


Native American Rights

The names of many of our rivers and towns should serve as daily reminders that our congressional district sits on land that belongs to the first people who welcomed immigrants to this continent. Our history here is a record of how our predecessors failed utterly to respect the humanity of the native people who first welcomed them. It is therefore a moral duty that we as a community work to support, promote and meet the needs of our original hosts by promoting native languages and cultures and restoring land and water rights. Each state now has two senators and several congresspeople. Should not each state also have a tribal representative, and specific positions in Congress? I think this would be a critical shift toward addressing past and ongoing injustices.


Opioid Crisis

There is no question that our nation and state are in the midst of a horrific opioid crisis. The families and loved ones of those addicted are also caught in the crisis and are in need of help. People who, with help and determination, may have recovered, very likely will have lost everything, and will need the support of our communities. Treatment is key but so, too, is job training and ongoing acceptance and respect within or communities, as sober people return to society. Recovery is one of the most difficult transitions anyone will ever go through, and those who have not been there are in no position to judge.


Palestine

Yes to Palestinian right to nationhood. I do not understand how the world opposed apartheid in South Africa and yet can now be silent as the same, or worse, is happening in Palestine. Not only am I in favor of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, I see no justifiable reason for the USA to be giving approximately $10.4 million to Israel each day as long as Israel continues to violate human rights issues and UN rulings. I would have opposed H.R. 246


Parental Leave

Yes, the benefits far outweigh the costs. My wife and I have the luxury of working mostly from home and I would not give up a second of the time this has allowed us to be with our children. I know however that very few have the ability to do this Given the long-term national, health and economic benefits of parental leave I can see no reason why our nation is the only developed nation that does not offer guaranteed paid gender-neutral parental leave.

A review of the literature finds that paid parental leave may support improvements across a range of Sustainable Development Goals outcomes relevant to maternal and child health. Across national income levels, paid leave has been associated with lower infant mortality and higher rates of immunizations. In high-income countries, studies have found that paid leave increases exclusive breastfeeding and may improve women’s economic outcomes. However, factors including the duration of leave, the wage replacement rate, and whether leave is made available to both parents importantly shape the impacts of paid leave policies. While most countries now offer at least some paid maternal leave, many provide less than the 6 months recommended for exclusive breastfeeding, and only around half as many provide paternal leave.” [Public Health Rev. 2017]


Paris Climate Agreement

The USA needs to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement immediately. It may not be perfect, but it is critical to the survival of the planet, as we know it now, that we form strong international alliances and tackle these crises with the same focus, sacrifice and spending that we did the past two world wars.


Police Violence

Too many innocent people have been killed by police, and these have been disproportionately people of color. Too often the cases are dismissed following internal review. Clearly, justice reform is desperately needed, but we could start by mandating that anytime a person is killed by an officer, that officer loses the right to carry a gun and is reassigned permanently. This would cause poorly-trained police to use de-escalation techniques before drawing a gun. It would protect the officers from the likely PTSD that often follows the killing of a person in the line of duty. Most importantly, de-escaltion protocols for beat cops could serve as a critical first step for justice reform, police reform, and community healing.


Private Prisons

No. No private ownership of profit-driven prisons. Maybe it’s time to remove the slavery loophole from the 13th Amendment.


Prosecution of Whistleblowers

I realize that there are strong opinions on both sides regarding Assange, Snowden, and Manning, but no democracy can survive without a system of checks and balances. The Declaration of Independence (which I think of as a sublimely crafted document) states “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Without a system of checks and balances , how will we know how our representatives are acting or how will we correct them when they are not true to our nation’s core mission? Congress is one of these systems but so too is the press and the principle of freedom of information. Freedom of verifiable information is essential to true democracies and it is our civic duty to call into question any attempt to suppress information, truth, or facts.


Publicly Funded Elections

Yes! Twenty-seven dollars at a time, Bernie Sanders became a transformative force the USA’s election financing process, but Unlimited corporate contributions to candidates remains an obscene practice. With 40% of the USA living in poverty and 20% of the children in this nation going to bed hungry, it is unconscionable that the 2016 election cost $6.5 billion for the presidential and congressional elections combined. Aside from the ethics of it, I feel strongly that the current costs of campaigns is corrupting our democracy and government. As it is,  the system favors, not the best candidates , but the richest .Once elected, most candidates, focused on reelection, spend a disproportionate amount of time on fundraising rather than working at the job they were elected to do. 


Public Transportation

Love it. While many rhapsodize about the utopia that self-driving cars will bring, they often overlook the comfort and joy of a good public transportation system. For those who say the USA is too big, we should note that China is 9,596,960 sq km versus the 9,833,517 sq km of the United States. and China’s rail system is growing with the focus the USA had in the Space Race during the sixties. No dining cars in a self-driving car. No chance for a stroll or a restroom break in a self- driving car. Self-driving cars will still require tires and roads, the cost of which both environmentally and economically is far greater than the cost of rail.


School Lunches

Without good nutrition, there is little hope that education will be effective. We may be a wealthy nation but 20% of our children go to bed hungry each day. For many school provided meals may be their only meal. For these reasons I fully support programs that make all school meals part of education funding. After all, as a former school teacher and now parent I have seen beyond the peer reviewed studies to a personal level of how good meals mean good learning and good learning is the number of drivers of economic and social growth. Feeding our kids in an investment in our communities which will have dividends greater than Wall St will ever be able to provide. (To be very clear. Any lunch shaming is an abomination and school districts who do such things have no business being in education or in children’s lives for that matter)


Seismic Blasting

MA6 is largely coastline,  and fishing is Massachusetts’ fifth most important industry. Environmentally and economically there is no place for seismic blasting off our shores , or any shores. 


Separation of Church and State

Imperative. Few know this, but Massachusetts’ sixth congressional district is home to the birth in our nation of the separation of church and state. Our region should take pride in this and work all the more to preserve it. “1786 Gloucester Universalists fought for, and won, freedom from taxation for the support of the First Parish Church.  The ruling in their favor by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court provided a precedent for the separation of church and state.https://www.gloucesteruu.org/history/

This same church’s charter signed in 1785 and on display at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester is a thing to behold, for, among its founding members and signators were men (normal for that era) and (unusual for centuries thereafter) women and freed slaves.


Small Farms

Massachusetts is not one of the huge midwestern states.  We are one of the small original colonies and our hilly terrain is often challenging for agriculture. But every challenge is itself an opportunity. Recently the UN determined that small farms are better for the environment, employ more people, and produce more food than large scale farms.  When I was growing up on the western side of our state, a summer job always meant farmwork.  Asparagus, cucumbers, squash, strawberries, apples and tobacco were the mainstay of summer jobs for my friends and for me. Our state’s size, geography, and terrain, combined with fairly dense populations, make us uniquely suited for small farms. Historically most of the federal agricultural aid seems to be going to big ag. It’s time, for the sake of our state, economy, and the planet, to think small in a big way. I love eating and cooking local.


Socialism

To the best of my knowledge, no one in my district, or the 2020 presidential race for that matter, is running as a Socialist. I know of a few Social Democrat candidates though- those who support an ethical- based capitalistic system.  Nothing wrong with making money, providing that to do so does not oppress or deny the rights of others.

My own small company has never been registered as a non- profit, and yet, many of the countries we work with will allow a for- profit company to enter before they allow a non -profit.  This opposition to non profits in developing nations is a direct consequence of decades of “nonprofits” exploitation of developing nations were far more of the donations ended up on K Street in DC than in the communities they were supposed to be serving.  This economic exploitation of the suffering and the poor to me is nothing less than modern day colonialism. It is for this reason that many developing nations now encourage partnerships and investments over the “help” of “nonprofits”. But I’ve digressed.

In the end, the social aspect of Social Democracy that people seem to be so fond of demonizing is simply the drive to do good and help each other out… and I, for the life of me, can see no wrong in that.


Straight Pride

Goodness no! Perhaps after centuries of repression, being beaten or killed just for being who they are, being denied the right to serve their country or have a job or even use a restroom… maybe, just maybe then, sure , heterosexual people might need to demonstrate for their civil rights. Until then,  to even suggest it is to co- opt the suffering of thousands of LGBTQ people  over centuries,  and deny the survivors of discrimination and abuse the right to celebrate the simple right to live as they are.


Trans’ Rights

Why should trans people not have the same rights as everyone else in the “land of the free”? Perhaps they deserve even more right. We must never forget Marsha Johnson and Chelsea Manning, two trans women, fifty years apart in time, who risked everything so that everyone might live in a better world.


Travel Ban

Absolutely not. To group entire nations and religions based on the fear of some or the actions of few is nothing but a mix of bigotry and cowardice. If we must ban,  then we should do it on a case by case basis. Why deprive our nation of the skills and gifts of others because of our prejudices? This is a long-held belief for me


Veterans’ Needs

To this issue I give full credit to Congressman Moulton. He, unlike most politicians, has maintained his campaign promises. He ran on the issue of supporting our veterans and he has been a man true to his word. If I am elected I would hope to work with Seth to see that the noble efforts he has championed will continue to get ever more of the attention they deserve and I will support any candidate who opposes wasteful regime -change wars so that we will not needlessly create more veterans.


Voter Turnout

This, to me, is the single most important strategy for saving the environment and our democracy. Those who object to the current administration need to help every eligible voter to participate in the next elections.  We must never forget that only 26% of registered U.S. voters determined the current presidential administration and the Congress we now have; 46.9% of registered U.S. voters did not vote in the 2016 election. Here in Massachusetts the primary turnout in 2016 was even more shameful, with a rate of only 8.84%.  Yes, there were some registrations lost or omitted and we need to address that issue as well, but getting voters in great numbers to the polls in the first place is the key to saving the planet, and our democracy. [Voter Turnout Statistics]

Key ways to improve voter turnout rates long- term would be automatic voter registration when people turn voting age, open primaries in all 50 states, and making voting day a federal holiday. It should be noted that not everyone in our district is allowed to vote. Some may be too young, and others may have other impediments. But we are all part of our communities and as such should have a voice. My mother is not a citizen and so she has never been allowed to vote, but she has been civically engaged her whole life. As a candidate, and beyond, I pledge to never forget that all residents are constituents and I will be the voice they deserve to have in government.


Woman’s Right to Choose

Yes! I feel strongly that no laws regarding a woman’s reproductive health should be made by anyone other than women and medical specialists. Pregnancy is a profoundly personal issue. I understand that for some, this is a religious issue. With full respect for people of all faiths, the fact that we have the right to practice our respective faiths is because Americans honor the principle of separation of church and state.


Special thanks to Lois McNulty of Ipswich, who kindly devoted hours to editing this document as her way of supporting our campaign.