Press Release by State Senator Jamie Eldridge
State Senator Jamie Eldridge Endorses Barbara L’Italien for Congress
I’m proud to endorse Barbara L’Italien for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District. I have known and worked with Barbara for 16 years, and have seen up close her values, her fighting spirit and her commitment to helping those who are living in the shadows of life. Barbara has the strongest progressive track record in the CD-3 race. I’ve seen her take on the tough fights in the legislature, from marriage equality to healthcare to supporting immigrants to LGBTQ rights to protecting services for the elderly and disabled, and she does not flinch.
In thinking about the qualities I’d like to see in my next congresswoman, in the age of Donald Trump, a few priorities come to mind. We need a representative who has dedicated her life to fighting for the underdog, the people who are under the most attack by the Trump administration, and Republicans in Congress. This is Barbara’s entire life. Since her eldest son was diagnosed with autism, she has been a fierce advocate for Rudy, including passing landmark autism and special education laws at the State House. In our first term as state representatives, when same-sex marriage was made legal, she fought to protect marriage equality, even when her priest tried to remove her from her church. She has stood side by side with me in protecting our immigrant communities, and has dedicated her legislative career to helping seniors, even when she had to go up against corporate special interests. I want a congressperson who is always thinking of how protect CD-3’s most vulnerable constituents – Barbara has been doing that her entire public service career. Her endorsement from Mass-Care, the statewide single-payer organization, shows her commitment to guaranteeing basic rights to all Americans, including healthcare, including to those struggling in life.
State and federal legislators work on literally hundreds of issues every year. When Niki Tsongas was first sworn-in as our Congresswoman, I spoke to Niki about the how critical greater federal investment and support of special education could make a difference in every school district in the congressional district. Now, as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos not only seeks to cut federal funding for our schools, gut protections for transgender students, and reduce schools’ obligations to serve special needs students, I believe that Barbara is uniquely qualified to become a national leader on education, on Capitol Hill. She became the statewide leader on autism in Massachusetts, and passed legislation requiring the state to provide service to children on the autism spectrum. Her support for fully funding public education, by opposing charter schools and voting for the Foundation Budget Review Commission in the Legislature, and her knowledge on state and federal special education laws, could make a world of difference for the children of CD3. By increasing the federal funding for providing special education, we not only ensure that all children receive a great education and that special needs children get the support they need, but this also reduces the pressure on rising property taxes in all communities.
I feel strongly that if we are serious about fulfilling the needs of all Americans, including the areas of education, transportation, healthcare, environmental protection, and the social safety net, we need to cut the U.S. military budget. Barbara has been a peace activist since college, when she was a student leader at Merrimack College, protesting in favor of a nuclear freeze and against President Ronald Reagan, and has been a member of WAND (Women Against Nuclear Destruction). Because she has fought so hard to provide basic necessities for people with disabilities, seniors, and the poor at the state level, including calling out Governor Charlie Baker for trying to remove hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts families off of MassHealth, and her dedication to boosting spending on senior home care, helping disabled students, and serving her low-income constituents, I believe she is the most committed candidate to diverting military spending, in order to dramatically increase domestic spending.
Finally, I have had the opportunity to witness Barbara up close on her commitment to fighting for what is right. There is a lot of posturing about standing up to Donald Trump in Democratic politics, but best serving the people of CD3 isn’t just calling out Donald Trump for his destructive, cruel, inhumane policies. It’s about calling out right-wing Republican policies, including those in our own backyard, and yes it’s about standing up for progressive values in a Democratic Party that is controlled far too often by big corporations, and centrists. When House Speaker Paul Ryan visited Lawrence last year, Barbara organized a rally with labor and immigrant rights leaders herself, calling out Speaker Ryan and the House Republicans for trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. When Governor Baker has pushed fracked gas pipelines through dozens of communities, reduced adult day care services for seniors in need, and suggested that undocumented immigrants are criminals, Barbara has been one of few Democratic legislators to call out Charlie Baker, and remind her Democratic colleagues that serving the less fortunate in society is a core value of the Democratic Party. If the House of Representatives in Washington is going to see a blue wave, let’s make sure it’s a progressive blue wave.
There are many excellent candidates running in the Third Congressional District, which is truly wonderful and inspiring to see. As the chair of the Senate Progressive Caucus, I believe that Barbara has the strongest progressive record of the candidates, and that her vision, priorities and fighting spirit will best serve all the people of this district. I hope that voters will join me in casting their votes for Barbara L’Italien on Tuesday, September 4th, and get involved and volunteer for her, this summer.“