With our state legislators wrapping up another session of lawmaking, a couple of items strike us as particularly noteworthy.
State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz was a strong proponent of election reforms that expand access to the voting booth. Early voting, which works very well in other states, is one of those excellent reforms. So is pre-registration of teenagers.
Voting is a basic civil right, yet it is often too difficult and confusing. Sen. Chang-Díaz did great work in pushing for these common-sense reforms.
Brownfields cleanup funding must be among the least thrilling and appetizing topics the legislature can consider, which makes it all the more notable that state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez successfully carved $10 million out of the budget for it.
Assistance in cleaning up polluted lots has been crucial to keeping costs down so that redevelopments a) happen at all and b) can feasibly include affordable housing and local retail.
Sánchez knows this issue very well. Early in his political career, under former Mayor Menino, he organized community meetings about brownfields in Jamaica Plain’s Jackson Square that are finally undergoing complex redevelopment.
Time and time again, Sánchez has proven assiduous and clever at securing funding that may look unglamorous, but that enable redevelopments vital to this community. It’s an often thankless job, so we take this opportunity to say thanks.
State Rep. Liz Malia’s tireless work on behalf of people struggling with mental health and substance abuse problems is also thankless and admirable.