By Joe Gravellese
Last week, I announced my campaign for State Representative for Revere, Chelsea, and Saugus.
I’m proud to be born and raised in Revere – son of a union operating engineer, grandson of a union teamster, and a graduate of Revere High School. I’m running because I deeply love my community, and want to give back to this place that has shaped me.
In my lifetime, there has never been a serious competition for this seat. With Massachusetts facing so many challenges that threaten our future, the residents of Revere, Chelsea, and Saugus deserve a positive and thoughtful debate.
Our public transportation system has been chronically underfunded – leaving it unsafe, unreliable, and out of reach to too many communities. This forces more commuters on to our crowded and crumbling roads and bridges. The Boston area has the worst congestion in the nation. We must fix this.
Housing costs are pushing an entire generation out of Greater Boston. Not enough communities have access to reliable transportation, so neighborhoods that do have MBTA access see prices go through the roof, as demand far exceeds supply. Mid-sized, modest housing for working families is essentially illegal to build in most cities and towns. We must fix this.
The working class jobs of the future are arriving in Greater Boston – but community college, associate’s degrees and job training programs remain out of reach to too many people due to cost or lack of access. Students who want to attend technical and vocational schools face waiting lists and not enough seats. We must fix this.
Cities like Revere have worked hard to tackle the opioid crisis and have seen some success, with overdose deaths down over 40 percent in three years since the Substance Use Disorder Initiatives office opened. But we still have a lot of work to do. In far too many communities, evidence-based strategies to address substance abuse are not embraced due to stigma. We must fix this.
Climate change is not a future problem – it’s today’s problem. Residents are already being impacted by historic storms and flooding, and escalating flood insurance costs. Sea level rise will impact our district within my lifetime.
We need to urgently move away from fossil fuels and push for 100-percent clean, renewable energy – a transition that will not only make our air and water cleaner, but will also create a new generation of good jobs. We also must work to upgrade our seawall and make our communities more resilient.
My experience prepares me to deliver results for our district. While working at the State House for Rep. Lori Ehrlich, I helped build coalitions and advance legislation to hold utility companies accountable for gas leaks, protect working people from exploitation, and push Massachusetts toward a clean energy future.
At Revere City Hall, I was part of the team that worked on the nuts and bolts of making government work better – increasing access to substance abuse treatment, re-launching the city’s disabilities commission, expanding public health and recreation programs, and making government more transparent and accountable.
If elected as your Representative, I can’t promise that you’ll agree with me on every issue. But I can promise you that I will always listen, that I will always fight for you, and that I will always be honest and transparent.
I can promise you that I will always stand up for my values, but I will also be willing to roll up my sleeves, find common ground, and work with anyone who has good ideas on how to tackle the big challenges we all face.
We must be clear-eyed about this moment: we need serious action to tackle issues like transportation, housing, public health, the environment, and job training. I’m ready to fight hard and deliver results.
If you want to learn more, or if you’re ready to join me, visit www.joegrav.com, attend my Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 PM, or to commit to supporting me in the primary election on Sept. 1.
By Joe Gravellese