State Representative Tami Gouveia, candidate for lieutenant governor, focuses her knowledge on public health during a visit to Western Mass. | Local News


CUMMINGTON – Seeking the second-highest position in the Massachusetts executive branch, State Representative Tami Gouveia says she offers an approach that puts families and their health at the center.

A Democrat running for lieutenant governor in 2022, Gouveia has served at Massachusetts House since 2019 after a 25-year career in public health and social work. His campaign calls for expanding access to housing and health care, including creating Medicare for All in Massachusetts. The Acton resident, who earned a PhD in public health from Boston University in 2020, also wants to increase public investment in education, the social safety net and jobs that align with an energy transition. clean.

“I just think in a state that has the resources that we have here, the knowledge base that we have here and the culture that we have here, we could do so much better through our families,” said Gouveia, who announced his candidacy in a video from June 7, said in an interview Friday at the Old Creamery Co-op in Cummingington. “We don’t center families enough in the decision we make. We also do not center the health and well-being of people in these decisions. ”

Gouveia made her first stop as a candidate in western Massachusetts, visiting North Adams, Pittsfield and Williamstown in Berkshire County.

In Cummingington, Gouveia saw a man in a wheelchair push himself along the freeway to get to the grocery store. On a previous trip to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in South Hadley, she heard that many residents of western Massachusetts have a hard time getting food if they can’t afford it. ‘buy and maintain a car.

To fill these transport gaps, said Gouveia, one needs to focus on public health.

“If you have to walk three kilometers to get food, it’s a burden,” Gouveia said, calling transport a “public good” and a key component of public health. “Whether you need to get to a doctor’s appointment or get to work or school, you need a way to get there.

Greater investments in regional transport authorities as well as microtransit and on-demand options, Gouveia said, can help connect more residents with places where they can meet their daily needs. It also supports passenger rail transport, including a proposal to connect Pittsfield and Boston via Springfield, both as a strategy to benefit commuters and to reduce emissions.

“East-West rail, assuming we can get it going and build it, it has to be green, it has to be reliable and it has to be used frequently to make it worth it for people,” says Gouvéia.

Rather than looking at each problem in a silo, Gouveia said she favors a “systems approach” to policy. On housing, for example, she believes there is a need to build units near transportation hubs and low-emission or zero-emission units. It also supports the construction of more multi-family units and the adoption of local option property transfer fees, which would allow cities and towns to impose an additional tax on the sale of high-end homes and reinvest. these funds in affordable housing.

If she were lieutenant governor, Gouveia said she would work behind the scenes as a ‘partner’ for the communities and ‘bridge’ to the corner office, ‘making sure that we prepare people for succeed ”.

It contrasts this approach with that adopted by Governor Charlie Baker’s administration on the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine. Relying on mass vaccination sites, Gouveia said, not only residents who cannot drive, but also local public health officials who were prepared for the pandemic and knew their communities best.

“The way the problems manifest themselves may be similar in different parts of the state, but the solutions will be very different,” said Gouveia, who grew up in Lowell, who she says has experienced similar effects to a large extent. part of the county of Berkshire when industrial jobs left the town. during his adolescence. “We need to be very focused on what will help people in their community make decisions about these solutions. “

While Gouveia is the only declared candidate for the nomination of Democratic lieutenant governor, western Massachusetts itself is home to two state senators whom some see as possible candidates. State Senator Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, decides between running for lieutenant governor or being re-elected. State Senator Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow, would be a possible candidate for lieutenant governor or attorney general.

Gouveia had about $ 64,000 in his campaign account as of June 30, while Hinds had just over $ 150,000 and Lesser more than $ 572,000, according to the Office of the Political Fundraising Campaign.

For her campaign manager, Gouveia chose a fellow Mount Holyoke College graduate Kristen Elechko, a Northampton-based activist who, like many others working on the Gouveia campaign, was instrumental in orchestrating the victory. of the re-election of US Senator Ed Markey in 2020. Closely aligned with leftist Democrats, Gouveia already enjoys the support of progressive leaders such as State Senator Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, and State Representative Nika Elugardo, D-Boston.

Gouveia plans to return to the Berkshires before the September 2022 primary, she said, to focus more on Pittsfield and southern Berkshire County.

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