Five people want to represent Lexington residents, along with residents of Woburn’s Wards 1 and 7, on Beacon Hill. But where do they stand on some of the most important issues facing both communities, and the state?
Voters will go to the polls on Sept. 4 to pick a winner in the Democratic primary race for the 15th Middlesex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Five candidates will be on the ballot: Michelle Ciccolo, Matthew Cohen, Joseph Lahiff, Mary Ann Stewart and William Sweeney. There are no registered Republican candidates, however write-in candidates will be allowed in the Nov. 6, 2018 general election.
In the coming weeks between now and the Sept. 4 primary, the Minuteman will be publishing questions of the week every Thursday, with answers from each candidate on the biggest issues impacting our communities. Each candidate’s answer was limited to 50 words.
This week’s question: Massachusetts is facing an affordable housing crisis which neither the market nor current legislation has proved able to solve. What changes to state affordable housing law would you support in order to address this?
For the past decade, I’ve been actively testifying/lobbying for zoning reform. I support the Smart Growth Alliance’s package of reforms that concentrates density near transportation and minimizes construction on raw land, facilitated by a Transfer of Development Rights bank. Among other measures, I support recapitalizing the CPA match to help municipalities build affordable housing.
A) Revise Chapter 40B to provide greater resources, opportunities and flexibility, including protections to communities. B) Improve laws on rezoning for housing, smart growth, commercial and mixed use. C) Fully fund the Community Preservation Act; the state now matches just 17 percent [of funds raised by a community], which is significantly less than in the past.
I see there are two impediments to affordable housing in the state, affordability and an inadequate supply. I believe that the state can do a better job in defraying costs by funding rental assistance and homeownership assistance programs. Supply can be addressed by raising the requirement for the number of affordable units in any new developments.
Mary Ann Stewart
Housing is a human right. Address predatory development. Invest in state housing trust funds. Increase resources for development and rehabilitation of public and other affordable housing. Meet growing housing needs of young singles/retiring elders. Strengthen and expand home ownership programs. Full support of H.673/S.723.
The only way to address the affordable housing crisis is to address the underlying causes of wealth and income inequality. In the meantime, our policy needs to be focused on job creation outside the cities, not stacking more people into areas where the infrastructure is already overburdened.