During the Democratic National Convention, I wrote about the first vote I ever cast for President. That vote was important to me. I was unsure who to vote for. Then I heard Shirley Chisholm.
Chisholm, the first African American woman to run for President, ran a captivating campaign, speaking of the need for racial and social justice, tougher campaign finance regulations, and decent, affordable housing for all. But most importantly, she spoke of helping people abandoned by government. She quickly earned my vote.
Was Chisholm an odd choice for an Irish-American kid from East Cambridge? Maybe. But she had a saying that resonated with me: “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”
My parents instilled the spirit behind those words throughout my East Cambridge upbringing, inspiring me to run for public office. Now, as your State Representative, it’s why I’m asking for your vote on Thursday, September 8th.
This is a critical time for Somerville and the city needs proven leadership.
Throughout my career, I’ve fought for ideas to make Massachusetts the center of progressive values. I’ve worked to make gun laws tougher, to protect the civil rights of all people, and to make our community a better, safer place to live and raise a family. The spirit of leadership and progress Chisholm articulated doesn’t ask us to fight for these ideas through words, it calls for action. That’s why I refused to back down in the face of attacks on the rights of my LGBTQ and immigrant neighbors. And it’s why I continue working for better public transportation and a progressive tax system.
A lifelong Democrat and resident of our community, I’ve worked hard on issues that matter most, including:
● Heading the effort to close the GLX funding gap, keeping it alive despite threats of cancellation.
● Successfully advocating for immediate funding that expedited the reconstruction of the East Somerville Community School
● Helped to increase the personal property tax exemptions in Somerville to 35% for homeowners to offset rising tax bills
● Working tirelessly to fund substance abuse programs and direct resources to public health initiatives to fight the opioid epidemic.
● Fighting for social and economic justice for women, working to pass the recently enacted Equal Pay law, ensuring economic security for all women.
● Continuing the fight for a complete Somerville Community Path and the removal of the McCarthy Overpass from McGrath Highway
Yet more needs to be done.
But ideas cannot be implemented and progress achieved without leadership, and to be a true leader, you lead by example. I believe in activist, progressive leadership – coaching people for the citizenship test, working directly with people who need housing in an emergency, and paying my campaign staff a living wage.
Leaders need to stand by their convictions and make hard choices. They need to back their words with actions, attend community events and be present in our neighborhoods talking, and more importantly, listening to people. It is why I have an office in the community so constituents can easily meet with me to discuss their concerns. Leaders need to be in the community doing what they can to assist residents.
At times it can be tiring and even frustrating, but then something happens that puts it all into perspective. Last week, I was walking down Charles Street and passed a family new to the neighborhood. Their 5-year-old daughter pointed to me and excitedly said to her mother, “That’s Tim Toomey. He read to me at summer camp!” It brought a smile to my face and reinforced the fact that this is what public service is all about.
On Thursday, September 8th, I am asking for your vote to continue my progressive leadership at the State House on behalf of our community. We still have progress to make together.