Pat Jehlen

It has been my great honor to represent the people of North and West Cambridge in the state Senate since 2013, and I ask for their support to continue to work with them on the many issues that face us in the commonwealth and our communities.

Opinion boxMy first job was as an organizer, where I met talented young people who faced enormous challenges because of poverty. As a high school history teacher, I taught my students that history is made by all of us, not just a few leaders. As a school committee leader, I fought successfully for more school aid and innovative programs. As a state representative and now as senator, I continue to work with so many people in our communities, particularly on issues of education, elder affairs, criminal justice, the environment, transportation and rights for people with disabilities.

I’ve appreciated the chance to work with Cambridge residents on many issues, from education to mental health and substance abuse to the environment.

My most satisfying legislative achievement this year was the passage of an equal pay bill, which will help make reduce the gender gap in pay. I worked to develop a powerful, hard-working coalition that succeeded in passing a bill The New York Times called “groundbreaking.” It won’t end the gender gap, but it will remedy some real barriers to equality. For example, asking for a prospective employee’s previous salary can keep women – and others – at a disadvantage throughout their careers, and in retirement.

But there’s a lot more to do to ensure that everyone who works can support themselves and their families.

I am also especially concerned with reducing the opportunity gap for children by fighting for adequate and fair state aid to education and access to affordable, quality preschool. To fully fund that commitment will be very expensive, which is why I support the Fair Share Amendment for a 4 percent surtax on incomes over a million dollars. That amendment will be on the 2018 ballot, and would raise $2 billion for education and transportation.

Seniors should be able to age in community, with independence and respect, so I continue to work to build a continuum of care and housing.

The Senate recently unanimously passed my amendment to stop electricity customers from being surcharged to build new pipelines for natural gas. Although it didn’t pass the House, the Supreme Judicial Court last week agreed and stopped the surcharge.

I hope the people of Cambridge will support me in the primary and continue to work together to make our communities and our commonwealth even better places to live.