I'm a product of public education. Educated right here in Bourne from Otis kindergarten through to Bourne High School, a Bourne Canalman who loves his alma mater! Later, I went from Cape Cod Community College to UMass for undergrad and later my MBA. I know firsthand that a public education is the pathway to a future that might be too costly for those who can't afford private schools and universities. I was accepted at both, but couldn't afford to attend. Public schools and universities made the dream of Higher Ed attainable for me.
As a naturalist instructor and later as executive director, I managed a marine science education non-profit organization, OceanQuest in Woods Hole. Our primary customers were schools from all over New England, science teachers and department heads who valued a novel, out-of-the-classroom approach to exciting students about chemical oceanography, physical oceanography and marine biology on our fifty foot 'floating classroom' vessel. We would tailor portions of our science programs to meet the specific needs of teachers on a case-by-case basis so that their students could access information that either their curricula couldn't cover, or didn't cover as in-depth as the staff wanted at their bricks-and-mortar classroom environment. I understand the challenges that teachers face when confronted with limitations in funding, facilities and fresh ideas that keep students engaged in learning.
I believe that there is a balanced role for traditional public schools, vocational/technical schools and charter schools. I believe that Students and families need a variety of choices and educational options because every student has individual goals and needs, and each family has differing resources with which to meet them. Students need to be challenged by innovative and evolving curricula, and teachers need to be supported by the administration in reaching these needs through career development, proper staffing, and adequate resources. I'll always advocate for the best possible funding, resources, equipment, curricula and program development for teachers and students. I'm an ardent and vocal supporter of the new Elementary School option in Bourne.
Question #2; to lift the cap on Charter Schools in the Commonwealth. This question has been poorly written and discussed, in my opinion. I'll likely vote against Question #2 as presented, because I don't think it adequately addresses the question of where and under what circumstances the addition of a Charter School into a needy community might be an asset to the students, families and teachers if standard schools aren't meeting the constitutionally mandated goals of providing an excellent education. Our educational system overall is so important because it serves as the foundation upon which a working democracy functions. Competition in educational models and systems has raised the bar for education and educators across the Cape, and the Commonwealth has some of the best performing schools in the nation, standard public, Voc/tech public and public charters. I acknowledge that there are inequities and improvements needed in how these schools operate and feel we must move that conversation forward. I also believe the our educational systems as they have existed for decades needs a serious look at opportunities where it can evolve and improve to continue to serve the commitment to preparing successive generations of children, and educators, to aspire to the highest and best educational goals of our society.
I'll always champion that cause; serving the educational needs and goals that prepare the next generation in the best reasonable way we can. I would find it hard to believe that the MTA, or any organization that truly cares about students and teachers, to find fault with any of the above. And if they do, I'd would find it easy to question their truer motives for their criticism. Either way, I'm open to conversations that move the above goals forward toward the betterment of our society.
Cape Cod needs wastewater solutions that effectively deal with nitrogen and phosphorous loading that threatens our embayments and wetlands, endangering the Cape’s economic backbone, our environment, and curtailing smart growth efforts. Having a background which includes teaching marine science in Woods Hole aboard a boat which served as our 'floating classroom,' I taught schoolchildren, college students, teachers and tourists about the importance of protecting our susceptible ecosystems here on Cape Cod.
If elected, I would continue to support the Cape Cod Commission’s 208 Water Quality management efforts to bring all fifteen member communities to the table to find workable solutions that would include innovative wastewater treatment options and encourage regional planning across shared watersheds. I would work to explore the Commonwealth’s Title V Septic regulations and advocate that they be updated to provide flexibility in seeking contemporary and technologically advanced solutions that reduce nitrogen more effectively than the outdated and ineffective requirements of Title V.
We need to completely shut down the Pilgrim nuclear plant in Plymouth and facilitate full closure and safe storage of nuclear materials as soon as possible, eliminating the plant’s potential for water pollution that threatens Cape Cod Bay in the form of thermal discharge, irradiated or chemically altered stormwater runoff and the like that have detrimental impacts on finfish and shellfish populations.
If elected, I will advocate that pre-closure practices be enacted such as the use of closed cycle cooling systems that reduce thermal pollution and the subsequent deleterious effects on finfish and shellfish stocks. Further, I will also advocate for appropriate post closure storage and relocation of spent fuel rods to minimize and eliminate impacts to the surrounding areas through vigorous inspections, licensing and oversight by the Commonwealth as far as the state’s authority will allow.
We need to protect rare species native to the Cape region and waters that attract and enhance ecotourism and the fishing industry in a mutually beneficial manner. Rare local flora, shorebirds and marine mammals need vigilant preservation efforts to survive and thrive in a developing and seasonally populous ecosystem. i spent my college years as a whale videographer, developing a knowledge of and compassion for the plight of these threatened treasures, the marine mammals that attract tens of thousands of ecotourists annually.
If elected, I will fight for a strengthening of the Commonwealth’s regulations in keeping with the goals of the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, ensuring that coastal law enforcement and locally certified mariners are educated and aware of the importance of rare species, best practices in navigation around said animals and the stiff penalties to be paid in the event a regulation is violated. I will work with fellow legislators, the appropriate scientific advocates and conservation communities to enhance protections for sensitive habitats on land and in the surrounding coastal areas to protect rare species and promote healthy environments in which they may survive and thrive.
Cape Cod is blessed with a rich mix of arts and cultural organizations. Cape Cod Community College and the College Light Opera Company (CLOC) at Highfield Theatre in Falmouth are two places where I have had personally significant arts and cultural experiences.
I actually started my college career at 4Cs as a music major, performing with the college’s chorus and chamber choir, and was later recruited to the MasterSingers of Cape Cod. I also performed with the college’s Janus Players. I was well prepared at our local institution for further education that culminated in volunteering with the Pops By The Sea concert, tryouts for the Tanglewood Chorus of the Boston Symphony and acceptance to the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Continuing my love of theatre on the Cape and elsewhere, I have been a regular patron of this fine summer stock experience that CLOC offers at Highfield Theatre. I have taken my son Kai to Les Miserables and Gilbert & Sullivan performances, cultivating a love of drama in him as well. Kai was cast as a guest artist in The Sorcerer this season and was recruited to serve as assistant stage manager for the 2016 summer season.
I will be a champion of arts education and Programs for our Youth and would supportrequiring one year of arts education in high school for admission to the state university system.
In Bourne, as the town’s representative to the Cape Cod Commission and a de facto member of the town’s Main Street Steering Committee, we applied for a state grant to encourage property owners to participate in a street façade improvement competition and awarded tens of thousands of dollars in grants to the winners. Aesthetically pleasing storefronts that would entice business growth in their own businesses as well as serve as an encouragement to neighboring properties were promoted. I would propose to partner with private property owners to use vacant or underutilized properties as ‘local art incubators’ and promote an awareness of the importance of arts and culture in the community, as I advocated in Bourne for the Hoxie Center at Sagamore Beach for Art, Science, Education and Culture, an adaptive reuse of a vacant town-owned school structure. I supported the use of Community Preservation Act funds to be used to rehab the structure and bring cultural programs to the town.
The Cape has been an attractor for artists of every sphere for decades, and these artists helped to lay the foundation upon which the Cape tourism economy has been. Tax incentives for large scale development have been routinely awarded to bring businesses to our area; we should explore a similar treatment for arts, theatre, music and architecture that embodies the spirit of the ‘community character’ for which the Cape is known. There have been state-wide campaigns to market the Commonwealth as a place for people to live and thrive (remember the ‘Make It In Massachusetts’ slogan?), and we should propose plans to showcase the unique cultural offerings in on Cape Cod, such as the Cape Symphony Orchestra and the Cape Cod Museum of Art, network the various museums across the state, and ensure that the Massachusetts Department of Tourism has adequate funding to encourage visitors to consider these in visiting or relocating to Massachusetts.
As a nearly lifelong year-round resident of Cape Cod and having been raised by a single mother on a very limited income, I am personally vested in promoting the cause of affordable care and viable health options for women and families. I have advocated for affordability and freedom of access to the best health care possible for women and children on the Cape and will continue to do so for the Commonwealth if elected.
We need to embrace smart growth concepts that utilize Cape Cod Village Centers, in conjunction with Local Comprehensive Plans that allow each community to decide for itself where and what type of development is appropriate. Using modern form-based zoning that allows for vision concepts to show what kind of look and feel to be achieved overall as the goal, rather than traditional zoning that looks mainly at an individual build without taking into account the community context. Define (as a community) what the best mix of growth vs. conservation achieves the environmental, aesthetic and financial goals of a town should be and enact best practices to encourage these balanced goals. Fewer non-permeable paving surfaces that hinder water recharge, more vegetated buffers and scenic plantings in parking lots and landscape around larger scale development. Require development to host their own non-nitrogen and non-phosphorous contributing sewer or septic solutions. Require more alternative energy generation and LEED certification in new and re-builds.
I am on record as having voted against the project when it came before the Cape Cod Commission and I served as the Town of Bourne representative. I voted to procedurally deny without prejudice the project for the simple reason that the developers and their attorneys refused to furnish the information we needed within the review time frame for us to exercise out due diligence.
Although I am a proponent of alternative energy in general and see real opportunities in wind energy generation in particular, I maintain concerns over siting turbines within close proximity to residential neighborhoods where public health and safety may be adversely impacted, and property values could likewise suffer negative effects.
I also voted against the New Generation Wind project that came before the Cape Cod Commission for the village of Bournedale in the town of Bourne because of the regular refrain of similar concerns expressed by literally hundreds of my neighbors.
I do, however, see potential improvements and opportunities in the new offshore wind proposal for the waters 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard. I will be watching this project very closely as it moves forward with better technology, siting and financing as proposed. I am also even more optimistic about the number of solar arrays that are being pursued across the Cape and SouthCoast region, and the advent of hydrokinetic electrical generation in the Cape Cod Canal as more attractive, less invasive and innovative business attractors to the region.