Rural Issues

Rural areas of Massachusetts face different challenges than the rest of our Commonwealth, but both their needs and their assets are too often overlooked. Joe recognizes that these unique strengths and challenges require distinct attention. Seeing rural towns as essential sites of stability and innovation, Joe is dedicated to dismantling the barriers to robust rural renewal. He is committed to showing up, listening, amplifying the voices in rural Massachusetts, and pursuing policy solutions to address their concerns. In particular, Joe’s top priorities are addressing the health care, education, housing, and infrastructure challenges necessary to allow rural towns to thrive.

Joe has advocated for increased funding to support community health centers and expand access to providers and hospitals in health care deserts – which includes fighting to keep existing hospitals’ doors open. He is also committed to taking on the opioid crisis, supporting a massive federal investment in community-based treatment centers and safe injection sites to help people living with addiction.

Like access to health care, rural communities face significant challenges in accessing quality education and housing. Joe believes we must ensure equitable funding for rural school districts, in order to guarantee a quality education to all children in Massachusetts. He has a strong legislative record of supporting STEM and vocational-technical education, both important pathways to accessing stable jobs in the current economy. Investing in the education of rural students can help create new pathways as well, giving young minds the chance to shape, not just hold, the jobs of the future. Joe is committed to helping create conditions for innovative, sustainable rural job creation, giving workers the possibility to stay in and reinvigorate their communities.

To address the unique housing challenges rural communities face, Joe supports policies to increase homeownership, assist local communities in tailoring solutions to their specific challenges, and encourage efforts to rehabilitate and revitalize vacant and deteriorated properties. These revitalization efforts have already found success in towns across New England, and their effect on community coherence and morale goes well beyond bare economic measures.

Joe is a strong advocate for much-needed efforts to revitalize infrastructure across rural Massachusetts. That includes not only rebuilding the crumbling roads and bridges that link our farms and mill towns, but also providing more efficient, reliable, and affordable public transit options. He is a vocal proponent of projects to expand regional access to our Commonwealth’s economic hubs, including the East-West rail and the South Coast rail. He believes rural infrastructure development must include expanding access to broadband and cell service, both critical in sparking economic activity and sustaining community connections. Finally, Joe strongly believes that any infrastructure investments must prioritize climate resiliency, empowering our communities to adapt and prepare for the health and safety effects of climate change.