As a part of my Meet the Candidate Series, I sat down and talked with Eric Lesser, Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts.
An energetic, visionary, and proven leader, Eric Lesser will partner with our next Governor to make sure she is the most successful Governor in the country. Together, they will work to fix our broken transportation system, build more housing, create better jobs, protect our environment, and make our state more affordable and equitable.
Eric understands that Massachusetts has so much going for it. But despite our Commonwealth’s considerable advantages, it’s harder and harder to live here. It’s too expensive – housing is out of control, transportation is unreliable, and childcare costs are crushing families. Meanwhile, small pockets of our state boom while entire regions are left behind. Our current situation doesn’t work: it creates skyrocketing prices and gridlock in some places, and vacuums jobs and opportunity from others.
Eric is ready to confront the reality that Massachusetts, despite its progressive history, has become one of the most unequal places in the country. Especially as we face the crippling impact of COVID-19, we have an obligation and an opportunity to do better.
Eric first ran for Senate in 2014. He was elected on his vision to confront the opioid epidemic, create high-tech manufacturing jobs, and advocate for a bold new idea — high-speed passenger rail between Pittsfield, Springfield and Boston — to finally tie our Commonwealth together.
Eric hit the ground running, authoring successful legislation to close the pharmacy shopping loophole for addictive opioid painkillers. He also passed a new law creating a bulk buying program for Narcan — a drug that reverses opioid overdoses — to ensure that schools and first responders could afford this life-saving treatment.
To create economic opportunity for a new generation, Eric worked across party lines to help pass the most significant zoning reform in 40 years, unlocking thousands of units of new housing construction and making homeownership possible again for young families. He stood up to financial sector lobbyists to pass a Student Loan Bill of Rights, setting new protections for almost one million student borrowers statewide.
Eric’s vision is about taking our Commonwealth’s greatest attributes and extending them to the people and regions that are overlooked. He is leading efforts to transform our former industrial centers like Springfield, Lowell, Brockton and New Bedford into hubs for building solar panels, medical equipment, and wind turbines. He has worked with civil rights groups and entrepreneurs to diversify our high-growth technology sector. He led the Senate’s efforts to extend Governor Deval Patrick’s landmark life-sciences initiative, leading to new medical research centers in Springfield, Greenfield, Worcester, and Cape Cod, and new paid internship and apprenticeship programs at our community colleges and urban high schools.
Topics discussed in this episode include:
- Eric discusses his background in the Pioneer Valley (01:46)
- Eric’s political experience, prior to becoming a State Senator, working four years for President Obama. (03:55)
- The issues facing Western Massachusetts that Eric feels uniquely qualified to address, if elected (07:37)
- The Casino project in Springfield (09:30)
- Eric’s thoughts on the Opioid Crises (11:30)
- Statewide housing cost reduction (15:09)
- Eric’s views on Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented residents of Mass. (16:39)
- The Fair Share Amendment, aka The Millionaire’s Tax (17:05)
- Closing Statement (17:39)
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