Helping our Neighbors in Need
If the COVID-19 pandemic proved anything, it is that public health is critical. It also showed the importance of helping our neighbors dealing with food insecurity, addiction and mental health.
John’s mother, Doris, was a nurse at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School and Cushing Hospital, not to mention an active member of the First Parish Church in Downtown Framingham where she was always first in line to help people. She could collect mittens, hats and scarfs to give to her students who didn’t have any. She left a lasting impact on everyone she met.
Opioid addiction is an epidemic that cannot be overlooked as it is affecting every segment of our community. We need to acknowledge the epidemic so we can break the stigma and change perspectives surrounding addiction and mental health. Addiction is a disease, not a choice.
As a Councilor, John:
- Fought to keep the Cancer Center open at Framingham Union Hospital, and continues to fight for high quality, community health care at the hospital;
- Support the efforts of Daniel’s Table, including fundraising to ensure the organization has the funds it needs to operate;
- Petitioned the Massachusetts Legislature increasing the size of Board of Health from 3 to 5 members;
- Formalized the Downtown Community Cares weekly working group, tasked with assisting those in Downtown Framingham with their mental and physical health needs;
- Advocated for the city to protect women’s reproductive rights;
- Supported the creation of the Opioid Stabilization Fund for the distribution of state settlement funds to address the opioid epidemic in our city.
Successful addiction treatment is dependent on ensuring continuous support throughout the recovery process, until our neighbors feel confident and comfortable with their quality of living. Our neighbors afflicted with addiction need our compassion, our understanding and most importantly our support.
Working together with our public health and safety officials, social service agencies and our hospital, we need to ensure adequate and timely treatment for those in need.
John will continue to support public health efforts by:
- Reducing barriers to treatment through outreach to vulnerable populations. The aim to expand our capacity of essential resources in the area, specifically detox programs and mental health support;
- Educating our community on ways to proactively engage those who are suffering from opioid addiction. Therefore, promoting healthier relationships with our neighbors and realizing that no one deserves to be left behind while battling this disease;
- Continuing to advocate for high quality community health care for all at Framingham Union Hospital. Our local hospital is a literal lifeline to many in our community who cannot afford to go to Boston or Worcester;
- Advancing the development of a community center so our kids have a place to go for mentorship, support, activities and play;
- Supporting local efforts to fight food insecurity.
John's Work in Health Care
As a selectman and State Representative, John:
- Served as Vice Chair and Chair the Health Care Committee;
- Wrote legislation to bring single-payer health care to Massachusetts. While it did not pass, he introduced the legislation every new session;
- Started as a class project when he was a teacher at Framingham South, John worked with his students to ban smoking on school campuses. The idea started with his students, and he made it happen when he was elected state representative;
- Fought to keep Framingham Union Hospital open;
- Brought the Boys and Girls Club to Framingham.