Through hard work, a keen ability to navigate complex issues, and a demonstrated commitment to advocating for her constituents, Senate President Karen E. Spilka has established herself as a respected leader in state government.
Full Engagement in the Economy
Senate President Spilka believes that when all people in the Commonwealth have access to the opportunities to participate in Massachusetts’ economy—as well as the tools to succeed—we all benefit.
Throughout her public career, Senate President Spilka has advocated for equal access to quality education, the fundamental building block of individual and shared success. She has championed legislation and funding to promote self-sufficiency for people of varying abilities, programs that help children and families overcome trauma and build resilience, initiatives that enable older residents and veterans to receive job retraining, and bills that ensure that working women can provide for themselves and their families through equal pay for equal work. To help fulfill those goals and ensure a thriving economy, Senate President Spilka has led statewide and regional efforts to make it easier to start, run and keep businesses in Massachusetts.
These initiatives don’t just matter to the people they help. More people fulfilling their economic potential means they are more independent and less involved in the child welfare or criminal justice systems, or living alone, isolated and vulnerable to health problems, mental illness or substance abuse. This work helps us build community and promotes our ability to create healthy and thriving neighborhoods.
Regional Equity & Empowerment
Transportation. Infrastructure. Economic Development. Housing. Each region of the Commonwealth has unique assets and unique needs, and no one knows these better how to meet those needs and capitalize on those assets than the residents and local representatives of those regions. Senate President Spilka understands this, as has long been a vocal supporter or regional equity and empowerment.
Senate President Spilka’s first major initiative when coming to the Senate was to change the law to allow for the creation of a Regional Transit Authority—public bus service—in her district. Despite the fact that many people live and work in MetroWest, access to public transportation was limited. Senate President Spilka fought for both the law change and the critical funding needed to create the first RTA in MetroWest and the larger 495 region. As a result, more people were able to get to work, seniors and young people had more mobility, and major companies such as Bose, TJX and EMC/Dell were able to grow and thrive.
Senate President Spilka believes in listening to the regions to understand what they need to become stronger economic drivers, and better places to live and work. She knows that we only succeed as a Commonwealth if each region succeeds.
Social, Civil and Economic Justice
Senate President Spilka has always believed that everyone in Massachusetts—and in the United States—should have the right to love and marry whomever they choose, and to BE who they are. She was an early and ardent supporter of equal marriage and transgender protections.
While there are civil rights issues that easily catch the headlines, Senate President Spilka is aware that there are less visible struggles that can severely impact the ability of individuals and families to reach their full potential. She knows that access to justice should not be limited because of a person’s income level, race, background, gender or sexual orientation, or level of ability. She has fought fiercely for diversion of youth from the criminal justice system to break the school to prison pipeline, has argued for safe and adequate housing for all, and believes that the right to counsel and a fair trial is fundamental for all residents.
In the interdependent and changing world that our children face, fostering the ability to work together, create positive change and overcome adversity will be more essential than ever.
/ Senate president Karen E. Spilka /