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Issues

As a 14+ year member of the Whately Selectboard, Jonathan Edwards has an extensive track record of accomplishment with critical issues facing the people of the 1st Franklin District and across Western Massachusetts.  Edwards' positions are rooted in this experience and his understanding of economic growth, state/local partnerships, climate change, education funding and many other issues.

However, as important as his experiences and developed policy positions are, he is also eager to listen and learn about the issues that are important to the residents of this great region.  Please feel free to communicate with Jonathan and he creates a policy vision for the 1st Franklin District.

JOB GROWTH & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

A critical path to realizing the best possible education, nutrition and food security, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, unparalleled public transportation and health care, along with so many other issues is to have strong, sustainable economic development and job growth.

Because of this, rural and urban economic development is perhaps the single most important issue we face in the 1st Franklin District and all of Western Massachusetts.  The 1st Franklin District and places across the four counties of Western Massachusetts have declining populations and a continuing challenge to fill the skills gap in a number of industries.  I see this firsthand with Information Technology through my professional lens at Tech Foundry, and I hear about it from countless stakeholders who work in the fields of advanced manufacturing, healthcare, education, retail,  and all other job sectors.

Job growth and economic development is not just a rural issue.  It is not just an urban issue.  It is an issue that cuts across our entire four-county region.  A strong greater Springfield economy will enhance economic opportunities in Hampshire and Franklin Counties as well as the Berkshires. A vibrant economy in rural parts of Western Massachusetts will add to the needed workforce and talent for Hampden County businesses.

If I am elected State Representative from the 1st Franklin District of Massachusetts I will immediately call for the permanent position of Assistant Secretary for Economic Development in Western Massachusetts.  We must have a person in a leadership position with a direct line to the Secretary of Housing & Economic Development and the Governor that is singularly focused on jobs and economic growth in our four counties.  As State Representative, I will also work regularly with leadership from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst to maximize the incubation capacity of the university system and ensure that Western Massachusetts is always at the cutting edge of the Innovation economy.  Further, I will utilize my significant experience with workforce development across the Pioneer Valley to foster a linkage between job growth and the need to fill the skills gap.

The next state representative from the 1st Franklin District must be a passionate advocate for our regional economy, ensuring that we are an asset to the rest of the state and that we constantly leverage the leadership of strong anchor employers such as UMass, MassMutual, Yankee Candle, Baystate Health, the many colleges across the region and strong manufacturing leaders such as U.S. Tsubaki and smaller precision manufacturers.

Jobs and economic growth is about passion, leadership and the entrepreneurial spirit.  We must work collectively to ensure that our populations from the most economically depressed sections of both rural and urban Western Massachusetts have 21st Century job opportunities right here in our region; the greatest region in Massachusetts to live, work and play.


RIGHT TO CHOOSE

I believe emphatically and without exception:  a woman has the right to choose! 

Control over one’s own body is an unquestionable right for any women in our society.  In Massachusetts we must be unwavering in this right, especially in the face of what could be sweeping changes to the United States Supreme Court and the prospects of a conservative bench over-turning Roe vs Wade. As a State Representative I will do everything in my power to ensure that women across the 1st Franklin District and all of Massachusetts have the Right to Choose preserved and protected


CLIMATE CHANGE

I have spent over a decade of my professional life fighting the generational immorality of climate change.  As a state representative I will work every day to implement policy and affect change that both adapts to and mitigates the disastrous consequences of our warming planet.

Through my work and passion for this issue, I am proud to have helped lead teams that won the Green Power Pilot Award from the Renewable Energy Marketers Association and the highly coveted EPA Clean Air Excellence Award.  One award for the promotion of clean energy use and another award for advocacy on college campuses for energy efficiency products and practices is evidence of my belief that mitigating and adapting to climate change is both an exercise of increased clean energy use but also the understanding the we must all use less energy as part of our everyday lives.  Our future is too important not to maximize both viable solutions.



Committee to Elect Jonathan Edwards
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