Will Brownsberger, State Senator
Fighting for justice -- for victims and for the poorWill Brownsberger has:
Built a consensus to give victims of child abuse better access to justice. Will led efforts to reform the statute of limitations in civil lawsuits for child sexual abuse. Bridging the gap between victims and institutional employers of perpetrators, his efforts led to a compromise in 2014 which had eluded victim advocates for over a decade. It was big step forward for victims.
Fought for Criminal justice Reform. While strongly respectful of the need to protect public safety and of the work that criminal justice professionals peform for the community, Will has been a strong and persistent voice for reform of the criminal justice system. He has worked to lighten the burden that incarceration and supervision have placed on communities of color. His efforts have become particularly significant in light of the tension in police communitiy relations in many communities across the country.
Fighting for our future - the economy, education, the environmentWill Brownsberger has:
Moved bill to ease barriers to innovation. Together with Rep. Lori Ehrlich, Will has led efforts to reduce the use of non-competition agreements in Massachusetts. These agreements prohibit employees from working for or creating potential competitors of an employer. While there is a legitimate need to protect intellectual property and other business assets, these agreements are overused and prevent people from forming new companies and even from getting new jobs after having been fired. Will has led a very collaborative process to strike the right balance on this issue including businesses and employee represenatives. In 2014, his efforts led to a 32-7 vote for a reform package in the Senate (not adopted by the House). Read more »
Led in passage of state's clean energy plan. In the 2007-8 session, Will worked hard to get the legislature to pass the Global Warming Solutions Act, a bill which requires the state to inventory its greenhouse gas sources and develop a plan to reduce them. He was recognized for his successful efforts by the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters. More recently, Will has worked to strengthen that plan and also won funding for adaptation efforts. Read more »
Won green transportation and bicycle laws. Will has been an energetic and effective advocate for improved transportation -- attending to transit and road issues across his district. He also led in passage of a bicycle safety bill that would give cyclists more rights on the road, while at the same time holding them to a higher standard of behavior by making it easier to ticket them. Read more about the bicycle safety bill »
Opened doors for virtual learning technology. We are not doing a good job training young engineers and at the same time we are losing to the streets many kids who have struggled academically. Differentiated learning technology will help us do much better by all of our children. Working with Rep. Marty Walz and Rep. Alice Peisch, Will passed legislation in 2012 to create new types of schools that make better use of technology. Read more »
Standing for transparency and fiscal responsibilityWill Brownsberger has:
Fought for reforms in public employee benefits. Will believes that employee benefit reform is necessary to preserve jobs and protect services. Public employees should have good basic benefits, like employees in a good private sector company. That means capping public pensions, radically simplifying the byzantine rules of the pension system and assuring that future taxpayers do not bear all the risk of poor stock market performance. It also means standardizing health benefits at a reasonable level. Will advocated for the major reforms in health and pension benefits achieved over the past two years and has been publicly recognized for his fair and thoughtful approach. Major reforms to pensions will only affect newly hired employees. Read more »
Opened up the bid process for House contracts. Until Will made an issue of it, the House of Representatives was spending millions each year on secret contracts awarded on a no-bid basis. The objects of spending were legitimate (technology, sound systems, etc.), but the business approach was antiquated and unlike that of any other state or local agency. As a result Will's efforts, the House now has a public bidding process for large contracts and the contracts are accessible to House members. Read more »
Made state spending details available online. If we are spending the taxpayers’ money, the taxpayers have every right to know just how we are spending it, whenever they want to and regardless of their reasons for wanting to. Yet, many experienced, thoughtful legislators who are in politics to serve feel that transparency creates distractions that are not in the real interest of the public. As a result of Will's advocacy for greater transparency (together with advocacy by other legislators), state law now requires that all state spending be readily viewable by the public online. Read more »
Stood against special interest tax deals. Will favors a much simpler business tax code. The state shouldn't be in the business of picking business winners and losers and handing out special deals to particular businesses or industries. In part as a result of his efforts, information about where tax benefits are going is now more accessible. Additionally, he has voted for repeal of the film tax credit, which pays 25% of film company production costs for film's produced in Massachusetts. Much of the benefit of that credit goes to out-of-state millionaires. These costly tax deals take away critical funds better spent on valuable state and local services such as schools, public safety and human services. Read more »
Taken a stand with contributions to his own campaign. In 2008, Will put in place a policy that his committee shall not accept contributions from Political Action Committees or from individual lobbyists who are not constituents. In 2012, serving a larger district that includes many lobbyists, he tightened that policy -- he now declines all contributions from lobbyists.View Will's campaign reports »
Working hard at the state houseWill Brownsberger has:
Won increases in annual education aid. Will has always been extremely attentive to the conversation about local aid in the state house, standing whenever feasible for increases in local aid, especially Chapter 70 education aid and special education aid. He played a role in 2007 in identifying and fixing problems with the education aid formula that understated aid due to his communities. In the last few sessions, he has been working to address the particularly poor treatment that Watertown receives under the Chapter 70 formula. His efforts led to a special provision in the Senate budget to help Watertown. While entirely committed to increasing local aid, Will has been responsible about balancing this with other legitimate state budget priorities. Read more »
Improved roads, paths, parks and housing. As a former local official, Will has a strong handle on the infrastructure priorities in his district and how to make sure that they are addressed. He has consistently played a very constructive role in moving infrastructure projects forward. Read more »
Monitored and helped control flooding. Over the past ten years, Will has played a strong leadership role in bringing together a regional collaboration to address the problem of flooding in the Alewife area. His leadership has resulted in the definition of a well-documented agenda for improvement, including completed items -- channel clearance along the Alewife Brook, sewer reconstruction in the Winn Brook area -- and major projects on the drawing board -- increased flow capacity at the Craddock Dam, increased pumping capacity at the Amelia Earhart Dam, dredging of Blaire Pond and the Alewife Brook. Read more »
Helped many people fight bureaucracy. Will understands how to help people work with the state. He has a professional respect and understanding for the rules and regulations that define state government and knows how to ask the right questions to make sure that everyone is getting a fair shake.