photo courtesy of Ballotpedia
In light of Biden’s inauguration, how are you feeling about the next four years?
Like a weight has been lifted. As I was sitting there watching the president take the oath, I looked around, and you could see people’s shoulders relax, you could see them hug each other and high five, it was really like the whole country could just exhale and begin to think about what’s ahead of us as opposed to constantly being in anxiety about what the day is going to bring.
How has your experience as Newton City Councilor influenced your values and approach as a Congressman?
The values of Newton are ones of respect, a deep appreciation for learning and curiosity, toleration,
being welcoming for diversity and being inclusive, and these are executive principles that have
been so under assault for the past four years. We had an administration that was by disposition
xenophobic, anti-intellectual, intolerant and non-inclusive, so I think really the core values have been under assault the past four years. Being a son of Newton, I feel like we have such an opportunity in this new administration and in the 2020s to reestablish the United States as the ‘City on a Hill’ that we know it can be.
Along the campaign trail and in his inaugural address, President Biden spoke of his
goal to unite all Americans under his leadership. Is unity the right path forward?
I have said frequently that the emphasis must be on truth and justice. There can be no unity without
building a foundation on truth, and there can be no unity without justice.
Could you tell me about your experience on Jan. 6?
It was a dark day for democracy. … [After], we decided to go to the Capitol Rotunda to film a video
for our constituents, so we could talk to them during this, so we could reunite and reassure our constituents that we were going to be finishing the work and fulfilling our constitutional responsibilities, and walking into the Capitol Rotunda, we saw on the walls, these magnificent paintings of great moments in American history, the signing of the Constitution and other moments, yet all
around was trash and the decadence of the mob, and to see what looked like an abandoned tailgate
on the floor and shattered glass was a grim reflection.
Given the disparity between how the police responded to the Black Lives Matter protests and the insurrection at the Capitol, what is your vision of policing going forward?
I have signed on to several letters asking the Department of Homeland Security, the Department
of Defense and the Capitol Police to do in-depth analyses into failures of conduct between the
security agencies that led to the breach and to identify any officers for collusion either explicitly
or implicitly with the insurrectionists.
What values should guide schools’ transitions to in-person learning models and an
eventual learn to in-person learning?
There is no bigger set of priorities than vaccinating Americans and doing surveillance polymerase
chain reaction (PCR) testing in public schools. We need to return kids to full in-person learning as
soon as safely possible, and to do that we have to use testing to build confidence among students,
parents, teachers and administrators that we can maintain a low incidence of positivity and that
we can catch and contain outbreaks early.
What is one message you have for students?
They are living right now with the repercussions of incompetent federal policy over the last four
years, and let this be a clarion call for them to engage with public service in any form that they
think makes sense because it’s only by engaging themselves that we can be sure that this country