Ms. Jacqueline Katz spends her days teaching students about historic elections, analyzing famous politicians, and contemplating policy decisions. This spring, however, she took the step from being a mere observer of politics and government, to becoming part of the action.
Katz has announced her campaign to run for the Massachusetts State Senate position for the Norfolk/Bristol/Middlesex district. She campaigns with the help of John Walsh, former governor Deval Patrick’s campaign manager. Passionate about climate change and making sure students and teachers have a voice in the government, Katz’s biggest concerns at this time are climate regulations and providing free state-wide college and kindergarten.
Influenced by her years of teaching, Katz hopes to see legislation regarding education passed through the State Senate. “I want free college tuition and free kindergarten across the state. I think that early education is really important, including pre-K,” said Katz. “A lot of research shows that kids who get a head start in those areas do better overall.”
Katz’s involvement in environmentalism — she is also the advisor to the high school’s Climate Action Club — has also grown into a place on her platform. “I want to be part of pushing through some more strict standards for cars, pushing through a ban on plastic bags throughout the state. I want to make it easier for communities to be green communities, and to make it easier for them to reduce waste,” said Katz on climate change regulations.
Although Katz wants to make a positive change throughout the state, she does not want to see government enter every aspect of life.
“I think that a lot of people think that government is the only answer to some of the problems we have, but a lot of the times it can be solved at the local level,” said Katz. “I think that government shouldn’t be involved in everyone’s lives all the time.”
Katz is working with Principal Dr. Jamie Chisum to make sure that her campaign and her teaching do not conflict.
“If we are going to have her campaign in the school, then we’d have to let everyone campaign in the school… I think that it is fine for students to know that she is running, but she can’t solicit support,” said Chisum.
In addition, as a public employee, Katz cannot fundraise directly, but she sees this as “just another hurdle that I will have to overcome”. In fact, Katz sees the fact that she is a public employee as an asset to her campaign.
“I don’t think that’s a good system when our government is full of lawyers, doctors, and people who can just work whenever they want to. It is very hard to run as a public employee [as a result of fundraising guidelines]; I think that it is something that takes a real commitment,” she said.
Chisum noted that Katz would likely have to depart from the school if she wins this position. However, he supports her moving forward with her campaign. “I want her to pursue what she is most interested in, just like [I want for] students,” said Chisum.
Katz will hold a kickoff event for her campaign on May 6 at the Norfolk County Library.