7. Environment

Dan served for 5 years on the board of directors of the premier environmental non-profit in his region, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod. He also was appointed to the stewardship council of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation by former Governor Mitt Romney, where he served for 7 years and as a member of the department’s finance committee saw first-hand the impact of serious cuts in our conservation and recreation efforts.

Traveling the state, he also learned about challenges each of our regions face. Storm impacts, invasive species, climate change manifesting in erosion and forest degradation, development pressure on land and water -- all are linked, and demand a clear understanding of the importance of our environment, and its protection.

In his first term in the Senate, Dan played a key role in advancing discussions about long-overdue comprehensive zoning reform for the state. Increasing business and residential density in community centers and near public transportation, while offsetting density with protected open space in less developed areas, is the kind of smart growth, win-win zoning that must be implemented.

Representing the Cape and Islands, where people visit and vacation from around the world, Dan sees constant proof that a healthy environment and a healthy economy are not only linked, they are synonymous: A steward of the environment is a steward of the economy.

On Cape Cod, the crucial environmental issue is how to reverse pollution caused by wastewater, mainly from private septic tanks, seeping into the peninsula’s bays, ponds and aquifer.

This challenge resonates across the Commonwealth: How to solve a crisis before it damages our environment beyond repair or severely impacts property values, without imposing heavy costs on homeowners and small businesses already struggling to make ends meet. Strong support from all levels of government -- town to county to state to federal -- is essential. Dan has been at the forefront of this effort, and would use this model state-wide.

Massachusetts also can be at the forefront of a policy that has gained support from economists across the political spectrum: Create a “carbon tax,” linking revenue to activities accelerating climate change, using policy to reduce our footprint, expecting those who create pollution to pay for more of its impacts.