Mike is firmly committed to human rights and he fiercely protects our civil liberties and individual freedoms.

Mike is a vigilant champion of civil rights and he believes that the right to vote remains the basis of all other rights. Mike also believes that the United States must support human rights globally.


Mike fiercely protects our civil liberties and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has honored him with their Champion of the Constitution award.

Mike voted against the Patriot Act because he thought it did far too little to protect our precious civil liberties. He also opposed the FISA Amendments Act because he believed it violated the protections of both the First and Fourth Amendments.

Mike is also a vigilant champion of civil rights and he believes that the right to vote remains the basis of all other rights. Mike proudly co-sponsored the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Reauthorization Act, maintaining the provisions of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965. He is determined to protect the integrity of every vote cast, and has insisted that any nationwide reform of voting include the right of every citizen to demand a paper ballot.   As a member of the Somerville City Council, his leadership was pivotal in making Somerville the first city in Massachusetts to adopt optical scanners. This system is now recognized as the gold standard of election technology.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has honored Mike with their Champion of the Constitution award.

Mike is firmly committed to individual freedom. He co-sponsored legislation to repeal the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) which the Supreme Court later ruled unconstitutional.

Mike believes the federal government must act to end the significant disparities that exist between sentencing related to crack and cocaine. The penalties associated with crack are significantly higher and fall disproportionately on persons of color. All too often the sentencing results in long mandatory minimum sentences. This is not a fair system.

Mike also believes that the United States must support human rights globally.  He has opposed trade agreements, such as Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China and CAFTA for Central America, because our negotiators did not insist on minimal protections for human rights and the right to organize independent trade unions.  He has joined with Amnesty International to support prisoners of conscience around the world and with programs like “Scholars at Risk” at Harvard in defense of courageous dissidents persecuted or driven into exile by authoritarian governments.

He has worked closely with the International Rescue Committee, the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights, and the Political Asylum and Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project to secure political asylum for survivors of torture and other atrocities and to reunite them with their spouses and children. Mike’s record earned him 100% ratings from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Campaign.

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