LTE: Vote for Mary Ann Stewart

August 9, Lexington Minuteman.

Vote for Mary Ann Stewart for State Representative in the Democratic Primary on Tuesday Sept. 4.

Mary Ann Stewart holds to the principle that we share responsibility for public education, as we do for public transit, safe roads, public safety, and all the many services we rely.

My support for Ms. Stewart goes back to 2007 when she testified before the Joint Committee on Public Health. Talking about the impact of commercialism in schools, she spoke against moves to increase school funds that jeopardized the health of young people, such as having soda vending machines in school cafeterias. She called attention to boxtops-for-schools coupon programs that encourage consumers to buy boxes of brand-named cereals—a practice that benefits corporate profits whether or not it meaningfully benefits schools.

In 2011, active with the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Mary Ann started advocating and testifying on behalf of media literacy, a truly major issue for our time. In 2013, she helped launch Media Literacy Now. MLN works in Massachusetts and nationally, and has been instrumental in passing six new laws in five states. Teaching media literacy—knowing how to think critically about media in all its forms—is a cornerstone of the Act to Promote and Enhance Civic Engagement. The act was endorsed by Department of Education and passed by the Massachusetts legislature this session.

We need Mary Ann Stewart in the State House. We need a bold yet pragmatic thinker as representative who won’t just work within the status quo, but will see what we need down the road and work to move people in power toward it.

Margaret Heitz, Marrett Road, Lexington