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Jim Marzilli

Jim Marzilli

State representative JIM MARZILLI — Arlington resident, expert gardener, Democrat, Prius-owner — is running for state senate. In an era of skyrocketing gas prices, reliance on foreign oil, and pollutants alleged to cause everything from asthma to autism, Marzilli's record stands out.

"I think what we need to do is re-engage Middle America,” he says, “so that they don't think of environmentalism as saving bunny rabbits, but also as saving their own lives."

Marzilli was named "Environmental Legislator of the Year" by the Environmental League of Massachusetts in 2001 for his work linking environmental protection and tax policy. With fellow representative Matthew Patrick, Marzilli authored the Energy, Climate, and Economic Security Act. Right now, he co-chairs the Energy and Environment Committee of the Council of State Governments. He's also participated in four rounds of the UN Kyoto climate-change treaty negotiations.

Closer to home, there's Sustainable Arlington, a local initiative to enhance the town's eco-friendliness. With Marzilli's support, they converted streetlights to high-efficiency, focused light (reducing costs and glare) and helped the town library eliminate wasted light, saving Arlington more than $100,000. At home, his garden is pesticide-free. And his windows? Double-paned for maximum insulation, of course.

As goes Marzilli, so goes the rest of the city. He thinks Boston's moving in the right direction. "We have big changes going on in the State House and a highly motivated mayor of Boston, who's really embraced urban environmentalism," he says. With a platform featuring a Green Building Tax Credit that provides incentives to builders who use environmentally sound practices, and a Clean Car Initiative to create a sliding-scale sales tax based on a vehicle's fuel efficiency, Marzilli hopes that he'll fit right in.

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