Friday, November 3, 2000
Fargo versus Pryor in state senate race
In the Fifth Middlesex District, two-term state Senator Susan Fargo is being challenged by Andrew Pryor who is seeking his first public office. Both candidates mention education, the environment and healthcare as critical issues, but differ, largely along party lines, in their approach to financial matters and taxation. The district includes Bedford, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Lincoln, Sudbury, Wayland, Weston and half of Lexington and Waltham.
Incumbent Susan Fargo, Democrat
Fargo, a resident of Lincoln, believes that she can best represent the interests of towns such as Carlisle due to her better understanding of local issues and her proven legislative record. "Because of my experience in local government, I understand the concerns of balancing both growth and quality of life in our towns," she said. During her terms in the senate she has authored several pieces of legislation, including the Children's and Families' Protection Act which limits pesticide use in schools and day care centers. She sponsored a bill protecting medical personnel and patients in and around family planning-abortion facilities. Her pending Exotic Aquatic Species Plant Control proposes measures to control invasive weeds infesting Massachusetts waterways. She is currently the senate chair of the Joint Committee on Energy and serves on seven other legislative committees.
Her current legislative priorities include education, citing the need to balance funding formulas for programs such as special needs and pressures of significantly increased enrollment growth in some towns. A pressing environmental concern is the need for regional transportation, integrating roads, fast rail and other public transportation. However, she has opposed increased flights at Hanscom airport. In addition, she is concerned about the local economy, specifically the need to sustain a highly trained workforce and the availability of affordable housing. She opposes the five-percent cap on state income tax (ballot question 4) as this would significantly reduce support for education, healthcare and road improvements.
A graduate of Northwestern University, Fargo holds two masters degrees from Harvard, in teaching (MAT) and public administration (MPA). She was a teacher in the Newton Public Schools and served as a Lincoln selectman for two terms.
Challenger Andrew Pryor, Republican
Andy Pryor's signature cause is "to protect those most vulnerable in our society, children and seniors." One of his first priorities would be to initiate programs to educate parents, students and teachers on ways to protect children from abuse. He started the Sarah Pryor Foundation for victims of violent crimes, following the abduction and murder of his daughter Sarah.
Pryor, a resident of Waltham, believes that living in Massachusetts is too expensive. "We must lower our tax rate," he says. "No tax increases, and I favor a rollback of the 1989 'temporary' tax increase." A third priority is campaign finance reform. He supports the recently passed ballot referendum limiting total state senate race expenditures to $90,000 and a candidate's personal contributions to $100. Early in the race, he challenged Fargo to commit to these spending limits, but said that she declined, pointing out that the law does not take effect until 2002.
"We need a two-party system in this state," he states, and believes that he will bring "a new approach, new ideas, and fiscal responsibility."
Pryor graduated from Denison University with bachelor degrees in math and physics. He has held positions at Caterpillar Tractor Co., A.G. Edwards and Merrill Lynch, and has worked with non-profits, including the American Red Cross and most recently as the program director for the Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Center.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito