Friday, December 4, 2009
Tuesday’s primary offers six choices for U.S. Senate
Next Tuesday, December 8, is the date of the Special Primary Election for the contest to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated last summer by the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. In Carlisle, the polls will be open at Town Hall from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and absentee ballots may be requested up until noon on Monday, December 7.
Three ballots will be available: Republican, Democrat and Libertarian, though in the case of the Libertarian Party there are no names printed on the ballot, only a space for a write-in candidate. While he does not appear in the primary election, Joseph L. Kennedy (not related to Ted Kennedy) is running in the General Election. Kennedy is member of the National Libertarian Party, but is running as an unenrolled candidate (for more information, see www.joekennedyforsenate.com).
The Democratic primary ballot lists four candidates: Michael E. Capuano, Martha Coakley, Alan A. Khazei and Stephen G. Pagliuca, while the Republican ballot lists two choices: Scott P. Brown and Jack E. Robinson. For those who may still be unfamiliar with the backgrounds of some of the contenders, there are a few days left to bone up. The following summary is based on the candidates’ information and opinions stated on their websites, as well as additional biographical data from the Boston Globe and www.wikipedia.com. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order within each party:
Michael E. Capuano – Democrat
Early background: Born in 1952, earned a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1973 and a law degree from Boston College Law School four years later.
Work experience: The only candidate with national political experience, he is serving his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 8th Massachusetts District. Prior experience includes serving five terms as mayor of Somerville.
On the issues: According to his website,Capuano voted against the Congressional Resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq in October, 2002. He also voted against the US PATRIOT Act, opposes the death penalty and is pro-choice. On environmental issues, Capuano supports increasing the corporate average fuel economy (CAFÉ) standards to reduce vehicle emissions and fuel consumption. He supports alternative energy sources and is in favor of the Cape Wind project to create a wind farm off Cape Cod. He is in favor of a cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emission and supported the Climate Stewardship Act. Capuano opposes a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. In education, he voted against the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, which he believes is flawed, however he would increase aid to schools. Regarding health care reform, Capuano supports a “public health insurance option.”
Martha Coakley - Democrat
Early background: Born in 1953, she graduated from Williams College in 1975 and earned a J.D. from the Boston University School of Law in 1979.
Work experience: Coakley is the Massachusetts Attorney General. From 1999 - 2007 she served as Middlesex District Attorney. Earlier, she was Assistant District Attorney in Lowell District Court and practiced law in Boston.
On the issues: Her website states that on the environment, Coakley considers climate change a “pressing moral issue” and “believes America needs a comprehensive approach to lowering our energy costs, meeting our energy needs and protecting our environment.” She says, “Based on what I know about the President’s planned troop increase, I do not believe we should send additional troops into Afghanistan.” Regarding the environment, she favors a cap and trade program and would increase the use of renewable energy such as wind. Coakley is “a steadfast champion of Roe v. Wade.” She opposes the death penalty and defends the right of same-sex marriage. Coakley would like to improve NCLB to move away from the Adequate Yearly Progress testing that she says does not adequately account for the fact that not all children learn at the same rate. She supports universal preschool and all-day kindergarten. On health care, she supports “an individual mandate and a public insurance option that will complement the existing employer sponsored insurance.”
Alan A. Khazei - Democrat
Early background: Born in 1961, he graduated from Harvard College in 1983 and Harvard Law School four years later.
Work experience: If successful, this would be his first experience in elected office. Khazei is the CEO, currently on leave, of Be The Change, Inc., which he founded in 2007. The non-profit organization is, according to www.bethechange.org, “dedicated to strengthening American democracy by uniting citizens, social entrepreneurs, the service world and leaders from every sector of American society behind a bold agenda for change.” One of the programs is ServiceNation, a campaign to encourage community service volunteering by all ages. Khazei is perhaps best known as a co-founder of City Year, a non-profit community service program begun in 1988 and now affiliated with Americorps. According to www.cityyear.org, the service corps ‘unites 1,500 young people age 17-24 for a year of full-time community service, leadership development, and civic engagement.’
On the issues: According to his website, he supports passing climate change legislation and the Cape Wind project. Khazei is opposed to sending more troops to Afghanistan. He is pro-choice and will work “to ensure that all LBGTQ Americans win the right to marry whom they choose.” Khazei opposes the death penalty and “supports common-sense gun laws and ownership for responsible citizens.” In education, he believes all children should have access to education from pre-kindergarten through college. He favors the Senate healthcare bill and would reform the medical malpractice system.
Stephen Pagliuca - Democrat
Early background: Born in 1955, Pagliuca received a BA from Duke University in 1977 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1982.
Work experience: A businessman, Pagliuca has not yet held elective office. He is co-owner of the Boston Celtics and serves on the Board of Governors of the National Basketball Association. He is one of 70 Managing Directors of Bain Capital, the $65 billion private investment company founded in 1984 by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, among others.
On the issues: He is a critic of the Iraq war and also states, “I am wary of sending more troops to Afghanistan without a compelling strategy that outlines how they will be used and the strategic goals their deployment will support.” He is pro-choice and supports same-sex marriage. Pagliuca supports “clean energy technology” and the Cape Wind project. On education, he supports universal preschool as well as providing more aid to college students and increased funding for job training programs. Regarding healthcare, Pagliuca supports universal coverage with a “strong public option” and would look to address healthcare costs through payment and tort reform.
Scott Brown - Republican
Early background: Born in 1959, he graduated from Tufts University in 1981 and the Boston College Law School in 1985.
Work experience: Currently in his third term as a State Senator, he previously served three terms as State Representative. Prior to that, he was a Selectman in Wrentham. Brown is a Lt. Col. in the Judge Advocate Generals Corps of the Massachusetts National Guard.
On the issues: On his web site, he states, “I am a free-market advocate who believes that lower taxes can encourage economic growth.” He is in favor of the death penalty. He states, “I support the Second Amendment and believe that citizens have the right to keep and bear arms as a basic constitutional liberty.” On abortion he says, “While this decision should ultimately be made by the woman in consultation with her doctor, I believe we need to reduce the number of abortions in America.” He does not support same-sex marriage and says that states should be free to make their own laws regarding marriage. On the environment, he opposes a national cap and trade program. He favors “reasonable and appropriate development of alternative energy sources.” In education, he is a “strong advocate of METCO.” He supports charter schools and the MCAS as a graduation requirement. Regarding healthcare reform, he states, “I believe that all Americans deserve healthcare coverage, but that we shouldn’t have to create a new government insurance program to provide it.”
Jack E. Robinson III - Republican
Early background: Born in 1960, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Math and Economics from Brown University in 1982. In addition, he earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1985 and an MBA from Harvard Business School the following year.
Work experience: He is an attorney and businessman, who has not yet held elective office. Robinson is General Counsel for Benistar, a company that administers employee health and welfare benefit plans. Prior to this position, he has worked as an executive in the airline industry and founded a wireless communications company in the Caribbean.
On the issues: On his website he lists foreign policy priorities, “Our military and financial resources should be focused on assisting Pakistan.” He would also like to “Do more to support and strengthen Israel against growing Iranian and Palestinian threats.” He supports gay marriage and is pro-life. Robinson supports “renewable and sustainable energy sources like nuclear, wind and solar.” He supports the Cape Wind project. Regarding healthcare reform, he states a “Goal: Repeal Pelosi’s healthcare bill before it destroys America.” He proposes a detailed 12-point healthcare plan, which includes: reform Medicare along the lines of Medicare Advantage; have the federal government fund all Medicaid costs; encourage small business health plans; allow employers and individuals to buy health insurance in any state; enact Tort Reform to reduce damages awarded in lawsuits against doctors and hospitals.
The General Election will be held next month on Tuesday, January 19, 2010. The last date to register to vote is Wednesday, December 30. Absentee ballots will be available until 5 p.m. on Friday, January 15. ∆
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