Friday, October 22, 2010
Contenders for office of State Senator share their views
Questions submitted to the candidates
• Please tell us a little about yourself, your background and experience.
• Why did you decide to run for public office?
• What do you think are the three top priorities for the Mass. legislature today?
• What steps would you take to improve the economy, with specifics for their impact on Carlisle?
• Are you concerned about climate change? If so, what steps will you take?
• Is the Chapter 40B affordable housing law needed? Why or why not?
• Are you in favor of casino gambling? What are your reasons?
I was born in Waltham, the oldest of four children. When I was only three years old, my father was killed while training as a fighter pilot to serve in the Korean War. My mother was five months pregnant with their fourth child.
After my father’s death, my family settled in Chelmsford. My mother remarried, and I became a sister to three more brothers. My early years were framed by hard work and a strong sense of family. I excelled in school and went on to attend the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
I married during college and ultimately had five children. When my children were small, I founded my own Information Technology consulting company so that I could fulfill my primary responsibility as mother. I instilled in my children my own cherished values – hard work, a strong sense of family, and a love of country. Both of my sons now serve in the Marine Corps, and one of my daughters has served six years in the US Air Force. My youngest recently graduated from Holy Cross College and has begun her career in biology.
While raising my family, I also became involved in politics and eventually served as State Director of Concerned Women for America. I have served as a Chelmsford Town Meeting Representative, was a board member of the Chelmsford Youth Soccer Association, volunteered to serve on several different committees serving the local schools, and have been an active member of the Chelmsford Republican Town Committee.
I have decided to run for this Senate seat because our legislature is out of touch with the communities that it is supposed to represent. For example, our current senator recently (on May 19, 2009) voted to increase the income tax, voted to increase and expand the sales tax (which is most regressive on the working poor), and then, months later, publicly declared that her tax hikes were bad for the economy.
My top three priorities are jobs, economy and taxes. For too long, the Massachusetts Legislature has focused on collecting as much money as possible from the taxpayers, and then looking for ways to use it to maximize their chances for re-election. We can no longer afford this paradigm and I will take my oath seriously and serve with honor.
My economic plan focuses on the creation of jobs in the private sector through a reduction in state taxes and regulatory barriers to business investment.
The plan has four components:
1. Utilization of information technology and removal of restrictions on contracting to reduce the costs of state and local government services.
2. Repeal of the increase to 6.25 percent in the state sales tax rate that was enacted this year and the $500 million business tax increase passed by the legislature in 2008.
3. Working with our federal representatives for policies that encourage capital formation and against policies that discourage investments in technology and research intensive industries.
4. Proposals for better utilization of stimulus dollars the Commonwealth receives from the federal government.
In addition, I would work with fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the Chapter 70 formula is being applied fairly to every town. I will eliminate unnecessary unfunded mandates on cities and towns and will simplify and correct the system by which our tax dollars are returned to our communities. In the 2011 budget, Carlisle is being funded at 14.8153%, instead of 17% – thus is not receiving $363,010 that it would if the formula was working.
I believe that it is important for all of us to be good stewards of the environment. We should conserve energy as we move to economically viable alternative and renewable energy sources. These are steps that we can take at a local level to make a positive difference.
I believe that Chapter 40B was well intentioned, but is now doing more harm than good. The projects come with a disproportionate negative effect on seniors by creating a need for more infrastructure and placing a heavy tax burden on homeowners who are on fixed incomes. Affordable housing is important, but many towns and cities simply cannot afford the costs associated with it.
I oppose casino gambling. I believe that casinos are a bad idea for Massachusetts. They will hurt jobs, hurt families and cause our taxes to rise without providing better services. No state has ever solved its budget problems with gambling revenues. Solving our budget problems will require fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability, which are also priorities. ∆
I grew up in Peoria, Illinois, and moved to Massachusetts to attend graduate school at Harvard University. I have spent my adult life in public service, working as a public school teacher, newspaper editor, local selectman and senator. I was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Northwestern University and have two masters’ degrees from Harvard in teaching and public administration. I also attended graduate school in special education at Lesley University.
I am now Senate Chair of the Public Health Committee and the Council on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, Vice-Chair of the Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee and am a ranking member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and serve on several other committees.
I enjoy serving people and making life better for them. My local government experience and education have helped to prepare me for the Senate.
I will continuously pursue opportunities to attract and grow jobs by supporting sales tax cuts, economic development legislation and job training. Building on hard-earned victories, I will work to secure increases in local aid to municipalities. As Public Health Chairman, I want lower health insurance costs for families.
I want to increase local aid, which helps communities to maintain excellent schools and other public services. According to Northeastern University economist Barry Bluestone, companies choose to locate in our state because of the skilled workers, and the unemployment rate is lower than in other districts.
We should all be concerned about climate change. I will again file my bill to reduce energy costs in state agencies by 10%, which will save $40,000 a day. I wrote the Green Buildings Tax Credit and worked successfully to include an energy certification standard in new school construction. Schools in my district have reaped $200 million in school building construction funds, which have also created jobs. I supported the Green Communities Act, which puts Massachusetts in the lead in crafting comprehensive energy reform. We are at the forefront of clean energy policies and the development of alternative fuel sources.
Chapter 40B is 40 years old and needs updating, not repealing. Our need for affordable housing is greater than ever because real estate prices have escalated. Employees need to be able to afford homes, which keeps workers and young people in the state. To help seniors to stay in their homes I have passed a law to provide property tax relief to seniors in this state.
I strongly oppose casino gambling and played a leadership role in trying to kill the flawed proposal. Every state that has permitted casinos is in much worse financial shape than we are. The bill didn’t include a cost-benefit analysis and provide inadequate funds for addiction treatment and prevention of domestic violence and foreclosures. The casino industry is corrupt and creates problems such as money laundering and governmental corruption. ∆
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