The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 22, 2010

Candidates for State Representative answer questions

Questions for 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?

Cory Atkins

(Incumbent)

Democrat, Concord

Background

I am a thirty-eight-year resident of Concord and mother of two children. Both are married and living in Concord and have prospered because of their education from the Concord and Concord-Carlisle systems. My experience in government is extensive and at all levels: local, state, national, and international. I have served on local boards, served as a member of the League of Women Voters, volunteered to weatherize people’s homes, helped train service dogs for the disabled and veterans, and have focused extensively on domestic violence issues. I decided to run for office because of the constant urging of friends and associates. My son finally convinced me that my work on issues would be more effective as an elected official, and he took a semester off from Georgetown to run my first campaign.

Top priorities, economy

My top priorities for the 14th Middlesex District have been and continue to be economic development, education and government reform.

The three top priorities for the Legislature today are jobs, jobs and jobs! Massachusetts has added 65,000 jobs in the last seven months, and our economy is growing twice as fast as the rest of the nation. But it is not enough. I have worked hard with the governor and leaders in the legislature to secure $300 million in state and federal funds for job retraining.

Additional dollars from Washington have allowed us to invest over $10 billion of much needed dollars to repair our crumbling roads and bridges. Our District has been awarded over $35 million dollars in stimulus funds that have been allocated to pay for education and local projects. This important infusion of funds has made it possible to retain teachers and forego massive layoffs of local employees. Twelve Carlisle residents have had a job saved or created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and a portion of 1,846 Carlisle residents’ salaries have been subsidized by ARRA funds.

Investment in education is critical because the majority of the Commonwealth’s business is knowledge intensive. Our economy is totally based on our brainpower.

I worked hard this session to protect our Chapter 70 allocations from cutbacks, and to insure that each town in the district is in line to get reimbursed from the School Building Authority for a school building project.

As the newly appointed vice chair of the Rules Committee I helped to secure a wave of reform, the first of which was term limits for the Speaker. The entire first half of this session was devoted to reforming the public pension system and laws pertaining to ethics. I was the only Democrat to vote against Speaker DiMasi twice.

Climate change

I am gravely concerned about climate change. As former Chair of the Science and Technology Caucus I worked with the governor to promote the expansion of clean energy and capture the green job market. New energy-efficiency programs will invest $2 billion over three years and hopefully provide $6.5 billion in savings for consumers.

I am the co-sponsor of legislation that seeks to improve recycling rates, expand the bottle bill, phase out the use of and exposure to toxic chemicals by using safer alternatives and legislation that mandates producer responsibility for collection, reuse and recycling of discarded electronic products, otherwise known as e-waste.

Chapter 40B

While the need for the Chapter 40B affordable housing law is highly debatable, the drastic need for affordable housing is not. The high cost of housing is the number one obstacle from making Massachusetts more competitive with other states for economic development. I have been a proponent of 40B for years, but I think the law, which was written in the 1960s, is antiquated and needs major revision; therefore, I will be voting for its repeal.

Casino gambling

I am not personally in favor of casino gambling or gambling in general. This year was the first time I voted for casinos because hundreds of people from the building trades visited my office asking for support of the legislation so that they could get a job. There has been a major depression in the building trades since the end of the Big Dig. I was deeply disturbed by reports from police chiefs in my district about an uptick in male suicides in my own towns attributed to personal job loss. Therefore, I support the concept of the governor’s plan, which would create three destination casinos without slot machines going to racetracks. His plan would create 15,000 jobs for the building trades sector.

I would appreciate your vote on November 2!

K. C. Winslow

Independent, Concord

Background

My name is K.C. Winslow. I live just over the Carlisle border in Concord with my husband and three sons. We love this area for its rich history and bountiful nature. I enjoy being an active member of the community, often hosting fundraisers for schools, sports programs and various charities. In the fall of 2008, around the same time that Carlisle was installing their new walking paths, I spearheaded a community effort for sidewalk extensions in Concord, which we call “Stroll on Lowell.” Through a public/private collaborative effort and a very generous neighbor, the Middlesex School, I am proud to announce the groundbreaking for the Lowell Road sidewalk extension this month. My profession is Real Estate. Being a realtor puts me in touch with the everyday concerns of working families and the tough decisions that families are faced with in this challenging economy.

I have decided to run for State Representative because I know I can make a difference and I feel a strong sense of responsibility to step forward, become a part of the solution and provide the voters of the 14th Middlesex a choice. I am a lifelong unenrolled (Independent) voter, always voting for the person and the issues, without regard to party. I am running because I feel that the political parties (and fringes) are taking us too far to the left and too far to the right, leaving most of us somewhere in the middle. I consider myself a moderate with fiscal conservative leanings and moderate to liberal on the social issues. I am not accepting donations from any political party, lobbyists or PAC, leaving me accountable to voters alone.

Top priorities

I believe the top three priorities of the Massachusetts legislature should be improving the economy, streamlining government to eliminate wasteful spending and maintaining a healthy state budget to ensure local aid and Chapter 70 funding to the municipalities.

Economy

Improving our economy should be the top priority of our lawmakers. It is my opinion that the worst possible thing we can do in an economic downturn is raise taxes, as we did in 2009 when we raised the sales tax rate 25% to 6.25%. We need to foster a friendlier business environment by removing uncertainty, reducing the soaring healthcare costs to businesses and providing tax credits and incentives for businesses to hire. A healthy economy will lead to a strong and balanced budget which will permeate into our towns and directly affect our real estate values, the property taxes we pay and the preservation of Carlisle’s top notch schools.

Climate change

With 25% of Carlisle being protected as conservation land, clearly our priorities include preserving our environment. I am very concerned about climate change and loss of habitat. I feel strongly that it is a basic human responsibility to pass along to the next generation a stable and healthy earth. The main impetus behind my sidewalk campaign was providing our neighborhood with the safety of a sidewalk to enjoy life’s simplest and greenest mode of transportation. Green initiatives including recycling, energy-efficiency programs and alternative energy sources will help to protect our environment while at the same time provide a growing source of industry and jobs. I feel strongly that Massachusetts should be at the forefront of alternative energy source technology like the Cape Wind project.

Chapter 40B

I support the repeal of the 40B law. Although I am completely in favor of the creation of affordable housing, and I acknowledge that 40B has contributed to our affordable housing stock since its inception in 1969, the flaws, the abuses and the downsides of the law, unfortunately outweigh the benefits. With developable land becoming more and more scarce, the incentive that 40B creates to develop land, 75+% of which is non-affordable is not practical, nor sustainable. It is not the affordable housing that I object to, it is the market rate/unaffordable housing and pro-development incentives that puts the preservation of our towns at risk. I recommend we replace 40B with incentives for redevelopment, preserving our housing stock and passing inclusionary zoning laws to include a certain percentage of affordable housing units for every development over a certain number of units. You can achieve the same end result without skirting our zoning and habitat protection laws.

Casino gambling

I am opposed to casino gambling. I am concerned with the crime, corruption and social costs that gambling will bring to our state. I believe that our lawmakers should be more focused on growing long term business opportunities like education, healthcare, technology and alternative energy sources. ∆


© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito