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State Rep. Candidates' Question: Which House Committees Do You Want Be A Member?

Part of a series of weekly questions to the candidates for the 24th Middlesex District race.

Each week for the remainder of the campaign, Belmont Patch will be providing a "Question of the Week" to the candidates for the House of Representative's 24th Middlesex District – Jim Gammill, Tomi Olson and Dave Rogers – that will run until the week before the election.

This week's question is where the candidates would like to focus their service in the House and why.

Question

If elected, what would be your first two choices for committees assignments in the state House of Representatives and why?

Jim Gammil, Independent

Every newly elected member looks forward to sitting down with the Speaker to discuss committee assignments, and I will be no different.  Fortunately, I already know Democratic Majority Whip Rep. Byron Rushing, having worked with him for years as officers of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, and I will ask him to make the proper introductions for me. I will respectfully acknowledge the Speaker's authority, including in the organization of the House, and I will mention my expertise and experience in the areas of finance, technology, and government, and my versatility, creativity, and collegial demeanor.

As the Independent, I will be like a free agent in the sports world. I will be looking for the right team (committee) to be a part of, so that I can come to play (work) every day. In a body like the legislature, a team-first perspective goes a long way.

"Put me where I can be of most help" is what I'll say. I think it is important to establish a strong working relationship, bounded by mutual respect, with the chairs of my committees. I will do my part through my hard work, my analytic capabilities, and my political insights.  

But for those who want a traditional answer to Franklin's question, here it is:  Ways and Means, and Health Care Financing. That's where the money is.

Tomi Olson, Republican

My first two choices are:

• Committee on Post Audit and Oversight, and

• Bonding, Capital Expenditure, and State Assets.

My reason for both these committees is essentially the same. I firmly believe that government should be open and transparent. I also believe that the Commonwealth can provide for the common good without excessive taxation and waste. As a Financial Services Professional, I work in the one of the most regulated industries. I know what it means to be held accountable to regulators on a quarterly basis, but more importantly to my clients for the way I've handled their investments. Because I understand from experience what it means to have fiduciary responsibility for other people's money, I believe I can contribute a unique perspective and bring high level of accountability to Beacon Hill.

Over the past several months, citizens have learned of no less than three scandals that involve a lack of oversight: the EBT abuses, the chemical drug lab debacle, and mystery of the missing fares at that MBTA. I wish I could believe that these are exceptions to the rule and our State agencies are normally efficient, without waste, and entirely free from corruption.

Unfortunately I fear that we are just scratching the surface. I honestly hope I’m wrong. Notwithstanding the situation, whatever it may be, the best way to keep government functioning efficiently, honestly, and without waste  is to have an effective and deliberate process when it comes to bonding – borrowing – and spending. Likewise is it necessary to have vigorous oversight to ensure that the money borrowed and spent is in fact being used judiciously and for the purpose the Legislature intended.

Dave Rogers, Democrat

I would be very interested in serving on the Joint Committee on Transportation and the House Committee on Ways and Means. There is so much potential with our transportation system, and I have several ideas to enhance and maintain our public transportation system, as well as transit for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians.

The House Committee on Ways and Means is crucial to ensuring that we live and spend within our means. Being fiscally responsible is tremendously important, for the short and long term. I believe we must maintain a budget, for us, and for future generations, and the House Committee on Ways and Means is where we ensure our financial security.

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