Four Democrats seek to fill the Second Suffolk and Middlesex state senate seat vacated by Steven Tolman. The special preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Dec. 13. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Patch asked all four candidates a set of questions, the same set, to find out more about them.
1 - What areas of the state budget could be altered to make it more efficient, and how?
The Commonwealth regularly faces a budget deficit and has taken numerous steps to reduce waste and reform government. It is now clear, however, that we cannot cut our way out of this economic crisis and we cannot continue to ask working people and the most vulnerable to bear the burden alone. We have to make large corporations and the very wealthy pay their fair share so that we can invest in our schools, our seniors, our public transportation, and our infrastructure. If elected, I would:
- Close corporate loopholes and eliminate or reform corporate tax credits.
- Support restoring the income tax rate while increasing personal exemptions for low and middle income workers, which would shift more of the tax burden to those who can afford it while protecting those who cannot.
- Support an amendment to allow for a progressive, graduated income tax to be sure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes.
- Support "claw-back" provisions to recover tax credits and other incentives from corporations that fail to live up to their promises.
We cannot cut our way out of this crisis. We have to invest in our people and our future.
2 - How will you ensure you serve all the residents of the district, not just those from your hometown, or current district?
I have lived in communities throughout the district. I was born in Cambridge, lived in Watertown for four years, and have made Brighton my home ever since, so I know that people across this district share the same values and the same concerns. In this campaign, I have knocked on doors in every part of this district. Everywhere I go, I talk about the need to increase revenues and the need to invest in people and infrastructure. And in every community, people are in complete agreement. They understand that the cuts from the State House are short-sighted. They know that we have to make large corporations and the very wealthy pay their fair share so we can invest in our future.
3 - How would you encourage businesses to move into the district, and what kinds of businesses and development would you like to see come in?
Vibrant small businesses are essential to the health of our communities. Investment in our infrastructure and people is the most important step we can take to support small businesses and encourage economic development. Without beautiful open space, functioning public transportation, safe and fun playgrounds, and a strong educational system, businesses will not come to or stay in the district.
As State Senator, I would also support efforts to influence banks to provide loans and credit to small businesses. Many banks are sitting on billions of taxpayer dollars from the bailout and that money should responsibly be made available.
I am opposed to big box stores in the district, and oppose Walmart coming into Watertown, and Lowes into Brighton.
4 - How would you like to see public schools in Massachusetts improve?
I am a product of public schools and understand their importance to our families and our future. Much of the income gap in our society results from a difference in the quality and quantity of education. In order to be prepared for the jobs of the future, we must provide a quality education to all children. There has also been a significant transformation of work in this country over the last 50 years. Many have seen their opportunities erode because the skills necessary to succeed in our world economy have changed.
As State Senator, I would support increased funding for early childhood education, including mandatory pre-K and full-day kindergarten because early education is vital to success in school and in life. I would fight for increased Chapter 70 funds for our communities so they can maintain small class sizes and outstanding teachers in every classroom. And, I would ensure we provide funding for continuing education, including vocational training at our community colleges, so that members of our community can continue to learn and update their skills.
5 - Tell us something about yourself that voters wouldn't know, but should know.
I am the youngest of eight children, raised in a working class family. We weren’t starving, but we definitely struggled. So when I say that I understand what families are going through right now - I lived it. At 17 I enlisted in the Army, and after two years at Fort Benning, Georgia, I attended the University of New Hampshire with the help of the GI-Bill, Stafford Loans and Pell Grants.
While in college I joined the Army reserves. Ten months later I found myself on a plane to Saudia Arabia. The experience of serving in the First Gulf War changed my life. When I came home, I swore to myself that I would always serve my community in some capacity. I now volunteer my time on the boards of the Presentation School Foundation and the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund, and I served on the board of the Gay and Lesbian Bar Association. As a small business owner, I know first-hand how local industry is vital to our economic growth, and that state government must help small businesses to succeed.
I have been trying to do my part from the outside, but I cannot sit on the sidelines while we undermine the ability of a kid like me to change his or her life. That is why I ask for your vote on Dec. 13.