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 on Tuesday mornings.
Below is the question and the candidates' answers.Question of the Week: If elected representative of the 24th Middlesex District, what will be your first act on your first day in office?
Jim Gammill, Independent
If I'm elected, I'll get to work right away – my first day in office will be my 45th or so day on the job.
As the Independent, I'll call for greater transparency and due process in our legislative procedures. I'll work closely with my colleagues who share these concerns. It can be something as simple as changing the internal House rules, or applying the state's open meeting laws to the legislature itself.
And as the locally-rooted legislator, I'll have a list of priorities vetted by the town and city officials in the district. I'll work with the three State Senators whose districts touch my district to coordinate our advocacy actions. Three specific topics come to mind:
(1) The Governor's budget will be ready at this point, and we'll have to make sure there are ample funds for schools, special ed, and local aid.
(2) In order for there to be a new Minuteman Vocational School building that can handle out-of-district students, there will have to be a real commitment of state funds. This is an on-going concern.
(3) And ideally, we'll have a proposal ready to clear up the town's title to the incinerator.
For more information about how I regard my responsibilities as your State Rep, please visit my web site at "www.votegammill.net/issues-serving-you/".
Tomi Olson, Republican
Following the formalities of being sworn-in after being elected, I will first meet with my staff reinforcing the commitment that our Office will have to constituents; that no matter how trivial the issue or complaint, when a citizen from our District calls, they deserve a prompt response and courteous treatment and I want to know about it.
Next I will reach out to fellow legislators, House Leadership and Will Brownsberger, the State Senator from our District, to learn their legislative priorities and to offer mine.
My first legislative priority will be to file a bill to protect the Belmont Uplands and the Mugar properties which are so important to the watershed and conservation needs of our District. There are many steps that need to be taken now; most importantly contacting those groups who have been dilgently working on this issue, so that their ideas and analysis, is incorporated.
My long record of experience with the Payson Park Music Festival as a public-private partnership will enable me to reach out to the Division of Conservation for expert assistance, as well as to meet with foundations and individuals for grant and private funding.
But I have many other goals for my first day and first term as well. Education, Health Care, and Elder Affairs top my list. But none of our priorities can be met without putting our fiscal affairs in order. So in reaching out to fellow legislators I will be seeking out others who are reform-minded and who are willing to express and hear new ideas about the way we should be doing business with the people’s money. We need to get our local economy moving again. So I will be taking special note of those legislators who are willing to have a conversation about tax and regulation reform.
Dave Rogers, Democrat
I will not wait for my first day in office to begin to work for my constituents. In the immediate post-election period, I will meet frequently with constituents and all of my new partners in local and state government, strengthening existing relationships and building new ones. In addition, as a lawyer with many years experience I will put my legal acumen to work, continuing to study how the legislature operates.
On the first day itself, the two parties gather to conduct some basic official business. A proud lifelong Democrat, I will caucus with my fellow Democrats in the legislature. I will join in with them knowing full well that working within the majority party will unquestionably give me the opportunity to influence the most important legislation and obtain key committee assignments. Given the makeup of the legislature, serving as a Democrat clearly provides the greatest opportunity to do the most good for all of the constituents in Belmont, Arlington and Cambridge.
Finally, on that first day I will also spend time with family, friends and supporters, thanking them for their help. I quickly learned as a candidate, as in most endeavors, one cannot make any progress whatsoever without the warmth, wit and wisdom of those close to you.