Health costs

The Mass. Taxpayers Foundation recently recommended that local officials be given the power to design their own health plans without having to negotiate with the unions, and that state retirees use Medicare for their primary health care coverage. Do you support these proposals?

Democrat

Controlling health care costs, while assuring access and quality of care, is one of my top priorities.

In my tenure as a member of the Needham Board of Selectmen, plan design changes that have shifted costs to employees have been successfully negotiated through collective bargaining.

In addition, I support using Medicare for eligible state retirees.

Republican

Yes, I support the general content of these proposals.

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State pensions

The foundation also proposed changes in state and municipal pensions, such as increasing the retirement age and capping annual pensions at $100,000. Do you agree?

Democrat

I believe our state and municipal pension systems need to be fair and sustainable for employees, retirees and taxpayers, and I will look to create a solution that works for all stakeholders involved.

Republican

In general, yes - real pension reform is a must.

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MCAS

Do you believe in keeping the requirement that a student must pass the MCAS or an MCAS-like test in order to graduate from high school?

Democrat

I support the fundamentals of the MCAS requirement, but believe alternatives should be available when appropriate.

As a mother of four children, including a developmentally-delayed daughter, I recognize that all individuals cannot be evaluated in the same way, nor is success the same for every individual.

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Public records

Should the state Legislature be exempt from the state's public records law?

Republican

No. But no one should be fooled into thinking a public records law will change the culture on Beacon Hill.

Three Speakers in a row have faced felony indictments (two convicted and one pending) and the spectacle of the patronage orgy at the Probation Department speaks to deeper issues.

Integrity and transparency have been in short supply - the perils of a one-party system.

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Party leadership

Cite any votes (if an incumbent) or positions (if a challenger or newcomer) you have taken that disagree with the stance taken by your party's legislative leadership.

Democrat

Among other issues, I am opposed to expansion of gambling, including casinos and racinos, because I feel the costs outweigh the benefits.

I am a career nurse, not a career politician or bureaucrat, so I will go to the State House as an independent voice for the people of Needham, Dover, and Medfield.

Republican

I make decisions based on data, and what I do is constantly focus on delivering value at the lowest possible cost.

For the past 3 1/2 years, I have served as an elected member of the Needham School Committee. I supported overrides when I felt they were justified and opposed an override that I felt was excessive.

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Endorsements

Will you make public any questionnaires you fill out in pursuit of the endorsement of unions or other groups?

Democrat

I have no objection to the release of any candidate questionnaires I have answered.

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Legislative audit

Should the Legislature be subject to a full audit?

Democrat

The House is required by law to be audited twice a session, with those audits being made available to the public.

Furthermore, I support the creation of the online database of all state spending, including the Legislature, which allows the highest level of scrutiny for taxpayers to see where our money is being spent.

Republican

Sure - of course, if it's an audit done by a lapdog, it won't mean much. An audit by a real fiscal watchdog (such as Mary Z. Connaughton) - now that would be revealing!

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Formal sessions

Is the Legislature holding enough full formal sessions?

Democrat

The Legislature should hold as many formal sessions as needed to complete its work.

The problem isn't the number of sessions, but that not enough gets done. That's why I will work hard, every day, to get results for the people of Needham, Dover, and Medfield.

Republican

The problem isn't the number of sessions, it is the death grip of power held by the leadership that strangles meaningful debate.

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Term limits

Should there be term limits for the jobs of House Speaker and Senate President?

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Responses gathered through e.thePeople