"As the chief assessor for the city of Attleboro, I have a first-hand opportunity to see how Beacon Hill affects Massachusetts residents on a day-to-day basis.
For example, in terms of taxes, I can point out exactly how we're able to generate funds for the Commonwealth without compromising the well-being of our friends and neighbors.
Our working families deserve representatives who are willing to think "outside the box." In my past experiences, I've been able to negotiate with community leaders in order make positive impacts in Massachusetts communities.
For example, in Attleboro, we were able to designate land for what could be one of the largest solar energy plants on the eastern seaboard. It could potentially bring hundreds of jobs to the area while helping to maintain a clean environment and reducing our dependency on oil.
I also believe we need leaders who are willing to break from party lines in order to improve the lives of our neighbors. I entered this race because I'm not beholden to any party or any promise except the people of the Ninth District.
And finally, I can bring ideas, innovation, and honesty to Beacon Hill."
— Submitted by the candidate
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?
"No, I cannot support these proposals. They are clearly tailored to the interests of local municipalities and not to employees.
It seems one-sided that local officials are able to custom-design their own health plans, while regular employees have to accept perhaps an entirely different plan.
Health care negotiations must be done in good faith."
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?
"I cannot agree with this proposal. It seems hypocritical to mandate a pension cap at $100,000 while working for the state and locality when there is no cap in private industry.
However, as a state representative, I'd be open to looking at similar proposals to determine if there is enough support in the communities."
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?
"I am not in favor of keeping the requirement that a student must pass the MCAS in order to graduate from high school.
It seems that all too often, teachers are forced to teach to pre-determined MCAS standards and are missing the core classes. As a former electrical engineer, I particularly understand the importance of science and math.
Having spoken with a number of teachers across the area, most are in agreement that MCAS should not take as much of a role in the educational process as it does today. Some even feel that we are compartmentalizing subjects while placing too much emphasis on "MCAS Teaching Philosophies.""
Should the state Legislature be exempt from the state's public records law?
"No, I do not believe that the state Legislature should be exempt from the state's public records law. I strongly believe in uniformity and transparency.
Why should the state Legislature be held to a different standard?"
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.
"Unfortunately, I have to disagree with some members of the leadership of the Democratic Party on the gaming issue.
After living in Plainville for so many years, the home of Plainridge Racecourse, it has become evident that some members on Beacon Hill refuse to recognize an opportunity for some real revenue in the heart of Massachusetts.
While I understand fully both arguments, I wholeheartedly agree that taking small steps to revitalize the gaming industry is essential to help get the Commonwealth back on its feet.
Slot machines would be a great opportunity and addition to Plainridge and other tracks across the state. Our friends and neighbors would have secure jobs, and we would be able to gain some ground with out-of-state casinos that continually take our business.
While the Democratic Party has tried in good faith to compromise on this issue, all I see is a win-win situation for gaming parlors in the Commonwealth."
Will you make public any questionnaires you fill out in pursuit of the endorsement of unions or other groups?
"Yes, I will make public any questionnaire I fill out in the interest of endorsements. As I said before, I believe in the values of honesty and transparency.
I'm not going to bend in any fashion to receive the endorsements of any groups to which I apply."
Should the Legislature be subject to a full audit?
"While I strongly believe in knowing the exact details of expenditures within the legislation, there is an inherent flaw in this question: Who's going to pay for the audit?
Is this cost going to trickle down to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth?
As it stands, it seems a fruitless, useless expense. The Massachusetts Legislature must be held to the same criteria as local governments according to Massachusetts General Law.
If there were to be an automatic audit completed every year that costs taxpayers money, I would have to vote against it.
If, however, there was a reason for an audit, I would have to wholeheartedly agree that an audit should be performed."
Is the Legislature holding enough full formal sessions?
"The Massachusetts Legislature is not holding enough formal sessions in the State House.
Our constituents expect that we take a hard look at every issue as we ought to be their full-time state representatives. It is my understanding that hearings are hurried through and may take as little time as minutes.
As state representative, I would make sure that my No. 1 priority is to dedicate my time to each issue and vote in the best interest of my district, regardless of political party.
To have some hearings rushed through sends a bad message to the folks we represent."
Should there be term limits for the jobs of House Speaker and Senate President?
"I strongly believe that the policy of 'term limits' should be reviewed.
Members of the Legislature vote for the House Speaker and Senate President because they believe in their effectiveness to accomplish various tasks. Leadership also controls the majority including key committees and appointments.
However, setting term limits will provide the opportunity for more ideas and opportunities to help solve impending issues in the Commonwealth. Some leaders also possess better negotiation skills than others."