"Our state currently is facing many challenges with the same solutions being offered by our legislators in the form of increased spending and increased taxes.
Very little in the way of reforms are being offered, and what reforms are actually brought to a vote have little chance of succeeding due to the single-party control that dominates Beacon Hill.
As a former small business owner, a career spent in the medical industry, I have a hands-on level of experience faced by both these segments.
I believe I can bring some everyday common sense and new ideas to Beacon Hill to help get us back on the road to recovery.
Oftentimes people stand by and complain about what is going on; I am not one to keep doing that. It is time to roll up my sleeves and be part of the solution."
— 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?
"I support plan design. Health care costs are rising and providing insurance is becoming increasingly expensive.
The intractability of some unions to accept higher co-pay, higher-deductible plans that realize savings for the budget of communities while still providing health care is a powerful support as to why we should be giving this authority to our communities.
The current failure of the public safety unions in Salem to send this even to a membership vote is a current example.
The taxpayers cannot be expected to keep paying for expensive health care of city workers while struggling to deal with their own health care expenses.
The public sector should not be getting better health care then the people who are paying the tab. With reductions in local aid, this adds to the burden on communities' budgets.
Current retirees should not have their insurance pulled out from under them. If they are not paying part of the premium for a private plan, then gradually making a change to where they are sharing part of that expense should be made.
New retirees should be given a choice of either purchasing insurance through a state pool at reduced cost, some of which the state pays, or using Medicare. This allows those who are retiring to make a choice on both their coverage and the cost they must bear."
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 support a pension cap under the current system the state has.
$100,000 is far more then most residents of the Commonwealth will retire with on an annual basis, and the pensions are also taxpayer-supported.
I would prefer to see our pension system move to a contributory system, such as a 401(k), similar to the private sector. This takes the expense away from being totally taxpayer-shouldered and puts public sector workers on the same system that private sector workers must use.
I am not in support of increasing the retirement age past 67. Where do we put the ceiling where we require people to work into their golden years?
If an individual chooses to work into their 70s and can find employers who will hire them, I applaud them for their work ethic.
Many people start working in their teens; my first job was at age 17, then 50 years in the work force would seem sufficient to me to require them to collect retirement benefits."
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?
"Absolutely. It is vitally important that we ensure that Massachusetts students meet minimum educational standards to graduate high school.
The increasingly competitive global economy makes it incumbent on us to make sure our students are ready to face the challenges of our world either by going into the work force directly from high school, pursuing education through a trade school, or going on to college.
Without basic knowledge and skills to learn, they will be at a severe disadvantage against not only people from other states who may come here, but those from other countries seeking to work in Massachusetts.
Our children are our most valuable asset and the future leaders of not only Massachusetts, but of the United States. We cannot, and should not, jeopardize their future or our own by setting low standards."
Should the state Legislature be exempt from the state's public records law?
"No. The continuing erosion of confidence in our state government is due in part to the lack of transparency.
If the Legislature is able to hide what they are doing from public records law and by using closed-door meetings, this erosion will continue.
As a citizen, my first question would be, "What are they hiding?"
As a candidate, my first statement is, "We are there to serve the people, and the people as our employers have a right to know.""
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.
"It is a bit difficult to answer this question. Given that there are only 5 Republican senators out of 40 currently in the Legislature, the votes I have available to me show that I would have agreed with them on the legislation that has been voted on.
When it comes to voting on legislation, I will vote in a manner that follows the beliefs I hold or that the people I am tasked to represent want based on their input.
The votes I have studied so far have been anti-tax increase, health care related bills, and bills that would have an effect on small businesses."
Will you make public any questionnaires you fill out in pursuit of the endorsement of unions or other groups?
"Yes, I will be happy to make those public via my website. Look for them to be posted in the coming weeks."
Should the Legislature be subject to a full audit?
"Yes. The Legislature, in fact all departments of state government, should be subject to an audit. An important step to getting spending under control is to find where waste may be occurring and how the people's money is being spent to run Beacon Hill."
Is the Legislature holding enough full formal sessions?
"The current situation our state is in and the fact the Senate ended the formal session on July 31 instead of continuing to work on bills that are needed to help the people of the Commonwealth is inappropriate.
Why do they need a five-month paid vacation when so many people are out of work?"
Should there be term limits for the jobs of House Speaker and Senate President?
"There should. The Speaker and Senate President are able to control a great deal of what goes on in the two houses.
It is quite important that this leadership be changed to prevent a single person from controlling legislation that may be guided by personal agendas.
Changes in leadership is a healthy evolution that needs to happen.
There is also the need to have new ideas and a new vision for the direction of Massachusetts guiding both houses."