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

This candidate hasn't responded yet; please check back later.

Republican

I feel that the cities and towns of Massachusetts should be given as much freedom as possible in negotiating compensation with their employees and contractors.

Health care costs are something which are squeezing budgets across the Commonwealth, and municipalities must be given the tools to reduce costs where possible.

I do not believe that organized municipal workers should be shut out of the process of structuring their compensation plans. However, our municipalities must be guaranteed the ability to ensure the provision of vital services in such a way that they remain fiscally solvent.

I feel that the repeal of the so-called "Pacheco" law is an important step in this process. By making it easier for the government to privatize certain non-vital functions, cost savings can be achieved.

I feel that Medicare is intended as a safety net to be used in cases where private means fail or are inadequate. Moving the entire population of state retirees onto this plan does not use Medicare in the way it was intended.

I am in favor of transitioning state retirement plans into a similar manner to the private sector. This would include 401(k) plans vs. the current system of pensions.

The current system of lower-than-average retirement ages, double-dip pensions, and ever-expanding state payrolls will continue to pressure the Commonwealth's budget to the breaking point. The state government cannot continue to function as an entity with endless resources available to provide extremely generous resources to a perpetually expanding workforce.

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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

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Republican

I agree completely. The Commonwealth must take steps to reduce expenses in non-vital areas.

If we are to refocus our increasingly limited revenues on the core areas of public safety, infrastructure, education, and local aid, we must make cuts in other areas.

There is no reason that the compensation offered by the Commonwealth should far exceed that of the private sector, given the spirit of public service and job security common to the state's workforce.

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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

This candidate hasn't responded yet; please check back later.

Republican

Yes. The MCAS standard has helped make Massachusetts' education system the envy of the nation. We must have an objective standard against which to measure the abilities of our students and their level of preparation for college and the job market.

I am opposed to any weakening of our educational standards, MCAS or otherwise.

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Public records

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

Democrat

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Republican

No. The taxpayers of the Commonwealth need to have confidence and faith in their Legislature.

I believe that making the affairs of the Legislature open to the public will be a major step in building this confidence and faith.

Additionally, making the House and Senate subject to the PRL will deter and decrease the rampant graft and corruption that has tarnished the Legislature over the years.

This is something that the taxpayers deserve and have a right to demand.

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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

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Republican

There are no significant issues upon which I disagree with the Republican Senate leadership.

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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

This candidate hasn't responded yet; please check back later.

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Legislative audit

Should the Legislature be subject to a full audit?

Democrat

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Formal sessions

Is the Legislature holding enough full formal sessions?

Democrat

This candidate hasn't responded yet; please check back later.

Republican

No. I think in a year where Massachusetts has employment above 10%, ongoing budget deficits, and an income tax that is above the rate approved by the electorate in 2000, it is wrong that the majority in the state Senate voted on July 31 to adjourn for five months.

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Term limits

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

Democrat

This candidate hasn't responded yet; please check back later.

Republican

No. Just as the voters are responsible for determining when it is time to vote out an incumbent legislator, so, too, must the senators and representatives in the majority party determine when to change their own leadership.

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Responses gathered through e.thePeople