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

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Democrat

Coming from a labor family, I am against making unilateral changes to any collective bargaining agreements. However, in these tough economic times, I know that municipalities are facing some tough decisions when trying to balance their budgets.

I fully support efforts by local or state officials to find ways to cut health care budgets and save the state money, while still ensuring that people receive quality health care. These changes cannot be made in violation of the previous agreements, but if these money-saving changes are negotiated and agreed upon by both parties, I think they are a great idea.

Republican

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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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Democrat

I am very sympathetic to the struggles of local officials who are trying to balance their budgets during this recession. If these changes need to be made in order to save local jobs and keep budgets balanced, they should at least be discussed openly and honestly.

Existing collective bargaining agreements must be honored, but that does not mean that all of the interested parties cannot sit down and discuss ways to ensure that budgets are kept under control.

Republican

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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

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Democrat

Yes, I believe that an MCAS-style test should continue to be used to help make sure that our students are getting a world class education. However, I believe that the current format is flawed and should be restructured to better measure all facets of high school education.

I believe that teachers are being forced to "teach to the test" and because of this, students are not receiving the best education we can provide. With input from teachers and administrators, I believe the Commonwealth can and should make improvements to the MCAS for the sake of the students.

Republican

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Public records

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

Democrat

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Democrat

Republican

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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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Democrat

I have taken several stances that diverge from the party's leadership.

First, we should only build a single resort-style casino with an expiring license, so we can take a look at how the casino has positively or negatively affected the Commonwealth.

Second, I have always been very vocal about reforming the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines in the Commonwealth. I believe changes must be made in order to reduce overall crime and recidivism rates.

Finally, I have been one of the few candidates to speak often about raising the gas tax in order to better fund public transportation.

Republican

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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

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Republican

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Legislative audit

Should the Legislature be subject to a full audit?

Democrat

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Republican

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Formal sessions

Is the Legislature holding enough full formal sessions?

Democrat

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Democrat

No. We should make every effort to have as much honest and open discussion as possible at every level of government. The best democracy is a deliberative democracy, and I feel that more full formal sessions can only help move us in the right direction.

Republican

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Term limits

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

Democrat

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Democrat

Yes, I do believe that term limits in those positions would be beneficial. Term limits increase the amount of participation from all members of the Legislature and would allow more people to have their voices heard.

Republican

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Responses gathered through e.thePeople