13th Middlesex District ( Sudbury, parts of Wayland, Marlborough and Framingham)
Job: Accounting professional; Framingham Finance Committee chair
Incumbent Thomas P. Conroy,(cq) a Democrat from Wayland, will face Steven Hakar (ca) in the newly drawn 13th Middlesex district which includes Sudbury, most of Wayland, a northeast corner of Marlborough and the Saxonville neighborhood of Framingham. There is no Republican candidate on the primary ballot.
Conroy said his six years in the Legislature has given him the “great and relevant experience” needed for the job.
“I take my role as representative very seriously,” he said. “I listen to my constituents, I am their voice at the State House on education and economic development, protecting the environment, and maintaining and improving public transportation,” he said.
Conroy said he has worked with the House leadership as well as taken “principled” votes in opposition when he believes that is what his constituents want.
He said the recent casino legislation which will allow three casinos in the state was an example of something he opposed.
“Most folks I heard from were opposed, as was I, and I remain opposed,” he said.
Conroy sees transportation infrastructure and water infrastructure as pressing problems after years of deferred maintenance on roads, bridges and water pipes.
“We need a dedicated revenue source to maintain both of these things going forward into the 21st century, and I believe this is the top priority in the next session,” he said.
He said he has advocated for a dedicated gas tax, but supports looking at a variety of options including a vehicle miles traveled tax, open road tolling or an internet sales tax to find the best solution to the funding problem.
The second issue Conroy said he will continue to focus on is economic growth and jobs, particularly “middle class job opportunities.”
“We need to help hardworking, ambitious, diligent people willing to apply themselves grab onto that bottom rung of the middle class and pull themselves up,” he said.
Some of those jobs can come from improving the infrastructure, he said.
He also looks to the green energy industry as a place for growth.
“That is the fastest growing industry sector in the state,” he said, adding that public-private partnerships in this area can help provide jobs.
Hakar, an accountant, has lived in Framingham for the past 17 years and is a member of the town’s Finance Committee. He calls himself an activist who has a proven record of getting things done.
“I have a long history of working as an activist in this community which is very diverse,” he said. “My opponent doesn’t have that.”
Hakar said he has opposed development projects because of concerns about their impact on well water among other things, and has spoken out against unfunded government mandates which he says costs the Framingham schools $20 million a year.
If elected, Hakar said fighting to fund or eliminate unfunded state and federal mandates and protecting drinking water would be his priorities.
Hakar points out that it is not the special education and other programs that he opposes, just that they are required without providing any or enough funding to pay for their implementation.
“I do not mind mandates; in fact they are essential for equal opportunity and justice for all,” he wrote in an email.
Hakar said he is proud to have filed petitions for special Town Meetings in Framingham in 2007 and 2011 in which voters asked lawmakers to stop unfunded mandates. He is currently circulating a similar petition for a special Town Meetings in other towns.
He said if elected he would try and pass legislation to shift the decision on whether to provide mandated programs to local authorities.
Hakar is also concerned about chemical contamination of private and municipal wells, particularly from the use of herbicides and pesticides.
He is particularly concerned about NStar’s current use of herbicides along its power lines in many communities to prevent outages caused by falling trees and branches as part of its “vegetation management program.” He has urged boards of health in the four district communities to push for answers from the company about exactly what chemicals are being used, and advocates more local control over what chemicals can or can’t be used
“I’m about getting things done and solving problems,” he said.