As state Sen. Steven Tolman resigned last month to head up the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, four Democratic candidates will vie for his seat representing the Second Suffolk and Middlesex Senate District, which includes Watertown, Belmont and parts of Cambridge, Allston-Brighton, the Fenway and the Back Bay. The primary election will take place Dec. 13, while the general election is slated for Jan. 10.
Meet one candidate, Tim Schofield:
Resides in: Brighton
Grew up in: Hudson, New Hampshire
Current occupation: Attorney
Q. What two major issues are facing state legislators? What would you do as a state Senator to help resolve them?
A. I believe that we must invest in people and infrastructure, and to do so we must make sure that large corporations and the very wealthy pay their fair share. Although the Commonwealth has taken steps to reduce waste, it is now clear that we cannot cut our way out of this economic crisis and we cannot continue to ask working people and the most vulnerable to bear so much of the burden.
To ensure we are able to maintain key programs, I would work to close corporate loopholes and eliminate or reform corporate tax credits. I would also support an amendment to allow for a progressive, graduated income tax to be sure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes. In addition, I would recover tax credits and other incentives from corporations that fail to live up to their promises.
To promote economic growth in Massachusetts we must get our people back to work. While Massachusetts has not been hit as hard as many states have, we are still facing an employment crisis. As a successful small business owner, I know first-hand how small businesses are vital to our economic growth, and that state government must help small businesses to succeed. I also believe that strong local infrastructure is crucial to economic growth, so I will fight for increased funding for job training, public transportation, and green technology to create jobs now and in the future. As State Senator, I would support efforts to influence banks to provide loans and credit to small businesses. Many banks are sitting on billions of taxpayer dollars from the bailout and that money should responsibly be made available.
As a product of public schools, I know how essential education is to individual opportunities and community-wide economic development. I will support increased funding for early childhood education so that our schools can maintain small class sizes and outstanding teachers in every classroom. And I will ensure funding for continuing education, job training and adult education, including vocational training at our community colleges.
Q. Did you support the proposed casino bill?
A. The Governor signed the casino bill and it is now law. Therefore, I believe the responsible thing to do is turn our attention to the rules and regulations which will govern the industry. The rules and regulations need to be strict and strictly enforced. There was a promise of positive economic impact and revenue for the Commonwealth, and we must ensure the Commonwealth gets the benefits promised. But more importantly, we must also ensure that social, environmental, traffic, and infrastructure impacts are properly assessed, managed, and mitigated proactively and that addiction services, including proactive outreach, are developed and made available to all people.
Q. Would you support a casino in or near your district?
Q. What would you do to increase state revenue?
A. We must make sure that large corporations and the very wealthy pay their fair share. If elected, I would:
• Close corporate loopholes and eliminate or reform corporate tax credits.
• Support restoring the income tax rate while increasing personal exemptions for low and middle income workers, which would shift more of the tax burden to those who can afford it while protecting those who cannot.
• Support an amendment to allow for a progressive, graduated income tax to be sure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes.
• Support "claw-back" provisions to recover tax credits and other incentives from corporations that fail to live up to their promises.
Q. If necessary, what programs would you cut first and foremost?
A. The Commonwealth regularly faces a budget deficit and has taken numerous steps to reduce waste and reform government. It is clear, however, that we cannot cut our way out of this economic crisis and we cannot continue to ask working people and the most vulnerable to bear the burden alone. We are hurting people and undermining our competitiveness now and in the future. Local aid to cities and towns, as well as funding for education, human services, public health, and other essential services have all been slashed. We now need be focused on ways to raise revenue and invest in our people and our infrastructure.
Q. Did you support legislation that raises the age required before full pensions kick in?
A. The question of pension reform and the necessary solutions are complex. I don’t believe that the economic and budget crises should be solved on the backs of our working people, so my priority will always be to find solutions that protect current workers, and increase economic opportunities and security for working families.
I believe that we need to focus on fraud and abuse in the pension system and consider reforms which do not impact current pensioners, people planning to retire soon, and people who have been paying into the retirement system. I do not believe that the government – like any employer – should break promises made to its workers.
Q. How would you seek to make improvements to public schools, both elementary/secondary and higher education?
A. I am a product of public schools and understand their importance to our families and our future. Much of the income gap in our society results from a difference in the quality and quantity of education. In order to be prepared for the jobs of the future, we must provide a quality education to all children.
In addition, there has been a significant transformation of work in this country over the last 50 years. Many people have seen their opportunities erode and their risk of long-term unemployment grow because the skills necessary to succeed in our world economy have changed.
As State Senator, I would support increased funding for early childhood education, including mandatory pre-K and full-day kindergarten because early education is vital to success in school and in life. I would fight for increased Chapter 70 funds for our communities so they can maintain small class sizes and outstanding teachers in every classroom. And, I would ensure we provide funding for continuing education, including vocational training at our community colleges, so that members of our community can continue to learn and update their skills.
Q. What professional experience do you have that you feel would be helpful if elected?
A. My life and professional experience has shown me that government is about helping and empowering people. I believe that working families have been left out of the current policy discussions, and as State Senator I will work to prioritize working families.
I also believe that my personal and professional experience will enable me to be an effective State Senator. I understand the struggles of working families because I grew up in a working class family. I am the youngest of eight children and the first in my family to go to college. I later earned my law degree from Boston College Law School. I am proud to have built a successful small business which now employs five people. I understand the challenges facing small businesses in this struggling economy.
As an attorney, I have experience representing the needs of other people. I have also served as a Legislative Aide on Capitol Hill and have been active in my community for many years. I served as an advisor to former State Senator Warren Tolman and I have served on various boards including the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund and the LGBTQ Bar Association. I currently serve on the Board of the Presentation School Foundation.
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