Wednesday, October 17, 2012

10th Norfolk candidates state positions

I was unable to get a good internet connection to report live from Medway High School but took my notes by hand and have transcribed them to share here.

10th Norfolk District candidate debate

Republican candidate - Richard Eustis
Democratic candidate - Jeff Roy

Co-hosted by the Republican and Democratic Town Committees of Medway at the Medway High School

The format was for both candidates to have an opening and closing statement and in between state their positions on a set of five topics; (1) Education, (2) Economic Development, (3) Local funding, (4) Tax policy and (5) the Role of government.

There are distinct differences between the two candidates as shown in their statements on each topic.

Opening Statements
Roy - provided an overview on his public service record and how he will represent everyone in the District.

Eustis - opened with a challenge to Mr Roy’s statement that MA is doing it right and went on to list the litany of corruption associated with Beacon Hill and the Democratic Party. Referenced the Forbes study that listed MA as 47th among the states as a place to do business.

1 - Education
Eustis - cares about schools, understands the need for investment in the community, recognizes that stronger schools will make the community more attractive for businesses. Doesn’t support instate tuition for illegal immigrants because the state can’t afford it. Thinks the college tuition is too high and that with 50% of the recent graduates still looking for work says that is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Roy - every child deserves a good education, invited Mr Eustis to tour the Franklin schools with him to see how well they are doing spending less in all 11 categories tracked by the state and yet a high performing district. The good schools are why businesses come here. Tri-county and Norfolk provide area students alternatives. He does not favor the Governor’s proposal on instate tuition. Thinks that we should focus on the local issues.

2 - Economic Development
Roy - wants to help businesses get back to work, with good schools businesses want to locate here. he goes on to reference three companies in Franklin two of whom relocated there and the reasons were good work force, good school system and quality of life in the community. Referenced a study by Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) that touts the progress MA has made during this recent economy has been the envy of other states and regions. Can we do better? Yes. His strategic plan on economic development covers five points: 1 - money to consumers by reducing the sales tax to 5%, 2 - helping small businesses, 3 - help public higher education, 4 - reduce the cost of doing business here, and 5 - partner with the leaders in Franklin and Medway.

Eustis - I will continue to bash Beacon Hill because their performance is unacceptable. According to the Forbes report MA is 47th among the states as a place to do business. That tax rates and regulations have scared away ⅓ of the businesses who were based here in MA. RI and NH in particular have lured companies with tax breaks and incentives. MA is not competitive. As an example,the data security protection regulation implemented goes further than the FDC requires, why is that necessary? Need to follow the examples set by our neighboring states, need to enforce immigration laws.

3 - Local Funding
Eustis - wants every dollar that goes to Beacon Hill to come back, local government should make the choice, makes local government accountable, the the towns are running on increasingly tight budgets yet there is waste, fraud and abuse with the money that leaves here. Referenced EBT card abuses, the creation of 2,000 jobs in state government where the salaries exceed $100,000, the scandal in the probation department. He closed by reiterating that he would fight for every dollar to come back.

Roy - I am a fan of Massachusetts. In a rebuttal of the Forbes study referenced, many of the same CEO’s in the survey actually live in the places that are lower ranked, CA, NY and MA. Why is that? They’ll live in the lower ranked state but not do business there? Agrees, that local aid is important. Education, parks and green spaces, senior centers, all of these things are paid for with public funds, we are not funding Republican or Democratic facilities. Stated he is opposed to illegal activities, violators need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Attempted to link the Beacon Hill challenges to an attack on former Rep Vallee and asked Mr Eustis why if he was so interested in the party abuses didn’t he do something about it? Closed with he has the experience to get local aid for Medway and to spend it appropriately in the priority areas.

4 - Tax Policy
Roy - opens with ‘nobody likes to pay taxes’, taxes fund our government operations and our budgets should reflect our values. He reiterated his desire to roll back the sales tax to 5%. Wants to collect taxes on internet based sales. MA is losing $335 million in this arena. Not collecting this tax, creates a competitive disadvantage for those brick and mortar stores. He wants to ensure no unfunded mandates come from new legislation. He wants to look at tax haven abuses. MA is doing well as it has gone three years with no new taxes or fees. He would like to see an analysis on tax credits to see that they actually return what they are supposed to.

Eustis - Opens by objecting to Mr ROy’s linking of Vallee to Beacon Hill. you know I like Rep Vallee, “don’t do that Jeff.” He then questions state government, if the CEO’s don’t rate MA higher, how are we better off? We are taxed at the highest rate in the nation. We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. Stated Mr Roy opposes the tax free weekend and can’t understand why. All you need to do is drive down an exit or two to the Wrentham Outlets to see how much of an effect it has. Reiterates the need for MA to be competitive in the region, wants to explore a tax exemption for seniors, of the 21 communities who have declared their tax rates, all 21 have increased them. People need tax relief not an increase in taxes.

5 - Role of Government
Eustis - He stated that there are two roles for government, the first is to provide the common services (public safety, education, and the safety net for those in need). If there was a second point I missed it. He did reference MA as having create the first constitution and how the US Constitution defines government. That ‘what we think (as candidates) doesn’t really matter’. His shortest statement as he surprised Mr Roy by ending without using all of his allotted time.

Roy - government is the name we give to that which we do together. Government doesn’t do everything, it does provide an opportunity. He told a story of meeting a mother of an FHS student who as a sophomore was struggling with school until he took advantage of the new Arts Academy program at FHS. Now as a junior he is excited about school and looking at where to go to college. We need to create these educational opportunities. Help those in their later years. Need to do the common things, build roads and bridges, greenspace, without being dependent for everything at Beacon Hill.

Closing Statements
Roy - gives series of thanks to those who organized this, those present, has respect for Mr Eustis, is overwhelmed by the support and endorsements he has received. Refers folks to read the letters available on his website. “Can we do better? Of course we can” We are modeling how to do it better. I will help spread the word. I will combine my experience and energy to make MA a good place to work and live. The question this election is who has the most commitment? who has the most relevant experience? who is the best qualified to represent Franklin and Medway? I have all three of these and I look for your vote on Nov 6th.

Eustis - gives series of thanks to those who organized this, those present. Reiterates that this election is about a choice. If you think MA is going in the right direction, then he is not your candidate. He didn’t talk about his local service but did serve in the Navy for four years. He did serve in other ways, his work as an attorney, never turned someone away for inability to pay, always provided service at a reduced rate and gets great satisfaction from doing so. In reference to Mr Roy’s endorsements, his mother had said; “Show me your friends and I will show you who you are.” Closed with a story of helping a lady shopping with her daughter at Market Basket, lady was challenged by shopping and trying to make ends meet with little money.We need to do better, we deserve more from our state government.

The next debate will be held on Tuesday, Oct 23 at the Horace Mann Middle School on Oak St in Franklin, MA. It will begin at 7:00 PM.

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