"I have been dedicated to service and advocacy for my fellow citizens of Quincy for my entire adult life.
As an aide for then-state Rep. Michael Bellotti, and as the legislative director for Sen. Michael Morrissey, I helped develop policies that have benefited working families all across the state, but more importantly, I learned how to listen and respond to people's concerns.
This is an important election for you to decide who is best able to represent your interests on Beacon Hill.
I am from Quincy. I remember the Sears and the Bargain Center in Quincy Center as a child. I remember how sad I was in second grade when Beechwood Knoll School closed after Proposition 2 1/2. I know what is like to know loss in my family and having to work to make ends meet at home.
These are the foundations of my values and strengths. It is why I serve Quincy. It is why I would like to continue fighting for issues that are important to you."
— Submitted by the candidate
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?
"First, the health plan issue:
I do not support having the state Legislature bypass collective bargaining agreements that were made in good faith between local unions and the cities.
As for using Medicare for primary health care coverage, this should already be happening.
You must be 65 to qualify for Medicare. State law requires pensioners to switch to Medicare when they reach age 65, so the opportunity to shift costs is already being taken advantage of."
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?
"The average state employee pension is $19,500 annually. The average teacher pension is $26,000 annually. And there is no annual automatic cost of living adjustment each year.
Furthermore, the state pensions fund is paid for 100 percent by the employee; there is no state matching contribution, nor Social Security.
This cap proposal would address only the very small number of persons who have a high pension.
One potential side effect of a pension cap like this is it could affect high-quality professors in the University of Massachusetts system. If we lower their pensions, this gives them an incentive to leave the University of Massachusetts system for better offers elsewhere.
One of the reasons our state universities are so desirable is the high quality of the faculty. Not everyone can afford to send their child to a private university with limitless faculty salaries."
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?
"Graduating from high school should not depend on a single exam, because a good education means more than the ability to pass a test.
Certainly, high school students should meet certain standards in reading and math to graduate. However, the MCAS ignores the many different factors that can affect a student's ability to pass a standardized test like the MCAS.
A teacher's assessment should be part of each student's graduation requirement. By including teacher assessments, we leave room for teachers to teach students to be well-rounded and not narrowly focused on test material."
Should the state Legislature be exempt from the state's public records law?
"I agree with making government as transparent as possible. My concern with this question is that it is vague about what is and isn't a public record.
People often seek help from their state representative, and when they do, they entrust the representative with personal information. Sometimes this information includes detailed personal history, like Social Security numbers, insurance, and medical information.
For example, a family with a child who has a drug problem may call in to ask about substance abuse services. They may tell me their private life story in detail. If a public records law were too broad, an insurance provider could ask for that information under public records law and then change that family's insurance policy. In that case, we haven't done those people any good at all.
Any changes to the public records law must carefully protect the privacy rights of our constituents."
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.
"I would be in favor of repealing the state's sales tax on alcohol that the Legislature recently passed.
The current sales tax applies to the entire price of alcohol. But the state excise tax already makes up about 40% of the price of alcohol. It is fundamentally unfair to apply a sales tax to the existing state excise tax: that's essentially a sales tax on taxes paid."
Will you make public any questionnaires you fill out in pursuit of the endorsement of unions or other groups?
"The questionnaires are the private property of the entities that provide them. I would support releasing questionnaires with the consent of the entity that provided them. But I would not be in favor of revealing any campaign strategy or related information that is in the questionnaire."
Should the Legislature be subject to a full audit?
"The House of Representatives is already required to use an outside, independent auditor for its accounts at the end of every fiscal year under the House Rule 85A.
The Senate is also already required to use an outside, independent auditor for its financial accounts at the end of the fiscal year (Rule 13C). These audit results are publicly available.
Additionally, every dollar the House and Senate spends goes through the state comptroller's office, whose records are available for public inspection."
Is the Legislature holding enough full formal sessions?
"The Legislature should have as many formal sessions as possible. Legislators should have every opportunity to debate and vote on every piece of legislation."
Should there be term limits for the jobs of House Speaker and Senate President?
"Yes -- and these limits are already in place. The House of Representatives currently limits the Speaker to 8 consecutive years under the House Rule 14A. The Senate also limits the President to 8 consecutive years under the Senate Rule 11B."