Richard A. Eustis
Job: Attorney at The Law Offices of Richard Eustis
C. Stolle Singleton
Job: Former policy advisor for the Massachusetts House Republican Caucus
Compiled by Globe Correspondent Laura Franzini
By Ellen Ishkanian, Globe Correspondent
The 10th Norfolk state House district which includes Franklin and parts of Medway has the only Republican primary race in the area, with Richard A. Eustis, (cq) John S. Jewell (cq) and C. Stolle Singleton (cq) on the ballot.
On the Democratic side, Peter E. Padula (cq) is facing Jeffrey N. Roy (cq)
Republican Eustis is the only candidate in this race from either party who lives in Medway rather than Franklin. He enlisted in the United States Navy as a commissioned officer after graduating from Suffolk Law School because he wanted to serve “as my dad and grandfather had.”
That experience, as well as working as a state and federal prosecutor prepared him for the job of state representative, he said. He now owns his own law firm in Southborough.
“As a private business owner and parent of two daughters in high school, my experience is parallel with the interests of voters in this district,” he said.
Eustis said his priority if elected will be making the state more business-friendly.
“Massachusetts has to be more proactive in attracting and retaining business,” he said.
He said he would reach out to the state’s largest employers such as Gillette, EMC and Fidelity as well as small business owners and find out what they need to be successful here.
He said businesses owners he’s asked see government as having lost its focus.
“There is an arrogance on the part of government that looks at business as if they’re lucky to be here,” he said. “They feel no spirit of cooperation from their government.”
Eustis said he’d “look at everything,” to turn the economy around, from tax policies to fees and regulations.
“I’d look at every burden in the way of attracting business to this state,” he said.
He also believes that spending on the state and federal level has gotten “out of control,” and said he would be “a fierce opponent of government waste in any form.”
But, he pointed out, as a lawyer who regularly works with the Worcester County Bar Advocates giving legal assistance to indigent defendants, he said he’s seen the toll poverty takes on people and a community.
“Every dollar wasted by government is a dollar taken away from those who truly struggle in the shadows, ...for whom government was intended to help,” he said.
In advocating for budget cuts, Eustis said he would keep in mind “those who truly can’t help themselves.”
Jewell, a retired Army colonel, is a current member of the Franklin School Committee and has served as the chairman of the Republican Town Committee and on the town’s Fourth of July Celebration Committee.
During his 24-year military career, Jewell said he set-up a standardized procedure for cholesterol testing so soldiers having their levels checked in different locations would get the same test so results could be accurately and easily compared.
He said he also set-up drug testing criteria to address substance abuse issues among soldiers in Viet Nam, and then worked with the Reagan Administration to establish the criteria for civilian workplace drug testing that he said is still being used.
“My experience has taught me to identify a problem, find a solution, fund a solution, which is important in government, and implement the solution,” he said.
“I’ve had lots of experience doing those four things and that’s what you need on Beacon Hill,” he said.
Jewell sees the biggest problem facing the state as budget inconsistency.
He says the Legislature passes laws that require businesses, municipalities and schools to provide extra services or comply with extra regulations without adding funding to the requirements.
One way he sees to stop this is to go to the media and use other methods to let people know who is doing what on Beacon Hill. He says this tactic was successfully used this summer when Gov. Deval Patrick changed his mind and agreed to sign the “three strikes” legislation after pressure from supporters.
But as a Republican, Jewell also knows the reality of state politics.
“Republican bills tend not to be passed on Beacon Hill,” he said. “So you need to work on selling your bill and reaching out to the other side.”
He would also advocate for as much local control of spending as possible, and reducing the size of state government wherever possible.
“Obviously there are a lot of things the state government has to do and does well, but I think they get too involved in local issues,” he said.
Singleton believes she has the “most relevant” experience of any candidate in this race because she’s actually worked on Beacon Hill on the staff of House of Representatives Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones Jr. and as a policy advisor for the 33-member Massachusetts House Republican Caucus.
She left that position to campaign full-time, and said if elected she’ll be a full-time legislator.
“I have first-hand experience drafting legislation, analyzing state budgets and authoring budget and bill amendments,” she said.
Singleton said she helped draft the recently passed electronic benefit transfer legislation that prohibits recipients from using the card to pay at tattoo parlors, nail salons, spas, smoke shops, casinos, strip clubs, and firearms dealers.
“Most of what we wrote passed,” she said.
Singleton said she is also proud of the work she did on a provision included in the Valor Act which grants academic or licensure credit for military service education and training.
“I had first-hand experience in drafting that,” she said. “It was an unbelievable accomplishment.”
Singleton said the economy will be one of her priorities, particularly improving the climate for business in the state.
“The business climate and the climate for people to live in Massachusetts is poor,” she said.
She blamed high taxes, excessive government regulation, high electricity costs and rising health care costs for fueling the difficult economic climate.
She said electricity prices in Massachusetts are among the highest in the country and that while the legislature has tried to address this issue “we need to do more.”
One thing she would do is “evaluate our green and energy efficient programs.”
Singleton calls herself an environmentalist, but says estimates that the Green Communities Act passed in 2008 could cost rate payers $4 billion over the next four years needs to be examined.
“We have been pursuing green programs at any cost,” she said.
“But are we increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency in Massachusetts in the most cost effective way possible?” she asked. “We need to broaden our energy portfolio, but we need to do it responsibly.”
Singleton also said she would “push back” against any effort to raise the state income tax, and believes the sales tax should gradually be lowered.
On the Democratic side, Padula was born and raised in Franklin. He says experience in local and county government, work as a defense attorney and prosecutor, and volunteering as coach of a variety of youth sports teams has prepared him for the Legislature.
Padula said that his experience as a prosecutor and defense attorney allows him to see things from different perspectives.
“I have no problem going up in front of people and arguing what is right,” he said.
He currently serves as Franklin’s representative on the Norfolk County Advisory Board, was a member of a charter commission formed several years ago to study the town’s form of government and has volunteered his time prosecuting cases in Middlesex County at the Framingham District Court.
“I sat on the charter commission for a year and went over every position in town government,” he said. “It was an invaluable experience. It gives you a good baseline.”
And he said his experience working on the county level gave him the opportunity “to rub elbows with people from all the other towns,” and talk to them about what is happening in their communities and how they faced various issues.
Padula said if elected he will focus on making sure state aid for the towns he covers and their schools stays level, at the very least, vowing to vote against any measure that would reduce those funds.
He also said he “will make sure to do things that keep the economy moving.”
Roy, a current member of the Franklin Town Council, believes his 26 years as a trial lawyer and experience in local government which includes 10 years on the Franklin School Committee, four on the Horace Mann Building Committee, three years as chairman of the Democratic Town Committee and two years as chairman of the Anti-Bullying Task Force and Master Plan Committee gives him the knowledge of local government essential to the job.
“I have relationships with local officials in Franklin and Medway, and that’s experience you cant just pick-up overnight or even in a couple of months,” he said.
Roy said the two most pressing issues facing the state are the economy and job creation and education.
He sees the economy as the key issue and said it should be the priority of every person running for office this year.
“I see some hope out there,” he said, citing a bill passed at the State House this summer that includes job grants and incentives for companies doing innovative work to remain or start-up in Massachusetts.
“That’s the kind of legislation I would welcome and pursue,” he said.
He would also look at ways to contain health care costs, which he said is central to boosting the economy. He praised efforts being made on that front.
“The fact that the legislature took steps to contain those costs is a good move and something I will be very interested to watch over the next couple of years,” he said.
Education will also be a focus and priority for Roy who said he would fight to maintain Chapter 70 state education funding to cities and towns and make sure any new mandates come with a funding source.
“That’s one of the most troubling things we had to deal with,” Roy said of his time on the School Committee. “You’re told you have to do something without any extra funds to do it with.”
Roy said as a legislator he would encourage his colleagues to submit new proposals to the state auditor to find out the financial implications and identify a funding source before a bill is passed.