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Two Democrats vie in 4th Middlesex District primary

Posted by Laura Franzini  August 27, 2012 11:18 AM

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4th Middlesex District (Marlborough, parts of Northborough and Westborough)

Joseph Paul Richard Collins, Sr.
Location: Marlborough
Job: Accounting department at Ropes and Gray LLP

Danielle Gregoire
Age: 33
Location: Marlborough
Job: attorney, former state representative (2009-2010)

Steven L. Levy
Age: 47
Location: Marlborough
Job: Incumbent representative; owner of Ledger Plus
Compiled by Globe Correspondent Laura Franzini

In the 4th Middlesex district, which includes most of Marlborough and parts of Northborough and Westborough, Republican incumbent Rep. Steven L. Levy has no opposition in the primary. He’ll face the winner of the Democratic primary, either Joseph Paul Richard Collins Sr., (cq) or Danielle Gregoire (cq) in November.

Collins spent 10 and a half years in the United States Marine Corps and says the experience taught him how to tackle tough problems and become a leader. He says his current job working in the accounting department at Ropes and Gray, a large Boston law firm, also gives him experience solving problems.

Collins sees the two biggest problems facing the state as taxes and transportation.

“I think the overall tax burden is too high, especially on small businesses and the middle class,” he said.

He said he favors a progressive tax code that would lower taxes for lower income residents while taxing those who earn the most money at a higher rate.

“And I’d do away with all tax breaks and tax exemptions,” he said.

While Collins says he supports social programs such as low income housing and school meals programs, he thinks there is money that can be cut from social program budgets.

He said he supports putting controls on electronic benefit transfer cards, prohibiting recipients from using them to pay at tattoo parlors, nail salons, spas, smoke shops, casinos, strip clubs, and firearms dealers.

“I want to continue to provide the programs, but tighten things up,” he said.

As someone who rides the T to work everyday, Collins said the recent rate hike and service cuts were difficult to swallow.

“It was a big deal for everyone,” he said, especially since the MBTA has reported steep increases in the number of riders.

“You need to prioritize where the government spends money, and near the top for me would be transportation,” he said.

“I think you can really tighten government up and find a lot of money,” he said. “Not enough to cover the entire (MBTA) debt, but you can use it to provide some relief.”

Gregoire is a lifelong Marlborough resident who says her seven years as a legislative aide to former state Representative Stephen LeDuc of Marlboro and her term in the legislature give her the experience needed for the position.

Gregoire served in the legislature for one term before losing in 2010 by 100 votes to incumbent Levy.

“I’ve lived here my whole life and have always been immensely involved,” she said. “I pride myself on knowing what’s going on.”

Gregoire said her focus as a legislator will be on jobs and the economy and making Massachusetts a place where there is economic opportunity for young families to come and stay.

“We need to focus on those two things until we are back on track,” she said.

“My (Republican) opponent continues to focus on partisan rhetoric rather than coming to the table and having a real dialogue,” she said.

She said that dialogue would include a conversation with local businesses about what they need to expand locally, and a plan to work with out of state businesses to attract them to the Route 495 area.

As a legislator, Gregoire said she made it a goal to visit at least one local business every week.

“It’s amazing the things that are happening right here in the 495 belt that are affecting people’s lives all across the country from right here in our backyard,” she said.

Gregoire said as a legislative aide she worked with the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and the Massachusetts Office on International Trade on ways to attract more companies to the area.

“We have the infrastructure in place,” she said. “It’s getting boots on the ground, talking to companies and making things happen,” she said.

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