2014 Lieutenant Governor: Candidates' Responses

Share, with attribution, and amplify progressives' voices, questions and priorities during the 2014 campaigns. 
SOURCE CITE: progressivemass.com/2014statewide
Feb. 2014. [back


COMPARE RESPONSES

INTRO:QUALIFICATIONS AND VISION

>>About the Candidates

>>Philosophy and Priorities

PART A: JOB GROWTH AND THE ECONOMY

JOB GROWTH/ECONOMY: Statement/Experience

JOB GROWTH/ECONOMY: Policy Proposals

PART B: EDUCATION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

EDUCATION/WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT: Statement/Experience

EDUCATION/WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT: Policy Proposals

PART C:HEALTH CARE

HEALTHCARE: Statement/Experience

HEALTHCARE: Policies and Proposals

PART D: HOUSING

HOUSING: Statement/Experience

HOUSING: Policies and Proposals

PART E: REVENUE AND TAXATION

REVENUE/TAXATION: Statement/Experience

REVENUE/TAXATION: Policies and Proposals

>>ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

DOWNLOAD THE PDF VERSION OF LG COMPARISONS: HERE

ORIGINAL CANDIDATE SUBMISSIONS:

|[ TOP ]|

QUALIFICATIONS AND VISION

About the Candidates

Motivation

[Question 1] Why are you running for office?

James Arena-DeRosa

Why are you running for office?
People are losing faith in their government but I still believe it can be a positive force in our lives. I have spent my life advocating for communities and leading agencies - and want to take that knowledge   (United Farm workers/Local and State Government/Oxfam/Peace Corps/ Regional Administrator for USDA in the Obama Administration) and make a difference. I still believe in community and the prospect of collective action and just feel we need someone who not only says the right things (my guess is for Lt Gov not a huge difference) but I have lived it and will always remember where I come from.
[ TOP ]

Leland Cheung

Why are you running for office?

I’m running because I believe everyone throughout Massachusetts should have the opportunity to build a better future – not just a chosen few born in the right zip code, with the right name, or with the right connections. As Lieutenant Governor, I’ll use my experience working in the innovation economy and developing public-private partnerships to build on Governor Patrick’s legacy of strengthening the Commonwealth’s biotech, bio pharmaceuticals, and information technology industries. My work to expand the Commonwealth’s life sciences sector in the private and public sectors will be vital to keeping Massachusetts competitive in a global playing field.

This means not only continuing the Patrick administration’s work to modernize our roads, rails, and broadband access to grow businesses, but working with our universities, community colleges, and vocational schools to ensure we have the well-trained workforce that allow businesses to thrive going forward.

As a child of immigrants, I know the transformative power a strong education and secure employment have on our children’s ability to achieve their full potential. I understand the importance of ensuring that we protect our workers by ensuring that they have access to paid sick time, comprehensive healthcare, and job protections. As Lieutenant Governor, I will leverage partnerships with emerging industries in Massachusetts to make sure that everyone – regardless of race, gender, sexual identity, hometown, or educational background - has access to a modern job and a living wage – not just for the economy we have now, but in the economy we will build for the future.

[ TOP ]

Jonathan Edwards

Why are you running for office?

Each town in Massachusetts is looking for a partner in the next administration that understands their daily challenges, knows how local government works, and wants to work with them to solve their problems and implement their respective visions.  

The Lieutenant Governor needs to be the partner that implements a vision.  Too often, critically important public policy doesn’t happen because it isn’t effectively marketed at the local level.  Too often, we fail to create working relationships with municipalities because we don’t know their officials and civic leaders well enough to find a comfort zone to truly affect change.

Thus, we often miss opportunities to implement progressive policies because we don’t take the time to truly build the critical relationships and people in the Administration don’t understand how a policy would be received. The administration needs to know the value proposition to sell to cities, towns and regions.

As a four-term, member of the Whately Board of Selectmen, the President of the Franklin County Selectmen’s Association, a member of the Pioneer Valley Climate Change Advisory Board, and the Pioneer Valley Knowledge Corridor Consortium, I have a hands on understanding of how government works and how to effectively solve a problem and sell a policy.  I know how to build consensus, form collaborative partnerships and work towards policy implementation.  People trust me to do the right thing.

I am running for Lieutenant Governor because those are the skills and experiences necessary to help residents across Massachusetts understand and embrace progressive policy goals.

[ TOP ]

Steve Kerrigan

Why are you running for office?

I am running for Lieutenant Governor to put my skills and experience to work for the Commonwealth and to help the next Democratic Governor advance his or her agenda and keep Massachusetts moving forward.

[ TOP ]

Mike Lake

Why are you running for office?

I am running for office because my passion is public service. I do not seek a specific office, a particular title or a defined career path-- I run because I can make a difference and in 2014 the greatest opportunity to leverage my own skills and passions for the betterment of Massachusetts is the Lt. Governor’s office. I am running for office because I define a public servant as a person in the community that anybody, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc, can go to for help and if that public servant can help they will do so. There are countless families in Massachusetts who share the struggles my family faced and worse. I am running for office to fight for them, for their future and the opportunities they deserve. I am running for office because simple math and our morals tell us that families cannot sustain themselves on minimum wage, that young people cannot afford higher education, that homelessness should, at worst, be a temporary challenge and not an industry, that corporations should not be abusing the public welfare system to increase their profits and I am running for office because I believe healthcare is a universal human right that should not be held hostage in order to preserve an inefficient industry.

[ TOP ]

Qualifications

[Question 2] What prepares you to serve in this capacity?

James Arena-DeRosa

What prepares you to serve in this capacity?

The Lt. Governor is the potential CEO of the state. I have run a 12 billion dollar government enterprise - yet I have also worked at the grass roots level with Finance Committee in my town, state government, Oxfam and Peace Corps.  My heart will always be in the community but I am comfortable in the corridors of power. At USDA I negotiated with governors and cabinet secretaries, testified before legislators, worked with mayors and municipal leaders through the regions as well as NGO and business leaders. I can lead at the highest levels but will always listen to the community.

[ TOP ]

Leland Cheung

What prepares you to serve in this capacity?

My experience in the private and public sectors makes me the most qualified candidate for this office. Throughout my tenure on the Cambridge City Council, I’ve amassed an extensive record of both votes on the floor and actions in the community geared at furthering progressive policies and values. I’ve learned first hand what it takes to run a city and ensure that services are delivered to every resident. I know the day-to-day challenges of municipal government and understand how decisions made on Beacon Hill will impact all 351 cities and towns across the Commonwealth.

As a Cambridge City Councilor, I’ve fought for expanded pre-k programs and universal junior kindergarten. I’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with working men and women of Cambridge, marching with clerical workers at Harvard University to urge the administration to provide comprehensive healthcare benefits and competitive wages. I’ve stood up to large companies to protect the jobs of janitorial workers and held developers’ feet to the fire to make sure they hired contractors that abide by community standards. I’ve strengthened services that support our homeless population, increase affordable housing opportunities, and connect immigrant communities to municipal resources.
Prior to joining the Council, I worked in venture capital where I invested in fledgling companies in Massachusetts in fields ranging from clean energy to information technology to mobile communications to life science applications. Though these projects were in different fields with different purposes, they had one thing in common: they helped create jobs and strengthened our economy.

[ TOP ]

Jonathan Edwards

What prepares you to serve in this capacity?

As an elected local official I have a list of experiences that I will utilize every day as Lieutenant Governor.  An example is my work to fix and continually improve our regional senior center. This gives me insights into the critical needs of our state’s senior citizens and what must happen to meet the needs of an aging population in a state where 25% of our residents will be over 60 years old within 10 years.

I have dealt firsthand with the critical importance of effective and efficient health care delivery. Under my leadership, my town worked with other towns in the region to create a regional ambulance service that for the first time delivered 24 hour/7 day per week EMT level service to each resident in our region and is now a service that is being looked at as a cutting edge way to improve emergency services delivery in other towns across the state.

Further, with 25 years of marketing and management experience, I know how to be a good leader while building a business or an organization.  And because I am an accomplished marketing professional, I know how to create consensus around critical issues we face in Massachusetts.

As a father and husband, I understand the challenges that working families face across this state.  The Lieutenant Governor needs to understand the challenges of families and also know how policies will affect families across the state.

These are the skills that are essential to being an effective Lieutenant Governor.

[ TOP ]

Steve Kerrigan

What prepares you to serve in this capacity?

I am the only candidate for Lieutenant Governor with experience at all levels of government – state, local and federal in addition to a record of effective management and fiscal responsibility in both the public and non-profit sectors.  

I have been involved in public service for nearly two decades. I served as a Selectman in my hometown of Lancaster, top aide to U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Attorney General Tom Reilly, and, through two campaigns, served in senior roles for President Barack Obama.  Most recently, I was co-chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, a post President Obama asked me to fill after a two-year stint as CEO for the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee.  Prior to that, I was chief of staff and senior advisor to Boston 2004, Inc., working closely with Mayor Thomas M. Menino, federal and state officials, private corporations and community groups to put on the 2004 Democratic National Convention.  I serve as the President of the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, a private non-profit organization that has provided support, programs and services to 180 families of military service personnel from Massachusetts who have fallen in service since September 11, 2001.  

[ TOP ]

Mike Lake

What prepares you to serve in this capacity?

I am running for Lt. Governor because I am uniquely qualified to realize a 21st century purpose for this office as well as to serve in more traditional roles. My vision for this office in a single word is to be a liaison. I will be a liaison to the 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth, leveraging my experience as the President and CEO of Leading Cities-- partnering with municipal governments around the world to exchange solutions, foster economic development opportunities and facilitate government-to-government cooperation. I will be a liaison to our state and national legislators, utilizing my experiences in Washington and my relationships locally to advance progressive programs and policies, secure more federal funding and to keep a pulse on the needs, concerns and thoughts of the Commonwealth’s citizens. Finally, I will be a liaison to the world outside of Massachusetts’ borders, the “Chief Marketing Officer” of the Commonwealth, building the bridges, maintaining the relationships and creating the opportunities associated with competing in the global arena to bring investment, jobs that pay livable wages and economic empowerment to Massachusetts. On behalf of the Governor and the people of Massachusetts, I have initiated and facilitated cooperation agreements that open the door for economic development and increased opportunity for Massachusetts. I have introduced best practices in public policy and programs to local government in Massachusetts based on the research and discoveries of Leading Cities.

Philosophy and Priorities

Role of Government

What do you think is the proper role of government in Massachusetts residents’ daily lives?

James Arena-DeRosa

What do you think is the proper role of government in Massachusetts residents’ daily lives?

I believe in an activist government but leadership is galvanizing the government, private and non-profit sectors to sectors to work together.   Public Service was a noble endeavor when I was growing up (JFK) and can be again. I was asked to speak to some students about public service as a career. I started by reminding them how important government was in their lives and took them through an entire day from the time the turn on the water in the morning to when they turn of the light at night - and all the ways government has impacted our lives.

[ TOP ]

Leland Cheung

What do you think is the proper role of government in Massachusetts residents’ daily lives?

I believe that the proper goal of government is to expand access to opportunity, catch people when they fall, and to help us invest in our collective future. Governments should deliver services and resources that people need – not just to survive, but to better their lives and the lives of the next generation. Government has a responsibility to create a level playing field where there otherwise would not be one; to incentivize the private sector towards serving the greater good of the public; and to touch the life of every citizen, every day. Government should provide safe and modern modes of transportation for every commuter whether it be via ferry, bike share program, a commuter rail car or in the carpool lane. Government should give every child the tools they need to grow and thrive by ensuring that they have healthy food to eat, safe parks with clean air, and engaging classrooms led by nurturing and qualified teachers. Our government needs to shape the direction of our economy to continue our investment in green jobs and clean technology. Our government needs to take a daily role in improving the lives of every person who doesn’t have a roof over their head or a meal in their stomach; every disabled person who needs an advocate; and every unemployed worker who has the determination and drive to retrain themselves for today’s job market.  Government should have a positive impact on every aspect of our lives every day.

[ TOP ]

Jonathan Edwards

What do you think is the proper role of government in Massachusetts residents’ daily lives?

Government can and should be a facilitator to improve the lives of people across the state.  Tackling the greatest challenges in the state requires Government to develop a vision for the state and effectively lead us toward that vision.  Only government can answer the question, “what kind of a state do we want to be”?

State government is the only entity that can forge consensus and build working relationships to for society.  Working with stakeholders, government can and should determine how to satisfy our healthcare needs.  Government can and should do the same for our societal social values, environmental justice, economic justice, how we treat our communities of color, etc.

A perfect example of the role for state government is how it has been an effective leader on many social justice issues in Massachusetts.  We are a national leader on reproductive rights because of government vision.  We were first in the nation to establish the rights of gay marriage and that vision was a catalyst for other state’s to do the same.  Finally, government has crafted a vision for the finest K-12 educational system in the country.

Simply, vision requires vocal and decisive leadership.  Only state government is designed to provide that type of big picture vision and leadership.  It cannot act alone and must always act in collaboration with all stakeholders to reach consensus and “buy-in.”  But creating and leading on a vision is the best possible role for government and I will embrace that role as Lieutenant Governor.

[ TOP ]

Steve Kerrigan

What do you think is the proper role of government in Massachusetts residents’ daily lives?

When John Adams wrote the Massachusetts constitution, he stated that Massachusetts would be a Commonwealth. As he put it, that meant there should be a connection from the collective to the individual and the individual to the collective.  Therefore, state government’s role should reflect that grand ambition.  Government must protect the most vulnerable among us, provide the basic services upon which we all depend, provide for the public’s safety and general well-being, ensure equal opportunity for all, and create the environment for economic growth and prosperity.

[ TOP ]

Mike Lake

What do you think is the proper role of government in Massachusetts residents’ daily lives?

Government is the system by which individuals find value in being part of the whole rather than the sum of its parts. As such, government is entrusted to deliver that value starting at the most basic level-- that every resident deserves fundamental protection from homelessness and starvation to unemployment and criminal activity. Government’s role is to build, maintain, protect, secure and strengthen the ecosystem of our society so that individuals and families can grow and thrive. Government has a responsibility to create equity, opportunity, structure and certainty for the greater good of our community. All this demonstrates that Massachusetts’ government must have a presence in our daily lives to provide everything from public education and infrastructure to protecting our civil liberties and to manage the balance of our environmental and economic ecosystem so that every individual has access to opportunity and the hope of reaching their own potential.

[ TOP ]

Top priorities

If elected, what would be your top 3 priorities?

James Arena-DeRosa

If elected, what would be your top 3 priorities?

The Lt Gov serves the Commonwealth  by being advocate for communities in Massachusetts to the state and federal government.   Who is going to bring the voice of the people to Beacon Hill?  I  have done that my whole life and will do that as Lt. Governor - and see this as my top priority.
It is also a chance to play for the longer term and  contribute to the future of Massachusetts and I see 3 key issue areas where I can contribute:

  • Ending Hunger while creating jobs in the local food economy

We have a real opportunity here.  Sad that 1 in 4 residents of Massachusetts still need food assistance help from the programs I ran at Agriculture. We have learned so much about how the food we eat impacts our health - and by promoting better nutrition and healthy lifestyles we could save the Massachusetts economy billions of dollars in long terns health care costs. With the current focus on fresh, local, healthy food we also could be creating thousands of jobs for the local food economy by providing the right kind of support to our small farms, CSAs, local fisherman, and local processors (the rules are all written for the corporate giants and we need to keep fighting). Related - we rank 48th in the county for school breakfast and by promoting universal breakfast for every elementary classroom in Massachusetts our kids will do better in school, have less problems with discipline and will do better on those standardizes tests. Hunger is hidden yet pervasive in Massachusetts - food pantries throughout the state are oversubscribed and my wife runs the senior center and she and her colleagues statewide know of seniors who choose between medicine and food.   Massachusetts leaves half a billion dollars in already appropriated federal food funds on the table that in addition to meeting hunger and nutrition could be going to other critical needs.

  • Promoting the Education of the Whole Child

Too much focus on the MCAS - we need to embrace a more classical approach to education that incorporates arts, multi-cultural education, sports, civics and financial literacy). We should be teaching our children to think and engage in 21st century culture not bind them to the purgatory of the MCAS. And sometimes improvement over time is more important than the absolute scores. As an educator (pt faculty at Brandeis Heller I value inquiry - collaboration - questions - problem solving)  not teaching to a test. Besides - even the jobs in emerging industries (bio tech/life / etc. are only partially the core technology) the business is built  around a host of skills). Also - as someone who sent thousands of American volunteers to Africa, Asia, Latin America cultural competency is going to be a critical life skill as Massachusetts continues to change.

  • Work for Economic Justice

As a former SEIU union member I'd like to see more fairness in the economy - I will support the increase in the minimum wage - but will advocate for a Living Wage (which I see as a long term proposition which is going to take us a long time but it is worth the fight). If  you work full time you should be able to take care of your family.

[ TOP ]

Leland Cheung

If elected, what would be your top 3 priorities?

If elected as Lieutenant Governor, my top three goals will be to re-evaluate our education priorities, expand our state’s innovation economy and close the income inequality gap. Our innovation economy has been the backbone of the Massachusetts economy and carried us through the economic recession and I know that it is our economic future. We must continue to invest in biotech, green jobs and precision manufacturing. Our future is in making sure that we have the statewide infrastructure to grow our innovation economy past Kendall Square and I-95 to the rest of the state and then making sure we have the well-educated workforce to meet its needs. Our state needs to reevaluate our approach to education. The achievement gaps that we see in our children only widen with age, so we need to make sure that every child has access to pre-k education.  The earlier we invest in our children the greater the return and the more prepared they will be. We must also make changes to the Commonwealth’s education system for students and workers whose path does not take them from high school to college. We need to invest in our state and community colleges and vocational technical schools to make sure that someone with a two-year certification has as many job opportunities as someone with a four-year degree. The final priority, closing our state’s income inequality gap, relies on growing our innovation economy and shaping our state’s education programs to support it, but it also relies on making sure that every worker is paid a living wage. We can provide the education and training and to make employment a reality for every worker in Massachusetts but that is only half the battle. We need to make sure that the minimum wage is raised to a living wage and that there are safeguards and reforms are in place so that housing, education and unexpected medical costs do not wipe out a lifetime of saving in one fell swoop. These are the things we must work on together and they will be my top priority as Lieutenant Governor.

[ TOP ]

Jonathan Edwards

If elected, what would be your top 3 priorities?

1) Build a blueprint to expand the middle class while simultaneously working to increase the minimum wage.  These actions need to happen simultaneous in order to ensure that we begin to realize great pay equity across Massachusetts. Our goal must be to work toward economic justice and that can only happen with both a higher minimum wage and an expanded middle class that have access to sustainable jobs for all, most notably communities of color.  One without the other will not maximize the potential of the Massachusetts economy.  Success in this priority will also set the stage for other progressive agenda items that the next administration must champion.

2) Mandatory pre-k education in every public school in Massachusetts should be the highest educational priority for the next administration.  Every student in Massachusetts, regardless of family economic status must be prepared for Kindergarten.

3) I will ask the Governor to put me in charge of a task force that will work towards the end of unfunded mandates placed upon local governments.  This is a critical to the ability of municipalities to effectively function and provide necessary services to their residents.  Unfunded mandates on local government adversely affect municipal ability to help those most needy in our communities.  This will also achieve a stronger bond between state and local government and ensure that local governments are an ally of state government to initiate other progressive policies.

[ TOP ]

Steve Kerrigan

If elected, what would be your top 3 priorities?

My first priority as Lieutenant Governor would be to support the Governor and do my best to support his or her agenda and the initiatives of the administration.  I would seek to head a Competitiveness Council to examine all areas of life in Massachusetts to determine how best to grow our economy and improve our quality of life.  That effort would include a Government Efficiency Initiative to ensure that precious state resources are being used correctly and toward their intended aims.  I would also make the Lieutenant Governor’s office a first stop for communication from citizens, businesses, institutions and others with problems or concerns about state government – where they can not only air those issues, but also get answers and solutions.

[ TOP ]

Mike Lake

If elected, what would be your top 3 priorities?

1. If it is not already accomplished, I will work to increase our minimum wage, indexed to inflation and provide economic empowerment through creating new jobs that pay livable wages.

2. Aligning our education system, from early childhood to vocational retraining, with the needs and opportunities of the 21st century.

3. Securing the safety and well-being of families by increasing efforts to provide affordable housing and move the 4,100 homeless families into sustainable housing.

[ TOP ]

JOB GROWTH AND THE ECONOMY

[Section A] The Massachusetts economy has continued to grow and recover from the Great Recession, but the gains have not been shared equally. Poverty levels continue to increase, while the minimum wage loses value every year. Massachusetts now ranks 8th in the nation for income inequality.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Statement/Experience

[Question A1/A2] Share your personal values and principles on job growth and the economy. POSSIBLE TOPICS: How can we improve the economy and economic security for all people? How do we grow the number of good paying jobs in the Commonwealth? How do you view wealth and income inequality, and what would you do about it, if anything?

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

James Arena-DeRosa

Share your personal values and principles on job growth and the economy.

I am a big "foundational" person.  Politics too often is about the next election. Leadership is about generational responsibility.  I cannot think about jobs without thinking about health and education.

As Lt. Governor I am thinking about jobs 10-15 years from now and how I can help and what that will require.  The state has an abysmal record on school breakfast (48th in the country) - yet every mom and dad, school nurse and teacher in America knows a hungry child cannot learn. This impacts kids health their ability to learn school outcomes - job prospects.  I am pledged to pursue and fight for universal breakfast in every elementary classroom in Massachusetts. That would have a huge positive effect.  

I do think we need to work toward a living wage - but there are so many inconsistencies in our current government policies this needs a comprehensive approach. Our scientists tell us what is good to eat - but the government subsidizes something different - and then McDonalds trains it new works to get food stamps - which to me is just corporate welfare (of course we want those families to eat - but why should government cover that wage gap)

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Arena-DeRosa: Related experience/record

SEIU union organizer - at Oxfam worked for economic justice in a number of locales in the US and around the world - supported minority farmers in their efforts o get fair treatment for government support

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Leland Cheung

Share your personal values and principles on job growth and the economy.

The economy in Massachusetts has fared much better than the rest of the country because Governor Patrick has made the right investments in education, infrastructure and the innovation economy. These are the same investments we must continue to make and spread throughout the Commonwealth. We need our government to shape the type of economy we want to have. If we want to remain a leader in clean energy, bio-tech and life sciences, we need to make sure our government is investing and educating our workforce in those fields. I will work to partner businesses with local stakeholders such as non-profits, high schools, colleges and vocational programs to make sure we are training our workforce for the jobs that are needed now and in the future. Income inequality is so prevalent in Massachusetts because our innovation economy, the engine of our economic success, is in too few places and caters to too small a portion of our workforce. Closing the income inequality gap and improving the Massachusetts economy relies on making sure that we create the right environment for businesses to grow and that we provide our workforce with the right tools to succeed. We must ensure that all workers have access to stable employment, a living wage, comprehensive benefits, and worker protections such as paid sick leave. We also must update and expand our road, rail, port, and broadband infrastructure to support the innovation economy in places beyond Greater Boston where economic development is lagging and jobs are needed most.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Cheung: Related experience/record

During my time in office, I have been proud to lead several initiatives to pave the way for local economic growth with a focus on creating and sustaining jobs. I have worked to make Cambridge more business-friendly and worker-friendly by reevaluating out-of-date laws that hinder business growth, advocating for protections that ensure workers are treated with dignity and respect, and encouraging partnerships between private businesses and City Hall.  Some of my accomplishments include:

  • leading a reform to ensure that Cambridge’s taxpayer money be stored in local banks as opposed to an overseas bank by changing the RFP process;
  • protecting local Kendall Square start-ups by pioneering a historic zoning change that requires all new large-scale development to set aside 10 percent of all new space for startup companies to promote innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • passing a policy resolution urging the Massachusetts delegation to raise the minimum wage without compromising unemployment insurance;
  • standing shoulder to shoulder with the working men and women of Cambridge to advocate for job security, comprehensive benefits and collective bargaining;
  • steadfastly fighting against institutions that have tried to dismantle unions, circumvent labor agreements, or unnecessarily lay off employees;
  • protecting locally-owned and independently-operated businesses as a vocal advocate against burdensome City licensing fees and working with City staff to reevaluate archaic laws that hinder business growth; and
  • creating a public-private-academic partnership for the Entrepreneur Walk of Fame to celebrate entrepreneurship and encourage job creation in Cambridge.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Jonathan Edwards

Share your personal values and principles on job growth and the economy.

Job growth and closing the pay equity gap are at the foundation of almost every other initiative that our state should pursue in the next administration.  Simply, without an expanded middle class and a jobs revolution we cannot expect to increase education funding, continue to improve health care, expand our transportation infrastructure, etc.

We must work quickly with the legislature and other stakeholders to increase the minimum wage.

But increasing the minimum wage alone is not the answer to a thriving economy.  We must simultaneously expand our middle class and bring back our manufacturing sector.  I will work closely with Communities of Color from across the state on their top priority of “sustainable jobs” for their population. For too long, communities of color have experienced increasing unemployment even during times of economic growth.  

We must also do a better job matching the skill needs of employers with job training programs.  We must work closely with leaders of different industries to better understand their skill needs and subsequently match those needs with an employee base that is trained to match specific jobs.  There are too many jobs leaving the state because employers don’t see workers with the correct set of skills.  We must train those workers and then be the matchmaker for current and new employers.
Finally, we must do a better job keeping companies here in Massachusetts that are born in Massachusetts.  Too many are going to other states rather than expanding in our gateway cities or in Western Massachusetts.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Edwards: Related experience/record

As a political and professional leader on expanding use of clean energy and energy efficiency, I have firsthand experience with how clean tech has been an economic engine since the middle of the last decade. And, I know for a fact that clean tech is at the foundation of the next jobs revolution in Massachusetts.

As a Selectboard member from Whately, I led my town’s effort become a Green Community and a Solarize Massachusetts town.  These initiatives weren’t just for the betterment of our environment; they were also done with the knowledge that good, high paying jobs were found with clean energy and energy efficiency.  Further, Whately was one of the first communities in the state to create a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program for cities and towns that have private land owners build solar farms on their property.  Our cutting edge work fostered expanded solar farm construction in Whately and other communities across Massachusetts, continuing to build a jobs base for clean tech.

Finally, I have served on the Pioneer Valley Sustainable Knowledge Corridor Advisory Board for the past several years.  In this capacity, I have worked collaboratively with other leaders and regional planners to build a region that will be an economic engine for the entire state by taking advantage of our institutions of higher education and other regional assets to grow economic opportunity for people up and down the Connecticut River Valley.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Steve Kerrigan

Share your personal values and principles on job growth and the economy.

My first act as Lieutenant Governor would be to ask the Governor to allow me to chair a Commonwealth Competitiveness Council.  Under my plan, the Council would convene people from all areas of life in Massachusetts to determine how we can best grow our economy and improve our quality of life.  The Council would produce specific proposals that will make the Commonwealth more competitive nationally and globally, help businesses grow here, attract new businesses to locate here, and help workers and families better afford to live, thrive and enjoy a higher quality of life.  Among the issues the Council would explore would be our state tax structure, government tax incentives, our education system from early education to public higher education, rising income inequality, worker training, arts and culture, transportation and infrastructure, and closing the digital divide.  As part of that effort, and to ensure that state budget dollars are being correctly directed towards our most pressing needs, I would also seek to head a Government Efficiency Initiative that would look at state government from top to bottom.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Kerrigan: Related experience/record

I have worked with business leaders, public officials and academics throughout my career to help build our economy by playing to our strengths and working to create new opportunities.  As Chief of Staff to Boston 2004, the local host committee to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, I helped to create hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Mike Lake

Share your personal values and principles on job growth and the economy.

Addressing shared prosperity is one of the most urgent issues of the current moment. The past thirty years have seen a widening divide between the rich and the poor. The system is quite simply rigged to consolidate wealth at the top. Government intervention isn’t just desirable it is urgent.

The most important thing we can do at the state level is reform the state tax system, so that it asks the best off to pay the highest percentage of their income in state and local taxes, not the least. In addition to being backward, our current system doesn’t provide enough for us to invest in the systems that low income families need to have a fair shot. We should raise taxes on the wealthy, not just for its own sake, but to invest in local public schools, public transportation, public higher education, human services, and health care.

In addition to reforming the tax structure we need to ensure that all workers earn a good wage. We should start by raising the minimum wage, but we should also use the power of state government to push wages up. We can do this by requiring any company getting economic development funding (or tax breaks) to provide living wage jobs and good benefits.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Lake: Related experience/record

Advocating for overworked and underpaid workers has been a central part of my campaign.  I have used this campaign to build awareness of this issue and the inequality it has created in Massachusetts. I tell citizens everywhere I go that a family earning minimum wage must work 159 hours per week (the equivalent of 4 full-time jobs) to afford living in Massachusetts.  I remind them that each year the income gap grows larger because inflation leaves people working for minimum wage behind.  And I put it into perspective by explaining that had minimum wage been indexed to inflation, it would now be more than $16 an hour.  If we indexed minimum wage to worker productivity, we would be paying $22 an hour.  And I always demonstrate the inequity in our country by explaining that had we indexed minimum wage to executive compensation, we would be paying $66 an hour.  I support current legislation on raising the minimum wage (without taking away unemployment or other benefits from workers) and assert that our work is not done until we finally achieve a livable wage for all Massachusetts workers.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Policy Proposals

Minimum Wage

[Question A3] Do you support:

Raising the minimum wage to at least $10.50/hour:
  • SUPPORTS: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Kerrigan, Lake

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Indexing automatic yearly increases to inflation:
  • SUPPORTS: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Kerrigan, Lake
  • OPPOSES: Edwards*,
  • EDWARDS: *The minimum wage has been far too low for far too long.  But I do not support policy that will obfuscate our responsibility as leaders to continually work to pull our working poor out of poverty.  Indexing the minimum wage to inflation potentially gives state leaders and stakeholders the ability to look the other way and not deal with a host of issues that affect our working poor population.  We are leaders that should tackle the difficult challenges we face and indexing the minimum wage simply risks allowing us to think we have done our job, pat ourselves on the back and ignore other perpetual problems.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Increasing tipped wages to 60% of the minimum wage:             
  • SUPPORTS: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Lake
  • OPPOSES: Kerrigan

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Unemployment Insurance and Minimum Wage

[Question A4] As of January 2014, the legislature is negotiating a bill that would pair an increase in the minimum wage with cuts to unemployment insurance. Do you oppose this effort?

  • OPPOSES LINKING: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Lake
  • NOT OPPOSED TO LINKING: Edwards*

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Further comments

EDWARDS/unemployment insurance cuts tied to restoring minimum wage:

One of the single most pressing issues we face in Massachusetts is increasing the minimum wage and if this can be achieve by a balance with a reduction in the premiums paid by employers for unemployment insurance than it should at least be on the table as part of negotiations.

But that does not mean I favor cutting unemployment compensation.  I want to lessen the insurance burden on companies, working to increase corporate births and expansion in Massachusetts.  The cost of maintaining the current unemployment compensation levels and also finding money in the state budget to offset the disastrous federal cuts to long-term unemployment compensation needs to be found in the general state budget.  We must not let our unemployed citizens slip through the cracks and we must pick up after parts of the federal government that lack compassion for the long-term unemployed.  

However we need to find more creative ways to pay for these vital benefits other than maintaining unemployment compensation insurance that is among the highest in the nation and keep Massachusetts companies from expanding here in the state.  If we can increase the minimum wage and keep growing Massachusetts companies operating in the state and expanding our middle class, we should do so as it will help our working poor and expanding middle class on so many different levels.

As the next Lieutenant Governor, I will be a leader to realize all of the above and I will help find money to pay for vital unemployment compensation that maintains our current benefit levels.  We simply must be creative with our solutions.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

KERRIGAN/unemployment insurance cuts tied to restoring the minimum wage:

I would defer on a definitive answer on this without knowing the details of a legislative proposal.  

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

LAKE/unemployment insurance cuts tied to restoring the minimum wage:

As I believe this is the most important issue in Massachusetts today, I would like to see a straight up or down vote void of amendments-- particularly any that would threaten workers’ rights or benefits.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Earned sick time

[Question A5] Do you support requiring businesses with more than 11 employees to provide earned, paid sick time to their employees?

  • SUPPORTS: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Kerrigan, Lake
  • LAKE: Though I would ultimately like to see the 11 person floor removed so it is an automatic cost of doing business and does not prohibit growth above 11 employees.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Job Creation and Standards for Living Wage

[Question A6] A “Job Creation and Quality Standards Act” would require corporations that receive any kind of public benefits (grants, tax expenditures procurement contracts) to, in turn, pay a living wage ($15 per hour plus benefits) to full-time employees. Do you support such legislation?

  • SUPPORTS: Cheung, Edwards, Lake
  • ARENA-DEROSA: I support the concept of living wage - and I talk about it - and we need to get there - but society must approach and do this in a comprehensive manner for it to succeed and so everyone benefits. There is not one magic solution. I like and support the idea here  and agree and believe that corporations that receive gov benefits should give back but I would  want to understand all the details and nuances and how exactly this would work and who it would impact)
  • KERRIGAN: I support efforts to raise the living standards of low-wage employees.  I would need more specifics on this particular legislation before committing to its support.    

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Employee-owned businesses

[Question A7] Do you support legislation to foster and develop employee ownership of businesses in Massachusetts?

  • SUPPORTS: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Kerrigan, Lake

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

Co-ops, benefit corporations, community banks

[Question A8]Do you support legislation that would encourage the formation of cooperatives and/or benefit corporations and the development of community banks?

  • SUPPORTS: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Kerrigan, Lake
  • EDWARDS: This is a strong and creative piece of legislation.  Economic development is regional, by nature.  An example is our work in Western Massachusetts on the Pioneer Valley Sustainable Knowledge Corridor.  We are crafting a regional brand to attract specific types of industries and companies that take advantage of the unique assets of our region.  This legislation would be a strong partner to this effort by allowing us to foster that growth and invest in a future for our region.  
    This legislation would better allow Western Massachusetts and other regions of the state to build an economy that fits best with their assets and challenges they respectively face.

[ TOP ] [ PART A ]

B.EDUCATION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

[Section B] Public education has always been a gateway to opportunity and mobility for all, regardless of economic circumstances, a cornerstone of the American dream for all residents. However, the soaring price of higher education over the last several decades has made access to this opportunity increasingly out of reach, at the very moment when higher education makes a greater difference to one’s economic future. Meanwhile, powerful corporate interests have been steadily undermining public school teachers and unions and siphoning money from our public K-12 system.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

B. Statement/Experience

[Questions B1/B2] Please share your personal values and principles regarding public education and workforce training. SUGGESTED TOPICS: What value does public education and workforce development have in improving our economy as well as in addressing matters of economic justice? What measures should the Commonwealth take on these issues? You might address, for example, charter schools, school vouchers, standardized testing and federal programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

James Arena-DeRosa

Please share your personal values and principles regarding public education and workforce training.

Government has a responsibility to educate every child. I am not adamantly opposed to experiments  as long as every child is eligible to participate (i.e. I am against cherry picking the best students to start a charter school - but not charter schools themselves -  if you want to send your kids to private school so be it - but I am against giving vouchers for private schools that would still make the total cost prohibitive for most students). As noted elsewhere - I am ok with testing to see where we stand - but education should not be held hostage to the MCAS.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Arena-DeRosa: Related experience/record

While on Finance Committee I supported the tax override that we needed here in my community to support education. Not only did I go on record in support but we hosted learning events at our home, actively campaigned for passage of the override.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Leland Cheung

Please share your personal values and principles regarding public education and workforce training.

I feel strongly that the primary responsibility of society is to educate the next generation. This education should be affordable and accessible to all if it is to enable the social mobility and economic independence necessary to afford everyone access to the American Dream.  Every child in Massachusetts should have access to a quality education – one that doesn’t just focus on standardized testing, but is multifaceted and encourages exploration of different subjects, fields and interests. A quality education also encourages parental involvement, celebrates different backgrounds and perspectives, and develops an environment of trust and inclusion. To achieve this goal, we must ensure that we provide adequate funding to school districts and provide both teachers and students with the resources they need to excel inside and outside of the classroom.  

I also believe we must be cognizant that essential training doesn’t end when an individual graduates and begins their career.  As our economy changes and evolves, it is imperative that we ensure that all of our workers have the tools they need to keep up with it.  Not all of this training is provided by the public sector, but it is our duty to ensure that any individual has the option to continue their education and learn new skills if they have the drive to do so.  The future of our economy depends on it.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Cheung: Related experience/record

In Cambridge, the City Council doesn’t prescribe school policy, but we do control the budget. Throughout my tenure on the Council, I have refused to simply ‘rubber stamp’ the school budget as usual, instead calling on Cambridge’s school administration and School Committee to develop a data-driven plan for excellence to ensure all Cambridge Public School graduates have the tools they need to graduate and prosper in an increasingly competitive world. I’ve called on the Superintendent to implement ideas including universal pre-k, an extended school day, an Office of College Success, increased professional development programs for teachers, broader world language offerings and expanded wraparound services.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Jonathan Edwards

Please share your personal values and principles regarding public education and workforce training.

If we are to realize the jobs revolution that is at the foundation of my campaign, than we must increase our investment in public education.  But this is not just an economic issue, but also a moral one.  We are leaving too many children behind and not giving them the fundamental tools necessary to achieve their own dreams and aspirations.  When students and families from our Communities of Color or other economically disadvantaged groups and regions don’t see a chance to improve their lives, they will give up.

This isn’t the practice life for any of us.  It is the only one we get and if the state doesn’t fully invest in a student or a family, we are stealing the absolute potential of someone’s ‘only life.’  That is unconscionable.  When we maintain policies that preserve economic injustice, we should simply be ashamed of ourselves.  Public policy and solutions to community and statewide challenges are not and must not be cookie cutter. Solutions should be unique to regions to take advantage of regional strengths and better address regional challenges.

As Lieutenant Governor, I will be a leader in the effort to:

  • Mandate with phase-in of full day pre-k education, starting in urban centers and using proven systems such as Appletree
  • Fully fund special education from the state budget
  • Expand public/private partnerships to introduce and/or enhance job training in our public schools
  • Develop regional programs to grant badges to our workforce demonstrating job training and skills within specific workforce sectors

Finally, while I am opposed to school vouchers, I am supportive of charter schools, especially for our urban youth who may feel that their current school options are not meeting their needs.  These children have only one life and we must give them options.  However, I also believe that if a charter school is not meeting minimum standards, they should be quickly shut down.

I also do not believe that No Child Left Behind has succeeded in closing our education gap or working to close the economic gap.  Race to the Top has only succeeded marginally better and that our current system overly relies on standardized testing as a method to gauge education success.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Edwards: Related experience/record

Though I have worked hard to maximize education funding during my tenure as a Whately Selectman, I don’t feel my experiences are relevant for this question.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Steve Kerrigan

Please share your personal values and principles regarding public education and workforce training.

Education is the greatest economic development tool we have, and the strength of our public education system has been, and should always be, a Massachusetts hallmark.  We must build on the gains we have made as a Commonwealth and continue our progress – and not just maintaining our place atop national rankings, but to make sure our students are among the best in the world.  My mother is the school secretary at our elementary school in my hometown of Lancaster for nearly 40 years and my sister is a public school teacher in Lunenberg.  I believe that the changes and policies we pursue to achieve these goals have to be enacted with collaboration of all in the education system.  

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Kerrigan: Related experience/record

As a selectman and finance committee member in Lancaster during the budget crises of the early 1990’s, I worked with local school officials to maintain our school budgets in the face of falling revenues and decreased local aid.

In 1996, I was tasked by Senator Kennedy to work to correct a finding in a Congressional Research Service report that showed Massachusetts was 37th in the nation in networked classrooms.  As the senator’s Policy Director, I worked to bring together technology industry leaders with educators, unions and other community leaders.  The result was the creation of a non-profit organization that took in in-kind donations of equipment and labor and organized Net Days around the Commonwealth where volunteers came together to wire classrooms and improve the connectivity of our public schools.  Through our work, Massachusetts improved its place in the national rankings by 20 spots in 16 months.  

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Mike Lake

Please share your personal values and principles regarding public education and workforce training.

Massachusetts has the best schools in the nation, but our successes aren’t reaching all of our young people; parts of our state have dropout rates that extend into double digits, and we face serious challenges in serving students in urban schools with high concentrations of English language learners.

Our commitment should be to ensure that every child from every neighborhood gets a first class education. We need to invest much more in small class size; a diverse and full curriculum including science, technology, engineering, math, foreign languages, art, music and sports; social and emotional supports for students with tough home lives; holistic assessment of students, teachers, and schools; mentoring and training of teachers; and longer school days with properly compensated teachers.  

I see the value of charter schools as that of a laboratory to support public education, not compete with it. As such, funding for charter schools should be allocated in a separate line item dedicated to research and development investment in education and not tied to funds supporting our public schools. Although in some cases charter schools provide better educations for a few, they drain money from district schools further undermining our commitment to all kids. We should be focused on the public schools most of our kids will attend.

We have also dramatically under invested in public higher education over the past decade. The result is college is out of reach for low income kids and a huge and long-lasting financial burden for middle income kids and families. Our public colleges and universities, including workforce training programs, should be much more affordable. Unless we fix this problem we will increase, rather than decrease, the income divide in Massachusetts.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Lake: Related experience/record

Again, I have made this issue a central tenet of my campaign. Over a decade ago, I advocated for the White House to consider college tuition increases be limited to the rate of inflation in order to qualify for tax exempt status. Recently, I have proposed to Senator Warren that we restructure our tax exempt system for higher education institutions (currently designed as an unfunded mandate) to provide tax credits instead. This proposal would align the interests of universities and colleges with community interests at the local, state and federal levels. It would incentivize colleges and universities to support graduates in their efforts to find employment and encourage them to remain as productive members of our local economy, rather than leaving the Commonwealth to compete with us later. Tax payers in Massachusetts invest in these institutions and therefore deserve to share the benefits of an educated workforce.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Achievement Gaps

[Question B3] What would you do to address persistent racial and economic achievement gaps in education?

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Arena-DeRosa

What would you do to address persistent racial and economic achievement gaps in education?
I go back to my foundational  issues  - if poor kids show up to school hungry or don't eat well during vacation or summer - they are already behind before even start!!  And I do think the way MCAS is used it hurt the poor kids  - again I don't mind testing to see where things stand - but I am more interested in their progress not an absolute score.  I also think #4 is key here because again it gives kids a good start. And it isn't always about the $ but achievement gaps are usually linked more closely to poverty and not race (making it doubly hard for poor communities of color). I do think a multi-cultural approach to education can hlep here - we all ne to see heroes that look a little like us when growing up.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Cheung

What would you do to address persistent racial and economic achievement gaps in education?

Time and time again, research has shown that youngsters who participate in a high-quality preschool program demonstrate significantly higher levels of academic achievement, more socially responsible behavior, and make 42 percent higher wages. I believe that by giving all children a head start on strengthening cognitive abilities and school-appropriate behavior, we provide everyone - not just those born in the right zip code, with the right last name, or with the right connections - the opportunity to start from a level playing field. As Lieutenant Governor, I will be a vocal advocate on expanding universal pre-k throughout the Commonwealth to ensure all kids have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Edwards

What would you do to address persistent racial and economic achievement gaps in education?
No response.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Kerrigan

What would you do to address persistent racial and economic achievement gaps in education?

While minority and low-income students in Massachusetts rank higher than those in other states, the achievement gap between their performance and students from suburban or more affluent districts is persistent and troubling.  We need to attack this problem on several fronts.  First, students need to be prepared to learn and we must increase our commitment to early childhood education.  We need to work harder to attract good teachers to work in urban, rural and other struggling districts and support their efforts once there. One of the selling points of charter schools is that the public system could learn from their successes.  This hasn’t always worked as advertised.  We should explore programs working in charters and public school districts showing success in lower income areas and replicate those around the state.  Those could include extended learning time, tutoring opportunities and challenging students to take on more AP programs.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Lake

What would you do to address persistent racial and economic achievement gaps in education?

A child’s education begins long before he or she sets foot inside an elementary school classroom. One of the most critical steps we can take to ensure overall education equity is to make a commitment to universal early education so that all children start school on equal footing and ready to learn. Twenty five thousand children are currently on the early education waitlist, putting them behind children with access to such programs, and making it hard to catch up. I support increased funding for early education and early intervention programs.

We also need to find solutions to support English language learners and other students of color, who make up a disproportionate share of our dropout population. I support Senator DiDomenico’s ELL bill. I also support Senator Chang-Diaz’s dropout prevention bill, which provides early identification of and individualized support for students at risk of leaving school. For girls, teen pregnancy is the strongest predictor of dropping out or falling behind, and I support increased funding for teen pregnancy prevention and support programs. I will also be a champion for the METCO program, which continues to exhibit very strong results.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Policy Proposals

Universal Pre-K

[Question B4] Do you support creating universal, free Pre-K, accessible to any resident of Massachusetts, integrated into the public school system?

  • SUPPORT: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Kerrigan, Lake
  • EDWARDS: See answer above.  This is one of my highest priorities as the next Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor.
  • LAKE: As important as funding our public schools and higher education is, funding universal pre-school programs is an equal necessity. The relevant research demonstrates that children’s neural development is at a peak between age 0 and age 3.  The more kids are intellectually stimulated during this crucial time, the faster they develop mentally, thereby making it possible for them to excel in school later and be better prepared to become a productive member of our economy—this is a long-term investment with unparalleled rates of return.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Universal higher-ed

[Question B5] Do you support a program that provides free, publicly funded higher education for every student who wants it?

  • SUPPORT: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Lake
  • OPPOSE: Kerrigan

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Further comments

ARENA-DEROSA/free public higher ed: 

I support the concept but we'd need to look at the funding mechanisms and expectations - what will students give in return - a year or two of service - AmeriCorps - City Year - Peace Corps

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

EDWARDS/free public higher ed:

Higher education in the 21st century is as important to our success as an adult as was a high school education in the 20th century.  To not move our education system to one that treats higher education the same as public elementary and secondary education is keeping our students in a 20th century education system, trying to prepare them to be 21st century adults.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

KERRIGAN/free public higher ed:

While I fully support efforts to make our public higher education system more affordable, I do not believe that the Commonwealth’s budget can sustain free public higher education for all at this time.  I value the ideals behind this concept and would be open to revisiting it at the appropriate time. 

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Funding structure

[Question B6] Do you support changes to the Chapter 70 Education formula, including the Foundation Budget, to incorporate proper state funding for ELL students, Special Education students, transportation costs, charter school reimbursements to sending schools, and class size reduction?

  • SUPPORT: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Kerrigan, Lake

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

Further comments

ARENA-DEROSA/funding formula:

In general yes - and as a Finance Committee member I noted the importance of these funds - but we are living in Massachusetts based on boundaries drawn 300 years ago - some areas of the state  need to explore more efficient regional approaches so students and educators can get what  they need.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

EDWARDS/funding formula:

As mentioned previously, I believe that special education should be fully funded through the state budget.  Local funding of special education is not in the best interest of special education and it creates a competition between SPED funding levels and mainstream education funding levels.
Overall, the entire Chapter 70 funding formula needs to be re-evaluated.  It is confusing and very inconsistent.  Simply, it is one of the factors that leads to education inequity across the state.

Finally, we need to re-evaluate charter school reimbursements and transportation costs that are pinching local school budgets across the state.  As stated previously, I am a supporter of charter schools but we should always look to ensure that funding and reimbursement formulas work for equally for district and charter schools.

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

KERRIGAN/funding formula:

The Foundation Formula has not been revisited in a fully comprehensive way since Ed reform was passed in 1993.  Demographic changes and income changes among communities demand that we review the funding system to ensure that communities most in need of state assistance receive what they deserve.  

[ TOP ] [ PART B ]

C. HEALTH CARE

[Section C] Massachusetts has led the way in providing near universal health care insurance coverage. However, we still spend an oversized portion of public and private money on health care, without necessarily achieving better health outcomes.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Statement/Experience

[Questions C1/C2] Please share your personal values and principles regarding health care insurance, delivery and outcomes.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

James Arena-DeRosa

Please share your personal values and principles regarding health care insurance, delivery and outcomes.

Health care is a right
We need a single payer system that preserves some patient choices
WHERE IS THE FOCUS ON PREVENTION!
One of my issues - we lose $250 billion a year national on nutrition related health issues

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Arena-DeRosa: Related experience/record

For the last several years I have promoted more focus on prevention and universal school breakfast  in my dialogue with governors, mayors and state leaders - - but one of the reasons I am running is to elevate these issues which I don't have gotten enough attention.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Leland Cheung

Please share your personal values and principles regarding health care insurance, delivery and outcomes.

Massachusetts has been a national leader in health care reform and we should be proud that we have the highest percentage of covered citizens in the United States but there is more work to be done to lower the staggering costs that come with this coverage. We need government to take a substantive role in regulating the cost and quality of our healthcare so that it is available and affordable to everyone. I believe in a single payer healthcare system where there is a universal standard set in the quality and price of our care. There are countless examples of effective single payer systems throughout the world and I truly believe that we must move in that direction if we want to have universal coverage that provides the level of care that every single American deserves. I believe that health care is a right. Every man woman and child should have access to the highest quality of care at any time, not just when they need it most and when emergency costs are passed onto the taxpayers. There is a smarter, better way that achieves all of our needs and government needs to play its part in getting us there.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Jonathan Edwards

Please share your personal values and principles regarding health care insurance, delivery and outcomes.

Health care is a basic human right.  It is that simple, but it also isn’t really that simple.  It isn’t that simple because unfortunately, a discussion of health care and how to pay for it is perhaps the topic that tears apart our community more than any other in today’s policy dialogue.

We want the finest healthcare available, but we don’t seem to be able to come to a consensus that we need to pay for that healthcare.  But we must.

In order to be able to afford the morally correct policy of universal coverage we must continue to work to make health care affordable.  As a state we don’t maximize the effective systems of wellness or preventative care programs.  We still have too high a reliance on emergency room care.

But we must achieve better health outcomes, as that is one of the best solutions to rising health care costs.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Edwards: Related experience/record

As a member of my Board of Selectmen for 10 years, I have worked hard to maintain health care premium coverage at the highest possible level.  While surrounding communities have dropped their premium payments to 60%, Whately has maintained its coverage at 75% and encouraged employees to take advantage of wellness programs.
Professionally, when I was Vice President of the marketing firm, SmartPower, we prided ourselves at our long-standing policy of providing 100% healthcare premium coverage because we understood that a healthy employee is a more productive and happy employee.  This is a principle that I would carry with me as Lieutenant Governor.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Steve Kerrigan

Please share your personal values and principles regarding health care insurance, delivery and outcomes.

Healthcare is a right that should be afforded to every resident in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts is home to the best healthcare in the world and that amazing healthcare should be accessible to the people of this state.  Healthcare also is an important part of the Massachusetts economy – the largest private sector employer according to several studies – that must be nurtured and protected. However, providing world-class health care in this state should not come at the expense of the rest of the economy.  The move from volume to value, where healthcare providers are paid for high quality outcomes instead of the number of procedures or visits, will help ensure healthcare is focused on keeping people well and better align the incentives across the continuum of care.  Efforts to instill greater transparency in the business of healthcare will help consumers and lawmakers better understand how the industry functions and will create greater accountability and hopefully drive greater efficiencies in the delivery of healthcare services.  We should pursue increased transparency around outcomes, by provider and services, but they must also be produced in a manner that is understandable and usable to patients.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Kerrigan: Related experience/record

Any discussion about healthcare is highly personal; I and my family members have had numerous instances where we have been thankful and grateful to receive care in one of the many outstanding healthcare institutions in Massachusetts.  Having served as a member of the Board of Visitors at the New England Baptist Hospital, I have witnessed the miracles performed everyday but also that healthcare is a difficult business.  We are fortunate to have these resources available to us in Massachusetts.   

Working with Senator Edward Kennedy, I had the privilege of learning from one of the country’s biggest champions of healthcare. I learned that not everyone is fortunate enough to have easy access to the best care in the world and that it is a right we must fight for and protect.

Having served as the chief of staff at the state Attorney General’s Office which oversaw matters related to insurance, the protection and regulation of public charities, including many of the largest healthcare institutions we have, consumer protection and antitrust, I am well aware of the complexity of our healthcare system and what is at stake for patients, employees and businesses.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Mike Lake

Please share your personal values and principles regarding health care insurance, delivery and outcomes.

This issue is straightforward in terms of principles-- health care is a right, not a privilege, and we need to approach all of our decisions on health care with that value in mind. I support efforts to move Massachusetts towards a single payer system, including Senator Eldridge’s proposal to commence a comparison study of our current cost containment efforts against a single payer system.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Policies and Proposals

Single Payer and Public Option

[Question C3] Do you support moving Massachusetts to Single Payer insurance?

  • SUPPORT: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Lake
  • KERRIGAN: No response
  • ARENA-DEROSA: but at this juncture I think we have to see how the HCA plays out over the next few years and give it a chance

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

What role might a Public Option play, in your view?

ARENA-DEROSA:

What role might a Public Option play, in your view?

No response

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

CHEUNG

What role might a Public Option play, in your view?

Developing a public option is an important first step in ensuring that everyone throughout the Commonwealth has access to an affordable, quality system of coordinated care.  Developing a public option will serve as a stabilizing force to regulate our health care market and ensures that insurers are no longer to charge astronomical premiums based on your income bracket and the zip code in which you live. However, developing a public option does not ensure that everyone who will one day need access to comprehensive health care has it as a basic right - it merely levels the playing field for those choosing to partake in the system. Ultimately, I support a single payer system that guarantees that everyone throughout the Commonwealth has the opportunity to live a healthy life.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

EDWARDS:

What role might a Public Option play, in your view?

I believe that a public option is the next step towards Single Payer Insurance.  As mentioned above, the health care debate is tearing at our state and country’s ability to have discussions on any public policy issue.  If we want to ultimately realize a Single Payer Insurance system, we must be methodical in our next steps.
Including a Public Option and implementing it correctly to make it an affordable and cost-effective coverage mechanism is the best way to show doubters of a Single Payer system that the government can effectively provide health care. 

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

KERRIGAN:

What role might a Public Option play, in your view?

While a single payer system could streamline an overly cumbersome administrative sector of the healthcare industry, we have seen in this state that government can play a strong hand and help push for a more efficient, transparent and competitive health insurance market that truly works for the people.  A public option, well executed could play an important role in creating more standardization, value and competition in the market.  Massachusetts is the beneficiary of the alternative to the public option in the Affordable Care Act, health insurance co-ops.  We should continually push the carriers in our market to be innovative in how they use their members’ healthcare dollars, transparent in where their costs and surpluses lie, and collaborative with their providers.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

LAKE:

What role might a Public Option play, in your view?

My fear of the Public Option scenario is that, despite what opponents say, private industry could undermine the Public Option. I see the threat as being similar to what UPS and FedEx have done to the US Postal Service—providing service where it is most economical and leaving the rest to the public sector.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Costs and Quality

[Question C4] What steps would you take to lower health care costs while maintaining or improving health outcomes?

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Arena-DeRosa

What steps would you take to lower health care costs while maintaining or improving health outcomes?
WHERE IS THE FOCUS ON PREVENTION!

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Cheung

What steps would you take to lower health care costs while maintaining or improving health outcomes?

I know that a single payer health care system will decrease health care costs while improving access to preventative care and early intervention mechanisms. A single payer system would cut costs by reducing unnecessary overhead across the board, whether it be provider overhead by eliminating the need for a billing department to determine which forms get sent to which insurance company, regulatory overhead by eliminating the need to determine who is complying with the law by subscribing to a health care plan, and insurance overheard that is aggrandized from marketing costs. A single payer system also eliminates the middleman in all health care transactions, making it easier to control costs paid by the consumer, and standardizes payment for care to ensure that a you pay the same price for a treatment in Boston that you would pay for a treatment in Springfield.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Edwards

What steps would you take to lower health care costs while maintaining or improving health outcomes?

1.  Expand the ability of employers to work together to increase buying power through larger group purchases.
2.  Provide tax incentives for employees who take advantage of wellness programs.
3.  Provide tax incentives for employees to have regular preventative care checkups.
4. Learn and implement best practices through data analysis of what keeps health care dollars lower in other states and what drives up health care costs across the country.
5. Work with medical institutions to maximize general practice physicians, especially in more rural parts of our state. This will expand preventative coverage and care and drive down health care costs.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Kerrigan

What steps would you take to lower health care costs while maintaining or improving health outcomes?

Studies have shown that costs in the Massachusetts healthcare market are driven by many factors, including market leverage and geography, that significant price variation exists among providers while outcomes can be quite similar, and that there is great variation in investment from community to community. Government should continue to play its role as both a regulator and major payer to encourage greater efficiencies in the healthcare delivery system.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Lake

What steps would you take to lower health care costs while maintaining or improving health outcomes?

Improving care while decreasing costs can occur when health care is integrated and properly managed to maximize benefits and eliminate redundancies and overtreatment. In addition, implementing measures to prevent fraud in the payment system (something I advocated for during the 2010 Auditor’s race).

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Mental Health

[Question C5] What steps would you take to address the gap in affordable mental health services?

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Arena-DeRosa

What steps would you take to address the gap in affordable mental health services?

No response

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Cheung

What steps would you take to address the gap in affordable mental health services?

Throughout the past year, the Commonwealth and the nation have taken great strides to address the gap in affordable mental health services following the issuance of President Obama’s fall 2013 regulation that all insurers must provide similar coverage for people with mental and physical health problems.  As the state’s Department of Insurance begins to collect thorough reports detailing the intricacies of how insurers approve or deny coverage for mental vs. physical health services, it is essential that we monitor this information to make informed policy decisions as to how our regulations can be refined in the future.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Edwards

What steps would you take to address the gap in affordable mental health services?

Mental health coverage and care needs to mirror that of traditional health care coverage and care.  Further, we need to have a statewide dialogue on mental health and remove the stigma of mental health diseases that too often prevent patients from seeking out low-cost care, at the expense of human and economic consequences down the road.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Kerrigan

What steps would you take to address the gap in affordable mental health services?

Approximately one in four adults suffers from a diagnosable mental health disorder each year.  And they tend to have additional healthcare issues and overall incur higher healthcare costs.  We need to move away from the stigma of “mental illness” and toward a culture of “mental health” and “behavioral health.”  I will fight hard to support programs in the state budget like, MCPAP (Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program) where trained pediatric psychiatrists are made available for consultation to pediatricians across the state.  Programs like MCPAP ensure services are made available in every community and in settings beyond the typical mental health provider’s office.  I believe we must also enforce mental health parity laws, ensuring health plans are providing not just adequate coverage, but equal coverage for mental health services.  This will go a long way to providing much needed care.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Lake

What steps would you take to address the gap in affordable mental health services?

Mental health services are as fundamental to Massachusetts residents’ well-being as physical care. I support increased funding for mental health and substance abuse services in the state budget. Mental health is the root cause of many issues I care deeply about, from suicide prevention to homelessness. We need to make it clear that investing in the wellbeing of our fellow citizens is both a short and long-term value for us all. For example with numbers of self-medicated illegal drug users increasing, we are looking at a $2 billion investment in prisons. Prisons are not the answer—properly medicated individuals with jobs will reduce the need for additional prison space. We need to make our investments wisely—focusing on root causes and not symptoms.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Health Disparities

[Question C6] What steps would you take to reduce racial and income disparities in health outcomes?

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Arena-DeRosa

What steps would you take to reduce racial and income disparities in health outcomes?

So much of this comes back to appropriate staffing and access -  we still have it backwards where the $ always will cover emergency services and hospitalizations but not preventative consultations and visits.  

e.g. Rich kid/Poor Kid both are obese and need an anti-lipid regimen - insurance pays $2000 a month.

Rich Kid/Poor Kid - borderline struggling with weight. Pediatrician wants to send kid to a nutritionist - insurance pays 0 - which kid do you think still goes to the nutritionist at parents costs of $75 a visit and which one doesn't get the guidance and support (true story - bad policy)

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Cheung

What steps would you take to reduce racial and income disparities in health outcomes?

Reducing racial and income disparities in health outcomes is a challenge that requires a multi-faceted approach that encompasses strong community-based outreach programs, increasing funding to facilities that primarily provide care to individuals from underserved populations, and reducing healthcare costs.  I believe that challenges in health outcomes can be largely addressed by eliminating challenges pertaining to access.  We must make sure that everyone throughout the Commonwealth has access to a primary care physician in their community that can help provide critical preventative care measures and other essential health services. We must incentivize the growth of new facilities in underserved regions to put convenient, affordable and accessible at the fingertips of those who need it the most.  We must make sure that our health care providers are able to communicate those who speak different languages, come from different cultural backgrounds, and have different understandings about the role that health care providers can play in promoting a more healthful future.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Edwards

What steps would you take to reduce racial and income disparities in health outcomes?

As a state we need to better address the reasons for not only health care coverage disparities but also health care delivery disparities.  We need to build health care awareness into our social services, worker training programs, and civic and non-profit programs and initiatives.  We need to expand the definition of who is a stakeholder on effective health care to include social service agencies such as CDCs, the United Way, the NAACP and other groups.

Further, we need to tackle the challenges of nutrition and physical fitness that divide along racial and income lines.  The model embraced by the Obama Administration in this regard would be a good starting point for the state.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Kerrigan

What steps would you take to reduce racial and income disparities in health outcomes?

We must continually ask providers and payers what they are doing to create greater equity in investment across communities, to treat patients in a culturally attuned manner, and ensure that cutting edge medicine and clinical trials are targeting all ethnicities and socioeconomic sectors.  Government must do better to ensure that those providers caring for the greatest number of Medicaid patients are not disadvantaged by receiving the lowest private reimbursements.  

As the Attorney General reported, the disparity in healthcare investment by community cannot be tolerated.  We must continue to shine a light on these disparities and hold healthcare providers and health plan administrators accountable for the delivering greater equity.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Lake

What steps would you take to reduce racial and income disparities in health outcomes?

It is tragic that communities of color and low-income communities have worse health outcomes than other communities, including higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, and prostate cancer, to name a few, and even increased rates of asthma in young children.

I support increased state funding to community health centers and disproportionate share hospitals, both of which serve vulnerable populations. I also continue to be interested in the work of the Health Disparities Council, created as part of the 2006 health care reform law, which provides data-driven methods to solving these issues. Access to quality care as well as access to healthy foods is essential to balancing these disparities. I would also support efforts for increased urban agriculture opportunities.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Implement Standards of Care and Costs Panel

[Question C7] Do you support establishing a state panel of experts (such as the Affordable Care Act’s IPAB/“Independent Payment Advisory Board”) to recommend high-value and cost-effective services?

  • SUPPORT: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards
  • OPPOSE: Lake
  • EDWARDS: This is the solution type that is discussed in the above answer
  • KERRIGAN: I support independent analysis that will further educate consumers and provide more fully informed and educated consumers about their healthcare options.  Healthcare is rife with helpful data, we should be harnessing the power of this information to determine if certain care protocols are effective, or more effective than others, if standardized protocols can ensure better outcomes and should become the norm.  However, most important are the decisions made between a patient and their doctor.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Pharmaceutical companies

[Question C8] Do you support prohibiting pharmaceutical companies from including direct-to-consumer drug advertising as tax-deductible expense?

  • SUPPORT: Cheung, Lake
  • OPPOSE: Edwards, Kerrigan

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Further comments

ARENA-DEROSA:

I'd want to understand your concern with this - advertising is generally considered a legitimate business expense. If there are abuses or deceptive approaches we should stop those

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

EDWARDS:

Simply, because I worry that this will result in nothing other than a reduction in general awareness for those communities most in need of maximum amounts of information.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

KERRIGAN:

More than 10% of healthcare spending annually is on pharmaceuticals and this portion is projected to grow.  As we see this percentage increase, our focus should not just remain on the cost of prescriptions, but on pharmacy and prescription management and adherence.  Support to patients to ensure prescriptions are taken as directed, that they are having the intended effect having someone on hand to help ensue those taking the most complex or taking a number of drugs has the oversight and assistance they need to manage their lifestyles, their medications and to obtain overall good health.

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

Bulk prescription programs

[Question C9] Do you support establishing a bulk prescription drug program that would provide lower cost prescription drugs for public employees?

  • SUPPORT: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Kerrigan, Lake
  • EDWARDS: I support it for all employees, not just public employees.

Do you support establishing this same program for all Massachusetts residents?

  • SUPPORT: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Lake
  • KERRIGAN: While bringing down the costs of prescription drugs for the greatest number of people is certainly a worthy goal, I would need more information on the administrative costs of such a program.  

[ TOP ] [ PART C ]

D. HOUSING

[Section D] In the last ten years, the need for affordable housing has increased, while funds for affordable housing have decreased, federal and state. Currently there is a 10-year waiting list for a rental voucher, and the average rent for a two bedroom apartment requires a wage 50% higher than the median Massachusetts wage. Half of families in Greater Boston alone pay over 30% of their income in housing and utilities costs – and 25% of households pay more than half their income to housing. This is unsustainable. It has led to expanding economic inequality, increased homelessness, and damage to our economy, as talented workers often leave the state for less expensive regions.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Statement/Experience

[Question D1/D2] Please share your personal values and principles regarding affordable housing. SUGGESTED TOPICS: How would you ensure that there is suitable housing for all who need it, within reasonable distance of job opportunities? How would you address the need to link housing, jobs and transportation? How would you tackle homelessness?

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

James Arena-DeRosa

Please share your personal values and principles regarding affordable housing.

Basic housing is a right and it is startling when you consider the $ spent to hotel people (we supported some home deliveries of food for people temporarily located in hotels)  vs. investing in permanent housing.  It is a long term structural issue and I did at one point work a little in real estate with people who worked for affordable housing early in my career  - but I don't  consider myself an expert but I imagine you would have my support on critical issues we'd need to bring to the fore.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Arena-DeRosa: Related experience/record

This is an area I'd like to learn more about if I am elected Lt. Governor

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Leland Cheung

Please share your personal values and principles regarding affordable housing.

I believe that affordable housing is a necessity and must be an available and integrated part of each and every community. Housing costs are the highest monthly expense for most people throughout the Commonwealth and stabilizing that expense through affordable housing one of the most effective ways to create a stable living environment for families and seniors. No one should ever have to forgo food, healthcare or furthering their education because of their housing costs. We need more affordable housing throughout Massachusetts, in every community -  not just urban centers.  Once we establish suitable affordable housing, we need to pair it with access to public transportation so that people can seek out the social services and employment opportunities that are best for them.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Cheung: Related experience/record

During my time in office, I have prioritized reducing the foreclosure rate, stabilizing the housing market, and increasing the amount of affordable housing available throughout our City by:

  • advocating for increasing inclusionary zoning standards by ordering the City administration to undergo Nexus studies and staunchly supporting the preservation of 40B;
  • vocally supporting increased affordable housing options without clustering;
  • voting against proposals that would have limited the amount of CPA funding allocated to the Affordable Housing Trust from 80 to 70 percent;
  • calling for increased transitional housing to empower Cambridge’s homeless population to obtain stable shelter and employment options;
  • being unwaveringly insistent in all large-scale development that securing large mitigation funds and preserving affordable housing units is a non-negotiable part of all agreements; and
  • organizing a forum focused on future housing needs for senior citizens and called on a panel of housing experts to work towards solutions.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Jonathan Edwards

Please share your personal values and principles regarding affordable housing.

We must increase the volume of and access to affordable housing.  We must build what people need and historically we don’t adequately assess the needs of different population segments.  Even a 15’ x 20’ room, including a small galley kitchen is going to meet the needs of some of our population segments and it will be a lot better than what they currently have.  In a state with as much prosperity and opportunity as we have in Massachusetts, we cannot tolerate current homelessness levels.  We must also increase affordability to reduce the battle between paying for housing and other basic human necessities.

Simply, we need to be creative and we must no longer sweep the homeless and affordable housing problem under the rug, but rather we must face it and create a dialogue that builds solutions.

We must also break down the silos that exist between agencies.  Linking affordable housing with jobs and transportation, while simultaneously encouraging regional cooperation will create more effective affordable housing policy, save money, and also provide critical tools to expand the productivity of those receiving housing assistance.

Finally, as discussed previously, we must address the inadequate mental health care in Massachusetts to help reduce homeless.  Though it is not the only reason for homelessness, data exists to show that those with various mental health challenges do represent a significant percentage of our homeless population.  This is another area where we must break down service delivery silos.  

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Edwards: Related experience/record

As a member of my Board of Selectmen I have worked closely with the Housing Committee to ensure we build more affordable housing in town and that it is placed along public transportation routes, where those needing affordable housing can more easily get to their jobs, stores, banks, etc.  Further, as the Chair of the Board of Oversight for our regional senior center, I have worked with area leaders to build consensus around the creation of a regional affordable housing solution.  Small towns must work together on this issue to ensure the best possible affordable housing opportunities and my commitment to consensus building has fostered open dialogue with area councils on aging and others.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Steve Kerrigan

Please share your personal values and principles regarding affordable housing.

If we do not create the supply of housing that we need, we will not be able to attract and keep the families and workers necessary to meet the tremendous growth potential of our state economy.  That means addressing the urgent need for affordable housing options for young people, whether those be apartments, condos or single family homes.  This need is particularly acute around urban areas and town centers. To meet this challenge, the state must partner with communities to lessen the opposition and restrictions on new housing and help communities absorb growing populations.  Creating more affordable housing is also a key element in addressing income inequality given the high ratio of lower income family budgets that go towards their home.   

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Mike Lake

Please share your personal values and principles regarding affordable housing.

The combination of stagnant family incomes and rising home prices and rents in many parts of the state is having a devastating impact on working family living standards.  We have both a moral obligation and the economic necessity to increase housing options at affordable prices.  To do this we need to increase housing production dramatically.  

In developing the housing we will need in the Commonwealth, we need to be keenly aware of the changing demographics in the state.  Over the next decade, we will have to build housing for hundreds of thousands of aging baby boomer households who will want to move from their current housing to smaller units with appropriate amenities. We will also need smaller housing units in order to retain and attract young millennials.   As such, I fully endorse Governor Patrick’s call for 10,000 units of transit-oriented, smart growth multiunit housing per year in the Commonwealth.   We need to be sure that overly-restrictive local zoning does not make such housing impossible to produce.  We should encourage cities and towns to adopt Chapter 40R and 40S to help them rezone appropriate parts of their municipalities for smart growth of this type.

In addition, we need to encourage universities and teaching hospitals to work with developers to produce 8,000 – 10,000 units of smaller housing units for graduate students, medical interns and residents, and young workers in order to not only provide housing for them, but to free up older larger housing stock like that found in Greater Boston’s triple-deckers and duplexes – housing originally built for working families but now being taken over by young people who, with roommates, outbid working families for this housing.

In older communities where there has been a disproportionate number of foreclosures, we need to continue state and federal efforts to help families stay in their homes.
We also need to increase access to areas of the Commonwealth that currently have affordable housing by investing in our regional transportation authorities, our commuter rail system (including more frequent service as well as advancing South Coast Rail). Furthermore, I believe we need to continue efforts for a long-term project of high-speed rail service in the Northeast Corridor (using the inner route) to bring jobs and economic development to places like Worcester and Springfield, while reducing carbon emission and increasing mobility and connectivity to jobs and housing.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Lake: Related experience/record

During my tenure at Northeastern University we produced the annual Housing Report Card, which showed a trend of diminishing affordable housing. As a board member for Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, we have worked to develop affordable housing that moves us closer to our supply goals.

This issue brings us back to raising the minimum wage. Research shows that 29% of homeless families in Massachusetts have a working adult. Basic math and moral conscience tell us that a person who works 40 hours per week should be able to put food on the table and keep a roof over his or her head. Ending family homelessness was the single cause I rallied the Real Estate industry around during my tenure at United Way. We have 4,100 families living in government subsidized motel and more than 20,000 homeless children, the average age of which is just 8 years old. We are one of the wealthiest states in the wealthiest nation on Earth. This is a moral crisis and will be an issue I will continue to champion as the next Lt. Governor.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Policies and Proposals

Housing Authorities

[Question D3] Governor Patrick has proposed consolidating the Housing Authorities to six regional authorities, from the current 242 authorities. The legislature appears reluctant to agree to this reform, in part because it would reduce local control. What is your position?

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Arena-DeRosa – on consolidating housing authorities

I like the idea of regional problem solving but a not sure taking away the local authority is the best approach.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Cheung – on consolidating housing authorities

As a municipal official, I have first-hand experience navigating the complexities of a local housing authority on behalf of my constituents and strongly support Governor Patrick’s proposal to regionalize local authorities. With Cambridge’s wait-list for public housing spanning over a ten year wait time, I believe that it is essential to take the necessary measures that would hasten the turnover time of vacant units and centralize waiting lists so that applicants and their families only have to apply once. Furthermore, Governor Patrick’s plan would ultimately allow local authorities to implement necessary infrastructure improvements and enhance the quality of programs and services offered to residents.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Edwards – on consolidating housing authorities

I am in support of the Patrick Administration proposal to consolidate Housing Authorities but the regional administrative structures should be one per county, as opposed to the current proposal of six across the state.  Doing so would save on administrative costs and allow the money to be better spent on direct assistance.  Further, this proposal would increase regional cooperation on affordable housing implementation.

However any legislation should require local property management that reports to the regionalized administrative system.  This legislation should also require a state-of-the-art online functionality so that recipient of affordable housing can process the application and other requirements online as opposed to going to housing authorities in person.  This will further alleviate the need for the current 232 administrative offices across the state.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Kerrigan – on consolidating housing authorities

I am not convinced that creating larger state bureaucracy removed from the communities it is designed to serve will solve the problems this legislation sought to address.  Of particular concern to me, as a former town official from a small community, is that attention and resources will inequitably flow to larger communities in these new regional authorities.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Lake – on consolidating housing authorities

I support the consolidation of local housing authorities.  Through such consolidation, we can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of delivering public housing services to those families who need such housing.  This will not only save tax dollars by reducing the administrative cost of running these authorities, but create better living situations for those who rely on public housing.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Affordable Housing

[Question D4] What would you do to increase the number of affordable housing units in the State? What would you do to ensure that no low-income family has to spend more than 50% of their income on housing and related expenses; and that fewer than a quarter of families spending more than 33% of income on shelter?

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Arena-DeRosa – increasing affordable housing

No response

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Cheung – increasing affordable housing

I will advocate to ensure that cities, towns and developers have the proper incentives to increase local affordable housing stocks. We need to increase the ties in affordable housing costs to the minimum wage and to the poverty level as well as local property values. We also need to make sure that Massachusetts moves back into a “housing first” model so that more families can stay where they live, work and learn and not worry about the costly and unstable environment that comes with emergency shelters.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Edwards – increasing affordable housing

Housing experts from across the state indicate that there is a great need for studio apartments to satisfy some of our affordable housing needs.  Unfortunately, developers currently do not build these units, as they are non-economical for their business.  A tax incentive would make it more economical for these units to be built.  I would also build consensus that these units be built in community-style campuses or buildings with shared facilities and services, while also placing them in town centers and in areas with strong public transportation systems.  This will allow residents to easily get to their places of employment and have efficient access to critical services such as groceries, healthcare and retail.

We must also allow veterans housing vouchers to be used with two or more bedroom apartments.  This is currently not possible.  The limited income of some veterans is not efficiently used when we require vouchers to be used in single individual/family dwellings.  We must encourage the sharing of expenses and provide systems for cost-effective service delivery for those needing affordable housing.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Kerrigan – increasing affordable housing

The basis of any affordable housing strategy must first focus on ensuring there is adequate supply of subsidized housing for three groups: Those in most financial need on the verge of homelessness, seniors, and veterans.  Next, we need to work to ensure that we are creating enough workforce housing to meet the demands of a growing population and to fuel economic growth, particularly in and around urban areas.  One step would be to discontinue the practice of allowing communities to count senior housing toward their affordability percentage.  This practice has given communities a pass on creating enough affordable housing to accommodate young people and low- to middle-income working families.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Lake – increasing affordable housing

The key is creating enough new supply to meet demand.  Because of the increased demand of young residents for housing and the explosion in rents, the median price of a single unit in a Greater Boston triple decker has soared by 46% since 2009.  The vacancy rate for such housing has shrunk to less than 4 percent, well below the level needed to stabilize rents.  We have tried to keep housing affordable for low and moderate income households through rent subsidies and we need to continue to offer these.  But these rent subsidies do practically nothing to increase supply and therefore the need for larger and larger subsidies for more and more families continues to grow.  As I note in my answer to a previous question, we need zoning reform for expanding housing supply especially for young people and aging baby boomers.  This will help keep rents affordable and ultimately reduce the need for tax-payer supplied rent subsidies.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Temporary Housing Transitions

[Question D5] What would you do to move homeless families and individuals out of motels and shelters and into permanent housing?

Arena-DeRosa – transitions from temporary housing

$ is not the only factor but it is part of it we just have to allocate more resources here - (if mortgage companies want home buyers to only to spend a third of income on housing that should be our goal)

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Cheung – transitions from temporary housing

Access to transitional housing program is a crucial component for individuals and families to lift themselves out of homelessness.  The instability of living in a shelter makes it incredibly difficult for homeless individuals to obtain and maintain stable employment, with many individuals lacking safe space to store their personal belongings, constantly worrying about whether or not they will have a bed in the shelter, or being restricted to the stringent hours of shelters that lack daytime programs. Transitional housing provides homeless individuals with the safety, stability, and wraparound services that are crucial to good employment, health, and self-esteem, but there is drastic shortage of transitional housing opportunities in Massachusetts. I will call for increased development of transitional and affordable housing programs throughout the Commonwealth. We must also be proactive in stopping homelessness before it takes a hold on a family by moving back to a “housing first” model. Offering rent assistance to families in need keeps them in the stable environment where they live, work and learn and cost the state pennies on the dollar in comparison to the price of temporary housing through emergency shelters or motels.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Edwards – transitions from temporary housing

The above solutions around increased studio apartments and regionalizing service delivery are two actions that homeless and affordable housing advocates indicate would begin to help with this transition.  We must find ways to build more housing in Massachusetts.  And this housing must be located in community centers with access to services that we all need to lead our lives.

Motels and shelters are administratively easy solutions, but they are not sustainable solutions.  They allow us to claim we are tackling the challenge, without truly working toward a solution that is effective or efficient.  A large part of this solution is an increase in the volume of housing that drives costs down and increases access.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Kerrigan – transitions from temporary housing

Before we do anything to address homelessness, we have to be honest about the extent of the problem.  Currently, we count the homeless and impose tough regulations in admittance to shelters, which is particularly challenging as they relate to battered women having to establish proof of violence against them.  With the most accurate count possible, I will push for the support programs necessary to solve the problem in a real way.  Those solutions should include integrating health and social services and worker training into shelters to create ladders of opportunity for the homeless and give them a sense of hope for a better life.  Motels should be an emergency option – not a long-term or even medium-term – solution to homelessness.  First, motels are often in poor locations, not near shopping or schools.  They do not provide adequate access to support programs.  And cities and towns where they are located are denied the hotel/motel tax revenues when the state takes over units to house the homeless.  We cannot continue to allow this “band-aid” as part of any lasting solution.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Lake – transitions from temporary housing

Living in shelters and motels for extended periods of time is hard on families and extremely disruptive to children. We need to work together to make a strong commitment to helping families achieve permanent, stable housing.

The solution starts with preventing more families from losing their housing in the first place. We need to commit stronger funding for rent stabilization and anti-foreclosure programs to provide families a helping hand when they are at-risk of losing their housing.

Current waitlists for public housing subsidies are 10 years long. This makes applying for housing seem like a quixotic effort for families who need housing immediately. Federal cuts to housing programs have made the problem worse, but the state nonetheless needs to pick up the ball. I support strong investments in programs such as MRVP, RAFT, and Home and Healthy for Good.

We also need to increase the amount of available public housing and at the same time limit rent increases in our older housing stock by increasing multiunit housing construction in order to make it possible to house homeless families and individuals in decent permanent housing at reasonable rents.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Regulation Reform, Development and Preservation

[Question D6] Would you support reforms to update our outmoded zoning, subdivision, and planning laws, in such a way as to encourage balanced development and land preservation?

  • SUPPORT: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Kerrigan, Lake

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

Further comments

EDWARDS/regulation reforms

This is another example of the need to break down service delivery silos.  We must build consensus and work with cities and towns on the above issues.  It is precisely why our next Lieutenant Governor must have extensive experience and relationships with local government and planning authorities. Outdated zoning bylaws is an issue that impacts so many challenges we face in this state, not the least of which is affordable housing and homelessness.

As the next Lieutenant Governor, I have the experience and ability to work closely with local officials, advocates and regional planning agencies to solve these problems, which in turn will have a very positive impact on improving the lives of the homeless and others in need of affordable housing.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

KERRIGAN/regulation reforms

It makes sense to review these laws regularly to determine whether and how they should be changed to adapt to changing demographic and economic trends.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]

LAKE/regulation reforms

Currently, there are 31 communities in Massachusetts that have taken advantage of Chapter 40R, the Smart Growth Overlay Zoning Law passed in 2004.  Nearly 2,000 units of housing have been built in 40R communities or are scheduled to be built.  We need to encourage more communities to adopt 40R, which not only provides for more housing that is transit-oriented, but provides those communities with additional local aid to help them pay for public services.  I will be a strong advocate for 40R development when I am elected and will encourage communities all through the Commonwealth to take advantage of this “smart” way to develop the housing we need so desperately in many parts of the state.

[ TOP ] [ PART D ]


REVENUE AND TAXATION

[Section E] Because of income tax cuts and the effects of the recession, Massachusetts has lost nearly $3 billion in revenue over the last 12 years. We now collect less revenue than 21 other states, and our tax revenue is below the national average. Since 1982, local aid has dropped 58%. Cuts to the moderately progressive state income tax have meant increasing reliance on fees, sales, gas and property taxes, exacerbating the overall regressiveness of our revenue. Regressive taxation strains low- and middle-income families, and reduced revenue collection curtails our ability to invest in vital infrastructure.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Statement/Experience

[Question E1/E2] What principles do you bring to considerations of state revenue and tax reform (individual and corporate)? SUGGESTED TOPIC: How should we raise more revenue to adequately fund our communities for the future?

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

James Arena-DeRosa

What principles do you bring to considerations of state revenue and tax reform (individual and corporate)?

In general I support a progressive tax code

We have delayed too many important investments

More $ needs to go to local aid (I have seen it in local gov)-

But it isn't just about raising more revenue - we have to look at cost savings in how we run large government programs.  Sometimes the lack of investment and foresight hurts. My team had to make a $30 million claim against Massachusetts because of of poor decisions in the past and not updating their IT systems.  Fortunately we negotiated a reinvestment vs. a fine but many systems need an upgrade so we can step back and see where best to invest precious financial and human resources.  

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Arena-DeRosa: Related experience/record

While on Finance Committee I supported the tax override that we needed here in my community to support education. Not only did I go on record in support but we hosted learning events at our home, actively campaigned for passage of the override.   This gave us more $ to work with for other key community priorities.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Leland Cheung

What principles do you bring to considerations of state revenue and tax reform (individual and corporate)?

I believe that taxes are the costs of liberty, justice, and opportunity. I believe in the common good; I believe in a government that expands access to opportunity and catches people when they fall; I believe that investment in our collective future is investment in our own children’s future. Taxes are what make all of the above possible. And inequality in outcome must be progressively taxed if we believe in creating equal opportunity for subsequent generations. We must ask all to pay their fair share because we all benefit from the bountiful majesty that is the Commonwealth.  Relying primarily on the sales tax and other regressive taxation measures that charge everyone the same amount regardless of income places a large burden on low- and middle-income families because the tax consumes a disproportionate amount of their earnings. I support moderate increases to income taxes that allow everyone to shoulder a manageable portion of the cost of investing in our collective future.  I believe that expanding Massachusetts’ legacy in emerging STEM industries will further enable Massachusetts to raise more revenue to give our communities they need to grow and thrive.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Jonathan Edwards

What principles do you bring to considerations of state revenue and tax reform (individual and corporate)?

I will look seriously at the need to increase our state’s income tax rate.  However, I will do so simultaneously with an extensive overhaul of state spending through a transparent zero-based budgeting process that will be driven by the Executive Office of Administration & Finance.  I will ask the Governor to have me serve as the official liaison with the Secretary of A&F on this process.  This process will allow the administration to better demonstrate the need for increased revenues and show the voters of Massachusetts that we are spending their dollars in the most efficient manner.

As a resident of Western Massachusetts and a leader in my community I see firsthand the increased reliance on property taxes and a rising gas tax.  As is well documented, the impact of these taxes on seniors and low-income populations is sometimes catastrophic to their respective lifestyles.  

Massachusetts’ leaders must revamp our tax structure to be more equitable and to reduce the burden on cities and towns to provide the services the state cannot afford because of the current tax structure.  But we must do so in a way that does not make the state less business friendly.  We must work with all stakeholders to create the value proposition for increasing our revenue stream and understand how to do so in a more equitable manner.  I don’t think that anyone can say what that structure will ultimately look like, but we must embrace the dialogue so we can move toward a solution.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Edwards: Related experience/record

As a member of the Whately Board of Selectmen for ten years, I have been vocal about the lack of local aid provided to cities and towns by the state.  Every time they cut a program because of a lack of ability or willingness to pay, cities and towns are forced to increase our property taxes to deliver the services, many of which are mandated by the state.  The Romney Administration tried to claim the state could afford tax cuts, but they are not true tax cuts when the responsibilities for payment for the services simply falls to cities and towns.  It is a tax cut for the state, but a mandated tax increase for local government.  This system lacks equity and is intellectually dishonest.

Further, as I have said repeatedly, raising the gas tax is an undue burden on Massachusetts' residents who live in more rural parts of the state.
We must look at all revenue options, and have leaders who understand and have experienced the challenges of governing because of this inequitable tax structure.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Steve Kerrigan

What principles do you bring to considerations of state revenue and tax reform (individual and corporate)?

It is no secret that there exists in this nation – and in our Commonwealth – an ever-widening trust gap that between the people and the leaders elected to serve them.  Before we can go to the taxpayers and ask them to contribute more in the way of tax dollars to support the initiatives we need to keep Massachusetts on a progressive path, we need to be able to explain and convince them that the revenues the state currently collects are being used as effectively and efficiently as possible.  First and foremost, I would seek to reform the Commonwealth’s tax incentive programs to determine which are working as intended and which should be revisited or even revoked.  Those recouped revenues can then be used to fund other more worthy government incentive programs or be redirected to other areas of the state budget.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Kerrigan: Related experience/record

As a finance committee member and a member of the Board of Selectman in Lancaster during the recession and budget crisis of the early 1990’s, I was responsible for setting the tax rate and balancing our community’s most pressing fiscal needs with our residents’ and businesses’ ability to contribute more during trying economic times.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Mike Lake

What principles do you bring to considerations of state revenue and tax reform (individual and corporate)?

Massachusetts is a great place to live, work, and raise a family because of our commitment to investing in the programs and services we need to build strong and vibrant communities. Federal cuts as a result of the recession and sequester have led to a scaling back of these critical programs and services. Cities and towns across the state have been hamstrung by dramatic cuts to local aid. Though our economy continues to recover, the symptoms of these cuts are everywhere: families living in motels, seniors skipping medical appointments because they can no longer afford the RIDE following dramatic fare increases, thousands of toddlers remaining on the waitlist for early education.

We simply can’t maintain our position as a leader in education and innovation if we are unable or unwilling to invest in our greatest resource as a state: our people. To grow Massachusetts, we need to commit to a revenue structure that is both adequate and fair. This means collecting enough revenue to provide for the programs and services that our communities need, and collecting it in a way that those who have more, give more.

I look forward to learning of the deliberations of the state’s Tax Fairness Commission.  I hope the members of the commission will suggest a way to make our personal tax system more progressive either by suggesting that the state take on the task of passing a constitutional amendment to permit such a tax system that allow higher income tax rates on wealthier citizens or barring that creates a system with somewhat higher rates but with larger exemptions and deductions for lower income individuals/families that could have something of the same effect without the need for a constitutional amendment.  

I favor a reduction in the corporation income tax offset by (1) higher personal income tax rates on wealthier households and (2) a sharp reduction in corporate tax loopholes, subsidies, and other regulations that have been created to lower the effective corporate tax rate.  This would be revenue neutral (or raise additional revenue) and at the same time reduce the wastefulness of corporations spending their time and resources to find tax loopholes for which they can take advantage.

We can now build a tax system that is both fairer and raises the revenue we need to take care of our state and local public needs.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Policies and Proposals

Tax Rates for Upper Incomes

[Question E3] Do you support increasing income taxes on the wealthiest residents of Massachusetts?

  • SUPPORT: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Lake
  • ARENA-DEROSA: in general I support the concept that those more able to pay should contribute more to  society
  • KERRIGAN: I first would need a full analysis of what effect raising rates will have on our ability to attract new businesses, keep Massachusetts businesses from relocating elsewhere and promoting job creation and economic growth.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Automatic Tax Decrease Triggers

[Question E4] Do you support halting the automatic decrease in state tax when Massachusetts state revenues grow four quarters in a row?

  • SUPPORT: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Lake
  • OPPOSE: Kerrigan
  • ARENA-DEROSA: I think the context is critical - what are the current needs of the state - maybe some years we could - it depends - I'd rather have the conversation than make it automatic
  • KERRIGAN: Those in government must address and seek to repair the trust gap that exists between elected leaders and the people they serve.  As part of that, government should keep its promises and not change course on fiscal policies without making a convincing case to the public that such a move is fiscally and economically necessary.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Capital Gains

[Question E5] Do you support increasing the capital gains tax (with safeguards to protect seniors)?

  • SUPPORT: Cheung, Lake
  • OPPOSE: Arena-DeRosa
  • ARENA-DEROSA: No  but I don't to [sic] drop them either (revenues seem to be on a good track - let's talk first about how we invest those available resources)
  • EDWARDS: I don’t support or not support this legislation.  Safeguards should exist at certain means thresholds, rather than for a general population.  We need to look at the best way to implement a capital gains tax increase, without broad definitions of who should be exempt and who should pay.
  • KERRIGAN: I would not support isolated changes to our tax structure at this time without a comprehensive study of the state’s tax system as a whole.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Progressive Taxation

[Question E6] “An Act to Invest in Our Communities” was designed to raise significant revenue while making our tax code more progressive, but it has not passed the legislature. Would you support a renewed effort to pass this or similar legislation?

  • SUPPORT: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Lake
  • KERRIGAN: I would not support major changes to our tax structure at this time without a comprehensive study of the state’s tax system as a whole.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Corporate Tax Breaks

[Question E7] Do you support eliminating or substantially reducing corporate tax breaks?        

  • SUPPORT: Cheung, Edwards, Kerrigan, Lake

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Further comments:

ARENA-DEROSA/corporate tax breaks:

This is case by case - I am tired of tax breaks just running up huge profits. I always thought we should approach this the other way. The right argues that corporations through their munificence will take a tax break and invest it in jobs  - the left says they just line their pockets. I would do an after the fact tax break in some targeted instances (i.e. you make the hires/you invest in green technology/ you work toward a living wage etc. you get the break - and then we'll look back downstream

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

EDWARDS/corporate tax breaks:

I support looking at corporate tax breaks and amplifying what they accomplish or don’t accomplish.  We need to have dialogue that explains the original intent of the tax break and if it is succeeding in its goal.  So, yes I support this but with careful assessment and implementation.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

KERRIGAN/corporate tax breaks:

As stated above, since the start of my campaign, I have been talking about our need to conduct a comprehensive review of all the Commonwealth’s tax incentive programs to determine which are working as intended and which are not.  Those that are not need to be either reworked or revoked so that the funds can be reallocated in a more productive and efficient way – either toward new, more effective tax incentive programs or redirected to other necessary spending.  This effort will require the cooperation of businesses and industry sectors to open their books and show us how this public money is being used to meet the goals and standards set out when these tax breaks were first granted.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Do you support repealing or significantly reducing the Film Production Tax Credit?

  • SUPPORT: Cheung, Edwards, Lake
  • ARENA-DEROSA: I want to see the numbers.
  • KERRIGAN: The Film Production Tax Credit program should undergo the same review and inspection as described above.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Clawbacks and Transparency in Corporate Tax Breaks

[Question E8] Do you support increasing corporate tax break transparency and clawback provisions?

  • SUPPORT: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Kerrigan, Lake
  • EDWARDS: See above
  • KERRIGAN: As described above, those tax incentives not working as intended should be discontinued and the state should pursue clawback efforts.  We should pursue whatever legislative changes are necessary to ensure the Commonwealth receives the information it needs to make a solid determination on the efficacy of these tax incentives programs and has the authority and ability to recoup funds when necessary.
  • LAKE: This has worked quite well in the biosciences based on the efforts of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.  Those firms that took advantage of tax breaks, but then failed to meet employment goals, have returned their tax benefit revenues to the state.

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

Graduated Income Tax

[Question E9] Would you support a state constitutional amendment creating a Massachusetts progressive income tax?

  • SUPPORT: Arena-DeRosa, Cheung, Edwards, Lake
  • KERRIGAN: I am open to the concept. However, I would not support any major isolated changes to our tax structure at this time without a comprehensive study of the Commonwealth’s tax system as a whole.  

[ TOP ] [ PART E ]

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Use this space to add any other issues important to your vision for Massachusetts or any other matter you think progressive voters should know about your candidacy.

[ TOP ] [ Section Start ]

James Arena-DeRosa

Use this space to add any other issues important to your vision for Massachusetts, or any other matter you think progressive voters should know about your candidacy.

We are just launching so I hope you will keep an eye eye on our campaign. At every stop on the campaign when I speak to crowds we have been able to recruit volunteers for the campaign - so I really believe these issues are resonating.

I have had a few preliminary press chats and one meeting went well but at the end the reporter asked :  "But James - doesn't every politician say they want to feed poor kids and take care of the elderly".  I said "I suppose they do - but ask them if they've been in public service all these time - have they done it?  I am running to further some critical work that needs greater attention."

Last - with the federal shutdown there was a time when I  was the only one in the region keeping our programs running - I wanted to leave my job sooner to run but felt an obligation to stay. Plus as a non-profit guy for most of my life there are life's realities.

Like many people - my wife and I are in the middle of our life time  horizon. We worry about our parent's health care, we worry about our kids not being saddled with huge college debts - we worry about the cost of living. Some friends asked why give up a secure job - what will happen to you? But the question I ask is what will happen to all the people I have met along the way if I don't run.  I am running for Lt. Governor because I believe we live in extraordinary times that requires our sacrifice and the very best of what we have to offer the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and I believe it is time.

[ TOP ] [ Section Start ]

Leland Cheung

Use this space to add any other issues important to your vision for Massachusetts, or any other matter you think progressive voters should know about your candidacy.

No response

[ TOP ] [ Section Start ]

Jonathan Edwards

Use this space to add any other issues important to your vision for Massachusetts, or any other matter you think progressive voters should know about your candidacy.

As a consensus builder and a Lieutenant Governor who brings 10+ years of elective experience and 25+ years of professional experience to the office, I believe that the progressive agenda is best served by constantly building collaborative stakeholder processes to find a common solution.  I also believe, as stated earlier in this document, that the progressive agenda can best be achieved when we have the strongest possible economy and by achieving early successes with parts of the agenda that are more easily attained.
Simply, momentum is a key to furthering our common goals.

Just like I have done in the past, I will sit down and work with people from all perspectives to understand why someone supports a particular policy and why someone does not support that same policy.  Understanding the unique positions of all involved will better allow us to achieve success.

I am a progressive candidate who believes that we achieve our agenda when we have a practical implementation plan.  Great strides and achievements sometimes take time and we must be patient to move beyond the “do you support” and on to “how can we best implement.”  It isn’t a difference in policy objectives, but rather how we attain the policy goals.

[ TOP ] [ Section Start ]

Steve Kerrigan

Use this space to add any other issues important to your vision for Massachusetts, or any other matter you think progressive voters should know about your candidacy.

As CEO of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in 2012, I was proud to oversee what was widely hailed as the most inclusive and welcoming national political convention ever.  If elected, I would be the first openly gay Lieutenant Governor in the Commonwealth and the nation.  I fully plan to use the unique platform I will have as a result of my election to be a fierce advocate for equality and fairness for all.

[ TOP ] [ Section Start ]

Mike Lake

Use this space to add any other issues important to your vision for Massachusetts, or any other matter you think progressive voters should know about your candidacy.

Though much of this has been covered in the above, I think it is important to summarize my focus and passion as a public servant. I will not highlight the progressive leaders I have worked for or supported in the past or the work I did not do myself. Above, I share with you the work I have done and that still needs to be done. This is the work that fuels my commitment to public service—standing up for those who need a voice, a champion for causes like ending family homelessness and making livable wages a reality for all workers.

As has been said many times before, Massachusetts is a state of leadership—from providing healthcare as a right rather than a privilege to being the first state to allow gay marriage (a cause that I am most proud of having been a part of 10 years ago). I have made issues affecting some of the most vulnerable in our Commonwealth a personal and professional passion. Though many battles have been won, the war against inequality continues. Today we have an opportunity to address the income and education gaps that plague our families and Massachusetts as a whole. We will be judged by what we do or don’t do for those who need support. I will dedicate my tenure as our next Lt. Governor to, above all else, ensure that we close these gaps and create a more perfect, more inclusive and more equitable Commonwealth for all our residents.

When this endorsement process for Progressive Massachusetts was being developed, I happily provided the input that was sought so that this organization would stand with candidates who were willing to give voice and action to issues that need to be addressed. I know being called the most progressive candidate in this race and my positions on the issues above lose votes and supporters, but these are the issues that need a leader most. These are the issues that matter the most. These are the issues that progressives must stand up, stand strong and stand together for if we are going to continue to lead our Commonwealth and our nation forward. I would be honored and grateful to stand with you and I sincerely hope you will stand with me.

[ TOP ] [ Section Start ]


For candidates' original, stand-alone responses,
return to main 2014 endorsements page

Is this work valuable to you? Please support these efforts and become part of the Progressive Mass family -- become a member, and help us continue our work building a vibrant, strong progressive grassroots movement! progressivemass.com/membership


|[ TOP ]|

Do you like this page?

Be the first to comment


CONNECT
ISSUES AND ACTION
to access member exclusive material, login via facebook or via Twitter