Issues

“If decent, honest and hard-working people don’t get involved in government, then government won’t be decent, honest and hard-working.”

- Dan Winslow, Massachusetts Lawyers Journal, March 2010

Taxes and Spending

State spending is out of control. Instead of tightening its fiscal belt like all families have done, our state government has hiked taxes, depleted the stabilization fund, and shifted hardships to towns by cutting local aid. I will propose to cut taxes by cutting state spending. We can stop waste and fraud, create cost-effective reforms, and encourage entrepreneurial government. The worst thing to do in a recession is to increase tax burdens. Read more.

Jobs

As of December, unemployment in our towns ranged from 6.6% in Medfield to 11.3% in Plainville. Experts are predicting a “jobless recovery” even when this recession ends. There is no such thing as a jobless recovery to a person who doesn’t have a job. I have pledged not to accept any increase in legislative salary (legislative pay is adjusted every two years, but legislators are not required to accept raises) until unemployment in ALL of our towns is less than 5%. Read more.

Local Services

I believe that the best government is that government which is closest to the people and most directly accountable to them: town government. I will work to enhance local cores services, such as education, police/fire/public safety, and infrastructure. These services directly affect the quality of life of most Massachusetts residents and provide the best value for our tax dollars. Read more.

Government Integrity and Transparency

Three House Speakers in a row have been indicted for criminal conduct. Public jobs are awarded or kept on the basis of political connections and cronyism rather than merit. A culture of corruption and entitlement on Beacon Hill is bad for Massachusetts and undermines public trust and confidence in government. We need to break the political monopoly in Massachusetts and sweep the House clean. Read more.

Constituent Services

As the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel, every state agency lawyer directly or indirectly reported to my office. I understand how to get things done in state government and how to solve problems. Read more.

Position Papers:

Entitlement Reform in Massachusetts

In “Point of Reckoning: Two Decades of State Budget Trends,” MassINC highlighted the structural imbalance of the Massachusetts state budget, made suggestions ranging from tax increases to service cuts to jump start a statewide discussion on budget solutions, and invited others to join the debate. It is possible in Massachusetts to extend a hand to the genuinely needy without reaching deeper into the pockets of hard-working taxpayers. It is possible to solve the state budget imbalance now, if the governor or Legislature resolve to embrace innovation and leadership. Read More

Stimulus for the Rest of Us

People cannot refinance their homes in Massachusetts. While there are several government programs for people who have gotten behind on their mortgages or could not afford their mortgages in the first place, there are few options for hard-working, bill-paying people to take advantage of low interest rates. If elected, I will propose a new idea to encourage refinancing by homeowners with good credit to help our economy. Refinancing a $300,000 mortgage from 7% to 5%, for example, would put about $4,600 in a homeowner’s pocket in new disposible income PER YEAR for 30 years. That kind of money would have an immediate and positive effect on stimulating our state economy. Read More

Probation Reform as an Example of Wasteful State Spending

The Boston Globe’s story regarding waste, lack of accountability and patronage is not unique to the Probation Department. Sadly, the politics of patronage pervade much of state government and interfere with the important mission that many hard-working state employees perform with little fanfare and even less thanks. Voters need to recognize that they have the power to end the corrosive effect of one-party political monopoly on Beacon Hill and restore competition and new ideas to state government. The cost of patronage and the resulting wasteful spending is a hidden tax that yields no benefit to the Commonwealth. In addition to encouraging voters to elect new people to the Legislature, I offer this seven point proposal to reduce waste and fraud in the Probation Department. Read More

Management Rights Statue for State and Municipal Government

The recent arbitration ruling in the city of Boston, awarding firefighters a pay raise based on the need to submit to random drug testing on the job, is just the latest example of our broken public sector labor management. What’s next? Bonus pay if public employees are not corrupt? Read More

Putting the People First: Open Primaries and Political Competition

I propose that Massachusetts follow the example set by the states of Washington, California, and other jurisdictions and abolish state-funded Party primaries in favor of Open Primaries in Massachusetts. Under this proposal, Massachusetts state officials would be elected in an Open Primary election, where anyone could run regardless of their political affiliation, and then the top two vote-getters would square off in the General Election. Read More

MOJO: Creating Jobs by Encouraging Entrepeneurship and Home-based Businesses

If elected, I will propose legislation that calls for MOJO: “Massachusetts is Open for Job Opportunities,” to create private sector jobs and get people to work. The current recession has resulted in more and longer job loss than any other economic downturn since the Great Depression. This situation is an economic emergency, and a crisis for working men and women and families where one or both parents have been out of work for an extended time, and we must treat it like the emergency that it is. Business as usual is simply not an option. Read More

Reforming the Criminal Justice System Can Save Money and Lives: Public Safety Improvements to Protect Cops and Cut Crime

Massachusetts has a population of 6.4 million people, according to the 2006 census estimate. There are about 380,000 outstanding warrants in the state Warrant Management System, including more than 200,000 default warrants for defendants who failed to return to court after arrest or arraignment.

If that fact meant one defendant for each warrant, the number of defendants would equal the populations of the cities of Taunton, Worcester and Springfield combined. It is more likely that many defendants have multiple warrants and engage in serial criminal acts, so a smaller number of people are responsible for a large portion of crime in our state — and other states. Defaulting defendants posed a significant danger to police officer and public safety. By any measure, the system is broken and needs to be fixed. Read More

Mending Roads: Cutting Costs Wthout Cutting Corners

Massachusetts spends tens of millions of dollars each year on road paving and improvement projects. When towns receive state funding for road repairs, the state requires towns to comply with state-mandated specifications for roads. Too often, the state specifications require roadway design speeds that are faster than the posted speeds on the roads. (“Design speed” is the speed that vehicles tend to travel based on the layout, width and design of the road, regardless of the posted speed limit.) This results in vehicles speeding through residential neighborhoods. It also results in a huge waste of money since construction costs increase as design speeds increase. Read More

Real Public Pension and Benefit Reform

Massachusetts state, county, municipal and independent authorities’ pensions and benefit plans for public sector employees are unsustainable, as anyone who can do math understands. Under the current system, taxpayers are being asked to pay more and more to support public employees with compensation, pensions and benefits that are far more lucrative than anything a private sector employee can ever hope to receive. The fiscal imbalance is unsupportable. The divide between the public employees and the private taxpaying employees who are asked to support them is unacceptable. Read More