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State Representative - Twenty-Fourth Middlesex District

The House of Representatives, the lower house of the bicameral state Legislature, is composed of 160 members elected from 14 counties, each divided into single-member electoral districts. Each member represents about 40,000 residents; their districts are named for the counties they are in. Representatives serve two-year terms with no term limits. In the current session, there are 127 Democrats and 33 Republicans. The current Speaker of the House is Democrat Robert DeLeo of the 19th Suffolk District (Winthrop). The majority leader is Ronald Mariano of the 3rd Norfolk District (Quincy). The Republican minority leader is Bradley Jones Jr. of the 20th Middlesex District (North Reading).
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    David M. Rogers (Dem) General counsel for a Massachusetts-based international manufacturing company, AW Chesterton

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Biographical Information

The MBTA is in crisis. This year, we saw both a fare increase and a reduction in service as a result of the agency’s fiscal problems. By common agreement, either the T’s debt obligations will have to be reduced – perhaps by having the state or another agency assume some of them – or its funding will have to increase. Please describe your favored approach to putting this vital transportation agency back on stable footing. If you favor more funding, please specify where it would come from, and what taxes or fees you would support for that purpose.

Massachusetts’s new healthcare cost containment law limits the growth of healthcare spending to the growth in the state’s economy and shifts from fee-for-service care to global payment models. Do you believe these measures will protect healthcare choices while preventing rapid increases in costs?

Many parents are looking for educational options for their children. It’s very hard to get expanded day programs in districts like Boston because the teachers’ union believes its members should be paid for the extra time they work. Charter schools offer longer days and longer school years at the same per-pupil cost, and there are more than 35,000 children on waiting lists statewide. Do you support raising the cap on charter schools? If yes, under what conditions?

The Patrick administration has imposed so-called Project Labor Agreements on three large construction projects that require that anyone working on them must be members of a labor union and firms must abide by union work rules. Non-union shops say those requirements effectively exclude them from bidding. Several studies show that projects done under PLAs or with only a small number of bidders cost more than projects that have more bidders. Unions, however, say the PLAs insure higher-quality work and offer a guarantee against strikes or other labor strife. Do you favor or oppose PLAs? Why?

Do you think further changes to the state employee pension system are necessary?

Cite any votes (if an incumbent) or positions (if a challenger or newcomer) you have taken that disagree with the stance taken by your party’s legislative leadership.

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Incumbent No
Age 69
Family Husband John; sons J, Tedd, and Matt; daughter GiGi; dog Bailey, cat Kiki
City / Town Belmont
Education Master of business administration, Babson College
Master of science, Syracuse University
Bachelor of arts, University at Albany, State University of New York
Experience Registered investment advisor serving individuals for 20 years
Educator/administrator for 12 years
Why are you running for this office? As a continuation of my public service to the people of my community.
Campaign phone (617) 909-2268
Residents of Arlington, Belmont, and Cambridge need and deserve good public transportation.The closeness to Boston and the access to public transportation are two important reasons why many of us live in proximity to the T routes. Cutting service or holding ridership hostage are two political ploys.Before we assume that raising taxes, as MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis suggests, is the only way to keep the MBTA on track, it is necessary to take a more complete look at the problem.Mr. Davis has been interim GM for only a year and will soon be succeeded by Beverly Scott, presently of the Metropolitan Atlanta Transit Authority, who was very recently awarded a three-year contract with an annual salary of $220,000 plus benefits.This spring, the MBTA increased its fares by 23 percent. Despite that increase, the MBTA reported on Sept. 30 that its ridership has increased. In that report, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation indicated that for August 2012, weekdays averaged 1.256 million passenger trips.Additionally, as reported, Massachusetts auditors from Suzanne Bump's office "examined the T's books from July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2011. Auditors found that the T reported that $123.8 million in fare box cash receipts were deposited, yet the automated fare collection system recorded over $225.5 million in fare box cash receipts."While the interim GM, Mr. Davis, places his confidence in the current mechanized system, I would require the new GM, Ms. Scott, to conduct a comprehensive investigation. This inquiry should identify inefficiencies by examining management structure and costs prior to making any suggestions of tax increases or loss of routes.For now, the increased fares, coupled with increased ridership, should resolve the problem.
Massachusetts’ citizens are committed to making sure no one goes without health care. In that spirit, we adopted a health care reform package in the hopes that no one had to choose between putting food on the table and paying health insurance premiums.Although well-intentioned, the legislation has lead to a shortage of primary care physicians. Some are leaving the state, seeking to work in states that have adopted tort reform and more market-based solutions.Recently, the Legislature passed a reform package to contain costs. This legislation is lengthier and more complex than the original bill. It's top-heavy, it hires too many bureaucrats who will no doubt make six-figure incomes, and the end result will be more doctors leaving the state and some hospitals may have to close.We need to find a way to introduce market forces into the health care and health insurance systems to drive down costs through competition. Wise consumers and competition have driven down the cost of so many technological improvements in other sectors of our economy. The same principles will work to drive down the cost of health care and health insurance.
I support raising the cap on charter schools.I believe in quality education and a competitive option to failing schools.I believe parents know when their children are getting a good education.
I oppose PLAs because currently the federal government mandates union wages regardless of whether the contractor is a union or non-union contractor.PLAs restrict competition, raising the cost of construction projects for the citizens of Massachusetts.Responsibility for and concurrence with state specifications is the responsibility of the state engineer, an employee of the Commonwealth, and the construction company manager.
The pension issue is complicated. State Sen. Will Brownsberger’s research on this issue in 2011 resulted in an award from the non-partisan Pioneer Institute. But his recommendations were not included in the "cosmetic pension reforms passed during the most recent legislative session."The Pioneer Institute points out that pension reform should include three goals: "attracting and retaining a quality workforce, treating that workforce equitably, and ensuring that the system does not place an undue burden on taxpayers."Both Brownsberger and the Pioneer Institute have noted that the system “as it exists today creates tangible unfairness among public employees - special deals for special classes of employees" (Brownsberger).Abolishing this practice will take a tremendous bipartisan effort and much political persuasion. Brownsberger's analysis recommends a Social Security-like plan with 67 set as the retirement age, opportunity for matching contributions, and COLAs.Since the new 62 is now 72, it makes sense to advance the retirement age. Additionally, this small change will help municipalities as retirement benefits are tied to payment of retiree health costs.I would also give serious consideration to the following three recommendations from the Pioneer Institute: Enact pay-as-you-go language to require any change in benefits to be funded, in full, within three years, reducing the incentive to push costs onto future taxpayers. Tie benefits more closely to lifetime contributions. This change would stop a large salary increase late in one's career from inflating one's pension. Pro-rate pensions based on tenure in each group to eliminate large windfalls based on only a short service.These reforms would address many of the system's current inequities, according to the Pioneer Institute.As for new revenue, more jobs mean more payroll taxes and revenue for the Commonwealth.
As a town meeting member since 1991, a PTA co-president for two years, a member of several committees, including the Council on Aging, I have continually collaborated with Democrats.Most recently, we successfully advocated for retaining senior transportation within the Council on Aging budget.The Payson Park Music Festival is also a bipartisan endeavor.
Incumbent No
Age 51
Family I am extremely close with my family of six brothers and sisters, their many nieces and nephews, and my 91-year-old mother.
City / Town Cambridge
Education JD with honors, College of Law, American University, Washington DC; member of the Law Review.
Bachelor of arts degree, Ithaca College.
Experience 15 years' experience as a business lawyer negotiating sophisticated and high-stakes transactions, researching and ensuring compliance with Massachusetts law, and helping organizations solve complex operational challenges.
Company counsel for past 7 years to a Massachusetts-based manufacturing company with its primary operations in the Commonwealth providing hundreds of jobs.
General counsel for a clean-tech software company that developed and sold energy efficiency technology.
Counsel for a cutting-edge biotechnology company in the field of pharmacogenomics (commonly referred to as personalized medicine).
Private practice, business law, Boston, 1997-2001.
Active in Massachusetts Clean Elections movement.
Volunteer mediator in Middlesex District Court.
Active volunteer in numerous Massachusetts state and local elections.
Environmental Protection Agency, criminal division, prosecuting corporate polluters.
Worked for a federal judge.
White House, Task Force on National Health Care Reform.
Capitol Hill, staff of Congresswoman Eva Clayton.
Clinton/Gore transition headquarters, Washington DC.
Why are you running for this office? I am running for office because I deeply believe in public service and have been involved in public policy issues throughout my life.

I spent time in the public sector in Washington, DC, at the White House, and on Capitol Hill learning how to advance policy and get results. I also understand private sector concerns based on many years as a business lawyer.

Having both public and private experience well prepares me to address challenges facing our district and state.

In personally visiting over 2,200 homes over the past five months, I have learned about the salient issues like preserving the Silver Maple Forest or properly addressing flooding problems.

Despite strong public schools, I would still be an advocate for modifying the funding formula to secure greater educational resources.

With major transportation funding issues on the state level, the fiscal crisis in turn impacts us on a local level. We need a long-term solution that improves Red Line service and protects the bus lines so many of us depend on.

I have reached out to every part of the district throughout this campaign, and I will work just as hard to represent you if I am elected.
Campaign phone (617) 945-7576
To improve traffic, air quality, and our region's competitive advantage, the solution we find for the T must be a comprehensive fix rather than a temporary bandage.Moreover, to get the necessary votes in the Legislature for such a broad solution, the transportation needs of other parts of the state must be addressed.With this in mind, my approach to the T begins with greater communication and cooperation between Regional Transit Authorities and perhaps allowing the RTAs to levy local taxes to fund their systems. If the RTAs become more self-sufficient, that will free up resources to invest in the MBTA.I would also consider a public-private partnership like the one in Chicago that has raised $7 billion. A carefully designed plan for private investment could rescue the T and ensure the Massachusetts economy will continue to grow.Having become familiar with the importance of the T through the perspective of the residents in the 24th Middlesex, I know the one thing we cannot do is cut service. Too many rely on the subways and buses to get to work.Further, I am deeply concerned by the raise in The Ride fare. Disabled persons – especially those on a fixed income – have scarce room in their budget for increased fares. Whether this means fewer trips to get groceries or even just to enjoy a movie, this problem also might become a public health issue as a sedentary lifestyle can lead to depression and disease.
The global payment model shows promise in reducing rapidly rising health care costs. If implemented carefully, it also should not hinder the choice and quality that are hallmarks of healthcare in the state, particularly the greater Boston area.This is true because, unlike the capitation models originally advanced by HMOs, global payment systems contain incentives for quality care. Moreover, providers are not incentivized to prescribe unnecessary procedures or tests as they may have been under fee-for-service models. This saves us money upfront, but the best part of these changes is the focus on preventative care.Chronic health concerns like diabetes, asthma, and the rise of geriatrics are better attended to under the new methods of healthcare delivery included in this year’s reform. Preventative care now means cost savings later.My only concern is limiting spending by tying it to the rate of the state's economic growth, as price controls do not always work and recent health spending has been almost double the economy’s annual growth rate.Also, the final version of the bill lacks as robust a regulatory mechanism as I would have liked to see, so we cannot be sure costs will ultimately match state growth.
Charter schools seemed like a good solution when they were created in 1993, but they have not panned out to be the great idea we had hoped they would be.Rather than spread already thin resources even more, we should support our public schools. We know there are reforms necessary in the public school system, but the answer to the challenges we face is not to siphon resources away from traditional public education.We should support teachers, parents, and students in the existing system, ensuring that we make the necessary improvements in traditional public schools to allow each child to fully achieve his or her potential.
Across the nation and in our state, we have a desperate need to improve our transportation infrastructure. This is one of my priorities as a legislator. Our bridges are crumbling and the subway suffers frequent breakdowns.I recognize the concern that PLAs raise costs and, as a business lawyer, I understand the need to structure sophisticated transactions in such a way as to allow maximum achievable efficiency.But PLAs do not exclude non-union companies from bidding on projects; they simply mandate a living wage and fair work rules.I approach problem-solving with an open mind, so I would want to study this issue more carefully. If compelling evidence were produced that the current law needed modifications, I would at a minimum be willing to hear the data underlying a call for changes.
In general, I do not think we need any substantial changes to the state employee pension system, at least in the immediate future. We have already had two rounds of pension reform instituting significant reforms.The first round of reform made substantive changes to address the most glaring problems. The second went further to reduce the costs of public pensions to municipalities across the state.While there may still be opportunities to make the pension system more efficient, it is not a top priority of mine, considering that there have been two rounds of reform already.Whatever solution we come to, we must strike a careful balance that protects individuals and current retirees and at the same time helps municipalities dealing with significant budgetary constraints.
One piece of legislation I disagree with is the recent three-strikes law.It is telling that some of the most notable "law and order" jurisdictions, such as Mississippi and Texas, that have a longer history with three-strikes legislation are realizing its shortcomings and seeking changes to their law.Of course, public safety is paramount, but I do not find adequate data to support the idea that three-strikes laws broadly improve public safety.Also, while the law marks the beginning of a departure from mandatory minimums, they are not entirely eliminated. Our prisons are already vastly overcrowded and continuing to imprison non-violent drug offenders is a misallocation of money that should instead go to rehabilitation programs. We need to make sure addiction is treated as a public health issue and not simply a criminal law issue.Finally, the law does not provide for any judicial discretion at all – something I think is essential if we are to have a sensible justice system.This bill was passed overwhelmingly by the House (139-14), but I would have liked to see a better-crafted version before I could offer my support.

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Massachusetts official political parties
Dem: Democrat GOP: Republican Grn: Green-Rainbow
Political designations

NOTE: Parties such as the Libertarian Party did not receive the required 3% of the vote in the last election to attain official party status. Other affiliations below were listed by the candidates on their nomination forms.

Lib Libertarian IPP Independent People's Party
Ind Independent OIG Open Innovative Gov't
Cnl Constitutionalist Prog Progressive Independent
Unr Unenrolled