FRAMINGHAM – On Tuesday, September 4, the day after Labor Day, Framingham voters will select one Republican, one Democrat, and possibly one Libertarian to appear on the November ballot.
Voters in Precincts (not City Districts) 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 15 will see no names on any of those three ballots however.
With the death of Rep. Walsh in May there was not time for any candidate to gather signatures and appear on the ballot.
Thus, every candidate that wants the 6th Middlesex state representative seat must run a write-in campaign.
There are five candidates who have announced write-in campaigns – four Democrats and one Republican.
The Democrats are Mary Kate Feeney, Mike Gatlin, Maria Robinson, and Mark Tilden. The Republican is Tom Blandford.
The individuals who receives the most votes in any party ballot (minimum of 150 votes) will appear on the November ballot.
In Framingham, as in the state, the majority of registered voters are unenrolled, which means they have no party affiliation. Unenrolled voters may choose a Democratic, Republican, or Libertarian ballot on Tuesday, Sept 4 and write in the candidate of their choice. The announced Democratic candidates are encouraging voters to pull a Democratic ballot and write their name, and the Republican candidate is encouraging unenrolled voters to pull a Republican ballot and write his name.
Source asked the write-in state representative candidates a series of questions, earlier this month. Each day this week and last week, the answers to the questions are being published to help voters make a choice.
Today’s question — The biggest problem facing the 6th district is ___________________________.
I would help to address it as a state representative by __________________________________.
BLANDFORD: The biggest problem facing the 6th district is property taxes.
I would help to address it as a state representative by working with the auditor and finding waste and allocating that money back home to Framingham where the local government will have more say in how this money is spent.
This will also be able to help fund our local schools as well.
ROBINSON: The biggest problem facing the 6th district is economic inequality.
I would help to address it as a state representative by advocating for our economically disadvantaged communities to ensure that staples like food, shelter, education, and medical care are easily available and not outside of the range of affordability.
GATLIN: The biggest problem facing the 6th district is education reimbursement by the Foundation budget.
I would help to address it as a state representative by working to update the Chapter 70 Foundation budget, particularly with respect to English language learning
and healthcare costs.
TILDEN: – The biggest problem facing the 6th district is traffic choking our roadways.
I would help to address it as a state representative by getting money to our district for road and other infrastructure improvements.
FEENEY: The biggest problem facing the 6th district is traffic and transportation. In my conversations with residents since June, this is the number one issue people express to me. Our quality of life will deteriorate, and our economy will stagnate if we do not make it possible to for people to commute to work, shop and enjoy an evening out. In Framingham, we have our issues with traffic congestion, dangerous intersections and streets, flooding and noise.
As our full-time state representative, I will work to address challenges that face Framingham regarding transportation:
• Support the growth of regional transportation authorities, especially our MetroWest Regional Transportation Authority, and address demands for increased service, including weekends and weeknights;
• Work with MassDOT address safety concerns and problems with state roads, such as flooding at Routes 9 & 126, pedestrian walk ways or bridges over Route 9, especially at Framingham State College, Prospect Street & Route 9 and Shopper’s World. The Commonwealth needs to take better care of its crumbling infrastructure. The Mass Pike, driven on daily by Framingham residents, is a mess of potholes. We have the burden of
tolls and it is Massachusetts’ responsibility to maintain that road;
• Expand rail trails, walking and bike trails, such as continuing the work on connecting the Bruce Freeman Trail to Framingham, to provide more transportation options.
It is time we got serious about our transportation system and how it affects our daily lives. We deserve a system that strengthens our economy and communities, while also being modern, safer, affordable and reliable.
Editor’s Note: The candidates were given 500 words or less for a response. The responses are published below, as received, unless they went over 500 words, and then the news site cut the answer at the sentence closest to 500 words.