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 last in the Q&A series – If elected, what do you realistically think you can accomplish in your first year? Be specific.
ROBINSON: I look forward to joining a caucus of progressive legislators who are seeking to pass bills that did not make it in the previous session, including a ban on gay conversion therapy, passing the Safe Communities Act, passing education and health care reform, and lifting the cap on net metering. Although I am only a single vote, I would add another voice calling on the speaker to prioritize this legislation and focus on issues that impact every day people.
BLANDFORD: Getting a bill passed that would esponge criminal records in five years rather than ten so that anyone who has done a victimless crime has a second chance and we all need second chances.
GATLIN: The Massachusetts House is a seniority-based system whereby the newest members have the least impact.
Relationship building with other legislators can make a freshman representative more effective than the lack of seniority would suggest.
In addition, constituent services is a central part of the job and would not be affected by one’s status.
FEENEY: My first day as our full-time state representative begins the day after I am elected, November 7, 2018.
I will spend the months leading up to my swearing in in January 2019 meeting with the Mayor, Councilors, the School Committees, Superintendents and members of the MetroWest Delegation.
I have an ambitious agenda, but my goals for my first year in office:
• Establish regular meetings with Mayor Spicer, the chairs of the Council and School Committees and office hours with constituents;
• Meet with the House Speaker to outline my priorities for Framingham;
• Request the following committee assignments:
• Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery: The opioid epidemic has affected every community. Having several friends in recovery and family members who faced mental health challenges, I have seen first hand how critical services and supports are and the need for easily accessible treatment and recovery services across Massachusetts that actually meets the demand for those services.
• Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business: As a small business owner, I know how important they are to our community. As a member of this committee, I would seek ways to expand community development in Framingham and similar communities.
• Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture: I am concerned with all sectors of the environment: saving open space, preserving our working farms, expanding state parks, bike/rail trails, cleaning rivers and the ocean and clean energy.
• File the following bills:
• Automatic statute renewals of funding for the MetroWest Medical Center, Framingham Union Hospital
• Purchase of the acres of land on Eastleigh Farm to connect the north and south sections of Callahan State Park
• Dyslexia Screening Bill
• Continue the work Representative Chris Walsh began, and unfortunately did not get the chance to finish, on domestic violence, environment, special education issues;
• Work with MassDOT to begin addressing safety and traffic issues along state roads that go through Framingham, such as the flooding at Routes 9 & 126 and studying pedestrian bridges/walkways across Route 9, especially near Framingham State University;
• Work with Department of Conservation and Recreation on the cleaning of the water chestnut issue in the Stearns Reservoir and Sudbury River.
TILDEN: Obtain funding for a study to improve downtown traffic. Increased tax credits for child care.
Increase funding for transportation for seniors.
State funding to assist in reconstruction of Fuller middle school.
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.