STATE REP RACE Q&A: Erin Buckley Discusses Economic Development, Opioid Epidemic

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Apple is asking weekly questions to the seven candidates running in contested primaries for the Wilmington/Tewksbury State Representative seat (19th Middlesex).

Below, in her own words, are the responses to this week’s questions from candidate Erin Buckley (R-Tewksbury).

#7) What will you do as State Representative to help individuals and families in Tewksbury, Wilmington and beyond who are struggling as a result of the opioid epidemic? 

I feel that the best way to aid in recovery from opioid addiction is what is now being referred to as “soup to nuts” or “one stop shop” recovery centers. While I was Legislative Aide to Representative Will Crocker (R, 2nd Barnstable) this was often something we discussed when he worked on addressing the massive opioid problem on Cape Cod, a problem similar in its scope and scale to our own here in the Merrimack Valley. This style of addiction recovery campus has been shown to lessen the chance of a patient returning to active addiction; 28 days and back on the street is a vicious cycle to break. Within one building, or complex, someone seeking recovery can find a detox facility, a prolonged rehab center, inpatient medical treatment, access to NA or other 12-step programs, mental health, jobs programs, etc. This is a powerful and pragmatic approach that mirrors the common sense layout of both hospitals and academic campuses, which only makes sense since as a community we must do everything we can to both heal and educate those who find themselves suffering.

#8) What will you do as State Representative to help attract and maintain small and large businesses in Wilmington and Tewksbury? Do you consider yourself a business-friendly candidate? Why?

Yes, I am a business-friendly candidate. As a State Representative, one can — and must — work closely with the municipalities in their districts to attract outside businesses and grow your local ones. There has never been a time where it has been harder for many types of brick-and-mortar businesses to make it. Even with this currently booming economy, small businesses, in particular, find themselves in a marketplace shifted towards big box or online stores — or both. We must do all we can to make it easier for businesses to open — and stay open! The 19th Middlesex has an amazing asset in our shared Main Street, Rte. 38. Sadly, I see so many empty lots and empty buildings along our central artery, especially as one enters South Tewksbury. I must stress the importance of both removing burdensome regulations (state and local) and offering tax breaks and incentives for larger businesses looking to move to the 19th Middlesex. One needn’t look any further than the tax-increment financing deal that Wilmington recently reached with Analog to allow their expansion and further commitment to the community. The process of attracting and maintaining businesses is a multi-front issue with a multi-tier solution, both big and small pictures require a shared desire for growth and a shared commitment to commercial development by town and Commonwealth officials.

BONUS FUN QUESTION: Wilmington Town Meeting voters recently banned plastic bags at grocery and retail stores, due – in large part – to their negative effects to the environment. The ban goes into effect in May 2019.  Do you agree with Wilmington voters and would you like Tewksbury voters to do the same this fall at their Special Town Meeting?

No, I do not support the plastic bag ban. I use recyclable bags as often as I can but plastic bags are essential to shopping. We in Tewksbury are currently dealing with the issue of substantial fines being paid by the town due to people continuously placing their plastic bags into their recycling bins. Residents should be told that Market Basket offers free plastic bag recycling in their bottle/can recycling rooms. And don’t be worried about the amount! My husband and I are very often the ones who bring all of the bags from the donations to the Tewksbury Community Food Pantry down to recycle! If the barrel is full, just place them off to the side! It could not be easier. This is yet another issue that could be dealt with by some basic information and education instead of the hyperbolic banning.

(NOTE: Do you have a question for the candidates? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com and it may be asked in a future Q&A or in a debate.)

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