STATE REP RACE Q&A: Mike McCoy Discusses State Rep Pay, Environmental Issues

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 his own words, are the responses to this week’s questions from candidate Mike McCoy (D-Wilmington).

#9a) Last year, there was a controversial bill in which members of the state legislature voted to give themselves large raises (up to to 45% in some cases), and included judicial raises in the bill so that the voters couldn’t potentially override the bill in a ballot question. The salary increases for elected officials came at a time where taxes were increasing and certain services were being cut. As state representative, how would you vote on such a matter? (Mind you, members of the New Hampshire state legislature earn only $200 per year.) 

Last year, there was a controversial bill in which members of the state legislature voted to give themselves large raises (up to 45% in some cases), and included judicial raises in the bill so that the voters couldn’t potentially override the bill in a ballot question. The salary increases for elected officials came at a time where taxes were increasing and certain services were bring cut. As state representative, how would you vote on such a matter? (Mind you, members of the New Hampshire state legislature earn only $200 per year.) Additionally, if elected, do you intend on working a second job or will you focus fully on your legislator position?

Had I been elected state representative, I would have voted against the pay raise. All the state representatives that voted themselves a pay raise should be ashamed of themselves. How can you control checks and balances if you have that kind of power? Interestingly, this vote was taken when the New England Patriots were on their way to hopefully another Super Bowl victory (sadly, that victory didn’t happen). At that time, all the media and Pats fans (all of us, right?) were focused on the Pats.

What motivates me as a selectman is simply the need to perform public service. This is the thought that I wake up to every morning and energizes me well into the late evening hours. It’s a pity that the smart engineers at M.I.T. haven’t yet invented a “political motivation meter”. A candidate would insert his or her finger into the meter and a needle would point to: Financial security, power/influence or public service. It would make the selection process much easier and more reliable for the voting public. Until such an invention exists, the next best thing would be examining each candidate’s track record. Here is mine:

  • For the past 30 years, I have funded my own campaigns. The only people to whom I am accountable is the guy I see every morning in the mirror and the voters who put me in office, and I am also self-funding this state representative campaign.
  • As a Wilmington selectman for 28 years, my annual salary has been $250/year. Considering my actual expenses and self-financing of all my campaigns, this is considerable net loss every year. I am definitely not in this for financial gain.
  • As a selectman, I have worked day and night championing causes for individuals and groups of residents.
  • I have been approached by several special interest groups pledging the support of their constituency group on the condition that I support their agendas. I did not take the bait. My allegiance is to you, the citizens of the 19th district of Tewksbury and Wilmington.
  • The “Wilmington Town Machine” is not likely to give me “Selectman of the year” award because I call them out when I see something that shouldn’t be happening. As a selectman, I do not believe in going along to get along. I have and will continue to take on developers as well as elected and appointed town officials all alone when I believe a cause is just.

If I am fortunate enough to get your vote, I will:

  • Not treat the State Representative position as a part time job. I am a retired successful business owner. My constituents deserve and will have a full-time State Representative looking out for your best interests 24/7.
  • Refuse to support any additional pay raises for State Representative.
  • Donate the last pay increase and divide it equally between the towns of Wilmington and Tewksbury to help fund their respective food pantries.

I do not need that “political motivation meter”. If you know me, you know why. If you don’t know me, ask one of the thousands of residents that I have helped over the years.

#9b) Additionally, if elected, do you intend on working a second job or will you focus fully on your legislator position?

My sole job and ONLY job will be representing the good folks of Tewksbury and Wilmington as your State Representative FULL-TIME. Is it no secret that I am Jim Miceli’s nephew. I worked tirelessly with my Uncle to help him get elected as State Representative when Tewksbury first became part of the district. During the 1980’s, I visited the State House with him many times. I met the then Speaker of the House George Kevarian. As my Uncle took me on tours through the State House, he said “See those offices that those state reps are working in? Several of them are lawyers, financial brokers, and realtors. They double dip. They run their private businesses out of their State House offices. What a nice little gig they have.” If you elect me as your State Representative, that will NEVER happen. The only business that would be taking place in my State House office will be for STATE BUSINESS ONLY. PERIOD.

#10) The late Representative Miceli fought hard on environmental issues. Even though the Olin Superfund site, the Maple Meadow Landfill, and the New England Transrail project were not in his district, he went to bat for the Wilmington residents to help in the detrimental impacts from these sites. Do you have a clear knowledge of the threats from these sites and even though not in your district, will you fight for the residents of Wilmington like Jim Miceli did?

I absolutely will. The most important meeting ever in the history of the Town of Wilmington relative to the polluted Olin Superfund site, and the New England Transrail Project, was on October 25, 2016 at the Wilmington Middle School before the Federal Agency known as the Surface Transportation Board. Their function oversees transrail in this country. As far as elected officials speaking and giving testimony opposed to allowing New England Transrail to be brought onto the site, was my uncle, State Representative Jim Miceli, Representative Ken Gordon, and myself. I was the ONLY selectman in the Town of Wilmington to testify in opposition. The federal government couldn’t have made it any easier for someone to testify; this meeting was advertised for months, and it was right here in Wilmington. We then took that information from that testimony, along with information from Geo-Insight which was hired by the town as consultants back in 2003, and gave it to our federal delegation to see if they could help.

My quick answer: Even though Precinct 3 in Wilmington was not part of my Uncle’s District, like him, I will most certainly continue to fight against Olin and New England Transrail. I have already met with the residents living in Precinct 3 and reassured them that even though they can’t vote for me, they can count on my support. Just take a ride through that part of town where Olin is located and you’ll see my signs for State Rep all over the place. Precinct 3 residents know I’ve always had their backs and always will. As I have been campaigning in front of Market Basket in Tewksbury, several residents told me in discussion that Precinct 3 and Precinct 3A of Tewksbury is not part of my Uncle’s district. I reassured those residents, as I tell you now, I will continue to fight for and represent Precincts 3 and 3A at the State House.

Do I have a clear knowledge of the threats from these sites?

Olin Chemical, a 53 acre facility at 51 Eames Street in Wilmington, MA, made specialty chemicals for the rubber and plastics industry until it closed down in 1986. On-site waste disposal practices have resulted in groundwater contamination both on and off site and in late 2002, led to the closure of town drinking water supply wells. The Olin Chemical Superfund Site includes areas that have been impacted as the result of former manufacturing activities. In 2003, the Town of Wilmington closed their municipal supply wells in the Maple Meadow Brook Aquifer due to chemicals released from the Olin Site. The site was finalized on the national Priorities List in April 2006. This information is from the EPA website.

Wilmington closed five of the nine wells in the Maple Meadow Brook Aquifer 2003 because NDMA was tested for. At that time, the water supply was already shut down to limit the amount of contamination which was being inducted from the Olin Plume.

There is far too much to say here, and sadly I could go on for another ten pages. Let me just say that the fight against Olin is far from over and if elected as your State Representative, I’ll be there for every step along the way. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Wilmington Environmental Restoration Committee; Martha Stevenson and Suzanne Sullivan, just to name a few of the members, for their tireless work to spotlight so many of the ongoing environmental issues and the EPA has even acknowledged them for their hard work.

(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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