STATE REP RACE Q&A: Erin Buckley 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 her own words, are the responses to this week’s questions from candidate Erin Buckley (R-Tewksbury).

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

One cannot draw a line of similarity between the New Hampshire House of Representatives and the Massachusetts House, it is a facile analogy. A N.H. State Rep only has 3000 constituents, this is half of what a Tewksbury Selectman would have if that office was not entirely at-large. New Hampshire’s small population allows its General Court to be run mainly as a part-time, essentially volunteer, endeavor. By comparison a Massachusetts State Representative has a constituency of approx. 47,000. I feel, if focused on as strongly as the position deserves, being a Massachusetts State Rep. is a full-time job. If approached with the determination and caring that your constituents deserve, you should never be without an issue to be addressing or a concern to be answering. Finally, as far as the pay raise goes, I would have voted against it and I would vote against another one while in office. The last pay raise was a way for leadership to massively expand their pay, regular legislators were an afterthought. Even still, when I was a Legislative Aide, my boss, Rep. Will Crocker (R – 2nd Barnstable) used his extra pay, which he received as an incoming freshman Representative, to not only help underwrite my travel to and from our office but also used the increased salary to fund charitable donations. Responsible Representatives and Senators still found ways to use leadership’s greed to benefit those working hard for their constituents as well as helping those most in need.

#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 am aware of all three issues. Being a Representative is not just about your district, in fact you are called to oversee the Commonwealth as a whole. You are in the State House to protect your district from environmental threats. You are on Beacon Hill to be a steward of a small plot of our shared land. Tewksbury’s open space and Wilmington’s wonderful conservation land are both gems for this greater area, something for the 19th Middlesex to truly be proud of. I will always work to keep our district safe and healthy. Whether it be the cleaning and capping of an old landfill (not unlike Rocco’s in Tewksbury) or demanding that there are no cut-corner exceptions being given for a business or industry that will offer no plan to avoid contamination. It is an arcane bifurcated mindset that business and environment must be at odds. Under my Representation, the district, and the entirely of both towns within, will be maintained and grown so that we all leave the proper legacy to our children and grandchildren.

(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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