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 Judy O’Connell (D-Wilmington).
#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?
I would have voted against the raises. It was wrong to treat legislative raises as “an emergency”, and the residents of Massachusetts deserve better than that. If elected, I will be a full time legislator. I have been fortunate to build a successful real estate agency with my sister Shelley, and as partners, we are proud of the team of agents that we have assembled to serve our present and future client base. We have a transition plan in place, so that my responsibilities as a manager and partner will be fulfilled, allowing me the privilege of serving as a full time representative for the district if elected.
#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?
First and foremost, I will fight to keep as much of the towns of Wilmington and Tewksbury as possible in the same district. I am a realist, and I understand that our system of government requires re-districting from time to time, but I will do everything in my power to beat back any gerrymandering that would further carve up the district. As for the three issues you mention, in my years as a resident and Selectman in Wilmington, I have consistently and steadfastly supported the town’s efforts not simply to have a “seat at the table”, but to have a meaningful voice in solving the myriad of challenges associated with these three issues. Of course, I would continue this work as a State Representative, without regard to district lines. As a candidate, I am uniquely well positioned to understand not only the detrimental impacts from these sites, but also what it takes to solve the problems. The Town of Wilmington has been unanimous in opposing the transrail operation that is proposed by NET, and we will continue to take all steps possible, both legal and political, to stop the project. As for Maple Meadow, we need to continue to be diligent, and insist that DEP continuously monitors any erosion of the grading and shaping materials that have been brought to the site, to ensure that there is no threat to the water supply going forward. Finally, with regard to the Olin Site, beyond stopping the pending NET proposal, the town needs to continue the work that is currently underway. Local, state and federal officials, along with Wilmington’s environmental consultant and community WERC group, need to continue to work together to ensure the site is remediated in a manner that is acceptable not only to EPA, but in a manner that is acceptable to Wilmington. Furthermore, as State Representative, I would work with local officials and residents to insist that any redevelopment on the Olin site would be undertaken in a manner that is environmentally responsible in the eyes of the town, and is in the best interests of the community. In short, the challenges of these issues are complex and significant, and I am well aware of the impacts to the community and the environment. If elected, I will use the weight of the office to the fullest, to go to bat for Tewksbury and Wilmington residents, without regard to the precincts in which they live.
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