STATE REP RACE Q&A: Judy O’Connell 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 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.

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

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12 thoughts

  1. Is this second answer serious? Did you even read the question? Why are you talking about redistricting? Did you actually just gloss it over and see the phrase” not in your district” and think that was a part of the question? Wow. This is embarrassing and telling.

    1. I agree Steven the question was do you have a clear knowledge of the threats and will you fight for us. That should have been the “first and foremost” not redistricting. The point of the question was no matter where that line is drawn it effects everyone and we need a strong forceful voice to fight for us. enough said.

  2. The only people that would believe that Judy would vote against legislative pay raises would be those who have had a frontal Lobotomy. Why would anyone believe that she would vote against pay raises? She was a selectman and I never recall her fighting against massive department head pay raises.
    Does anyone believe that she will give up her real estate business to only make $62,500 per year? I don’t think so. Some people will say anything to get elected?

    1. If you went to a town meeting you would know the massive pay raises that I am talking about. By the way, the raises are not tied to performance or saving the taxpayers of Wilmington money or having a degree in engineering or honesty in budgeting for a department.

  3. One of the best parts of being a real estate agent or Realtor, is the ability to partner with other office Realtors and work as a team. That allows every Realtor to work around other obligations – for example, a full time job outside real estate, and still provide excellent service to clients, IF Judy chooses to continue working in real estate during free time. Judy’s real estate business, in the hands or her very capable partner, will absolutely allow her to serve the needs of Wilmington and Tewksbury full time.

  4. You’re right Kim. I remembere Jim Miceli having a sucessful insurance company while he was in office and he did an outstanding job.

    1. Jim worked his business until he needed to spend more time on Beacon Hill. Jim worked 24/7 for Wilmington & Tewksbury.

  5. Judy, Is very Professional. On the issues the people will decide. My concern with this campaign is who are the big supporters and that is Newhouse, M Caira, lobbyists and some builders. People of the 19th District. Beware!

  6. As Judy’s business partner, and in full disclosure, her sister, I can provide the following stats. Since we opened our business on 2007, our focus has been mainly on representing buyers and sellers of EXISTING homes. We build relationships with these families and most of our business comes from “word of mouth” recommendations from their family and friends. Out of the 244 sales our office has completed, 88 of those homes were located in Wilmington or Tewksbury. Only 3 property listings in Wilmington were awarded to our company from local builders. Our office has sold a total of 7 new construction homes in Wilmington over the course of 11 YEARS. 4 buyers of homes listed by other agents and the 3 sellers mentioned above. Based on the amount of development taking place in both communities, this hardly qualifies our office as “builder connected”. We have also politely declined opportunities that don’t fit well with our mission as a company. I will also add that our office has represented 3 transactions in Wilmington for existing, distressed properties which have been renovated and revived rather than torn down. Not all sellers are moving for happy reasons and we go above and beyond to ensure they have a smooth transition in the midst of difficult situations. We are proud of the service we provide and won’t stand for our profession being vilified. Sale transfers are public record and I’m happy to provide a list of properties we have sold. As for her big supporters, they have seen her work ethic in how hard she works representing her buyer/seller clients, as well as 9 years in Town Government, and they expect that will transfer well to constituent services in the role of State Representative. To further digress, our business gives us key insight as to the type of housing stock needed in the 19th District. Judy supports responsible development and she’s not afraid to take a stand. She’s not as “connected” as one might think. In terms of her capability to serve in a full time capacity, it’s well known that I run the administration of the office and we work our personal book of business as a team. I have assumed most of the work associated with our transactions since she announced her candidacy and we have several loyal agents helping to service our team transactions. I am hopeful this provides some insight for those who may be concerned. Thanks for listening.

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