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 Mark Kratman (D-Tewksbury).
#11) Do you feel Massachusetts residents are over-taxed? How will you balance the need to provide government services to the taxpayers & fund the government with most taxpayers’ desire for no tax increases? Can you point to anywhere in the state budget where you believe there is waste, fraud or abuse? What will you do about it?
Yes. There has to be a balance of taxes and spending. Massachusetts unemployment rate is at 3.5% lower than the National rate of 4.1%. The building across Massachusetts continues to grow but yet we hear that the tax revenues did not come in as high as expected? If most people are working and construction continues to grow than we need someone at the State House to do a better job with tax projections. We all want services in our communities but there is a lot of waste that needs to be addressed. Welfare and Snap benefits were put in place to help people during difficult times but was not intended to be a lifetime benefit. I am all in favor of helping people in their time of need but there has to be a cutoff point. With unemployment at an all-time low there are plenty of jobs that are available but we hear of abuse and even statements of some abusers stating why should I work when I get things for free. There have even been times when someone has been arrested only to find that the person has numerous snap cards under different names. For the seventh year in a row, the State Auditor’s office uncovered a record amount of public assistance benefit fraud, identifying nearly $ 17 million that was improperly spent in the fiscal year 2017. You would think that after 7 years in a row that changes would be made or a change in the Administration who is overseeing the program. You cannot open a paper or watch the news without hearing of waste, fraud or abuse but I believe that most people are take pride in their work and are hardworking people trying to support their families. If I was lucky enough to receive your vote I would question and demand an explanation of why this type of abuse is allowed to continue.
#12) Former State Rep. Jim Miceli was known throughout the district for his extraordinary constituent services. Do you pledge to provide a similar level of constituent services if elected? How will you be responsive to requests for help from residents of Wilmington and Tewksbury?
Jim was the best. There is no one who is going to replace him. Most people that know me will tell you that I have the same commitment and dedication to help people when needed. I am out almost every night attending meetings, volunteering in the community, attending fundraisers for those in need and continue to make myself available to everyone at all time. My email MarkKratman@gmail.com or my phone (978) 726-2912 rings all the time. I receive a call or email almost every day and I will always respond and help in any way that I can. That is what the job is all about. To be a responsive Representative who listens and cares about our community.
(NOTE: Do you have a question for the candidates? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and it may be asked in a future Q&A or in a debate.)
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