STATE REP RACE Q&A: Erin Buckley Discusses Education Issues, Negative Campaigning

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).

#13) The Massachusetts education funding formula hasn’t been updated in 25 years. This Chapter 70 formula fails to provide the funding needed for school districts to fund core expenses. The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center published a report last week (“Building An Education System That Works For Everyone: Funding Reforms To Help All Our Children Thrive“) detailing the problem. The Wilmington & Tewksbury School Committees have long advocated for the State House to update the Chapter 70 formula. Do you commit to fighting for an updated formula? What else will you do as State Representative to help our public schools?

Yes, I support the fight to re-evaluate the Education Funding Formula. This has not been done since the Education Reform Act of 1993, under Governor Celluci. I would also favor additional language that would make the formula automatically reviewed after a certain number of years. The economic conditions of our Commonwealth change, school systems change, and therefor the language to keep Chapter 70 an advanced and productive means to fund our educational system must change as well. I believe that the fiscal 2019 Budget does address some funding shortfalls with $100m more dollars to chapter 70, as well as regional school bussing, charter school reimbursement, and Special Education Circuit Breaker funding; however these changes are only for next year and we need to take a good look at how the formula should work for the long-term betterment of our schools’ futures.

#14) Define “negative campaigning.” Do you pledge not to engage in any negative campaigning during this election? Why or why not? When responding to an attack, will you follow the “when they go low, we go high” Michelle Obama mantra or the “when someone attacks me, I always attack back… except 100x more” Donald Trump mantra?

I take umbrage with this question — and beyond the not-so-subtle implication that Democrats engage in a superior form of politics than Republicans. Politics is the arena for a battle of ideas. Voters should take into account a variety of factors about a candidate: intelligence, experience, community involvement, history of accomplishment and service, etc. If a fellow candidate lacks these crucial characteristics, that is well within the arena and must be discussed. If a candidate holds beliefs that another candidate finds potentially damaging to the contested district or state or body, that must be shared and if it warrants strong speech, so be it. “Negative campaigning” is in the eye and ear of the beholder and it is too often defined along party lines. For me, truly negative campaigning is any action or speech that promotes no agenda and only works to reduce the process itself. And that is something I refuse to both engage in — nor suffer quietly. As the saying goes, let the best candidate win!

(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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