DEBATE HIGHLIGHT: Which Democratic State Rep Candidate Is Best Prepared To Serve At The State House?

WILMINGTON, MA — Which Democratic candidate in the 19th Middlesex State Representative race is best prepared to serve? Each made their case at last week’s primary debate hosted at WCTV studios and moderated by Katie Lannan of State House News.

Lannan asked the following question: “Lawmakers on Beacon Hill decide how the state spends its upwards of $40 billion each year, help vet complex legislation through the committee process, and help their constituents navigate state government. What experience do you have to prepare you for this job?”

“I’m gong on my 28th year as a member of the Wilmington Board of Selectmen. I’ve gone to many Town Meetings. I’ve overseen many town budgets. We try to work within our means,” responded Mike McCoy (D-Wilmington). “With 28 years of experience on the Board of Selectmen, I’ve overseen a lot and I’ve seen a lot… Everything comes down to funding… For the most part, we’re doing a pretty good job. We don’t have any Prop 2.5 overdrive or trash fees. We just try to do as much as we can for this community. The Town of Wilmington gets a great bang for the buck. I can take that from the local level to bring it to a state level.”

“Serving as a Selectman, I’ve worked through the budget process,” answered Tewksbury Selectman Mark Kratman (D-Tewksbury). “We’ve actually done pretty well in Tewksbury. Our bond rating has gone up. We’ve refinanced all our bonds and been able to offset some of the water and sewer bills in the community.”

“I work for MassDOT during the day time,” continued Kratman. “I serve as a legislative liasion where I oversee 62 cities and towns. I meet with legislators, reps, senators and mayors and talk about their budgets. I have to go out and talk to them when we have construction projects… When they’re looking for funding [for a MassDOT project], they often reach out to me and we talk at the State House. I’ve been having those meetings for years.”

“On the student government, when I was in college, I was on the finance committee. We had all sorts of people come through our committee asking for funding. I really worked to make sure we looked at the whole issue. We advocated where needed and worked with the school, as a whole, to get that funding situation,” said Wilmington Democratic Town Committee Chair Erika Johnson (D-Wilmington).

“My many years in my current job [has prepared me],” said former Miceli Chief of Staff Dave Robertson (D-Tewksbury). “I was the one who actually ensured that Rep. Miceli’s line items for Tewksbury and Wilmington were inserted into the budget, carried through the initial passing of the House, through when they combined it into the Senate, and then again on the floor in case the governor over-rided it. I’m also very familiar with what happens when the 9C cuts come down from the governor, in the case of a budget shortfall… The budget process is a consistently ongoing matter. There’s a budget season, sure. But, in addition, there’s supplemental budgets, bond issuances, and other financial vehicles which the next State Representative needs to know very intimately to accomplish anything, be it funding for Route 38 or helping towns accomplish senior housing. I have experience with that over many years.”

“I am uniquely qualified as I’m the only candidate in this race that has worked in both the private and public sectors — first in the insurance business, then in the field of education, then technology, now being a small business owner,” said Judy O’Connell (D-Wilmington). “I’m also the only candidate to have been elected to both a School Committee and a Board of Selectmen within one of the two communities within the district. I’ve been working on campaigns, budgets, community projects, and philanthropic endeavors for decades in addition to the civic duties I took on as a volunteer.”

“I’ve worked on a flagship project within this town – working a leadership of a collective group to develop a 20-acre parcel at a $4.8 million cost that came in a $4.4 million, approximately $400,000 under budget,” continued O’Connell. “I went through a bond issuance for the new high school. I’ve gone through a statement of interest for the new high school. I’ve helped work with the School Committee for the installation of full-day kindergarten and a myriad of other topics. I believe I can take the same demonstrated track record and success to Beacon Hill.”

Watch the debate, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television, below. Jump to the 42:30 mark to watch much of what was written above.

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