STATE REP RACE Q&A: Dave Robertson Shares His Opinion On The Three Ballot Questions

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Apple is asking weekly questions to the three candidates running for the Wilmington/Tewksbury State Representative seat (19th Middlesex).

Below, in his own words, is the response to one of this week’s questions from candidate Dave Robertson (D-Tewksbury).

#1) How do you plan on voting on each of the three ballot questions?  Can you explain your rationale behind each vote? (Background: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/ele18/ballot_questions_18/ballot_questions18.htm)

I am personally voting no, yes, and lastly no, but with a caveat.

Firstly, nurse-patient ratios. Initially on question one I was a yes. Safe patient limits have been proven to save lives, but after doorknocking awhile I was given a pamphlet on the no portion, which changed my mind.  Speaking to several nursing friends in private practice has only solidified that view over the past few weeks when I asked them what they though. What concerns me is a few lack of safeguards. One, this would raise the cost of healthcare, which is already spiking, and with the hospital corporations buying out the competition I worry about an even quicker rise in the cost of healthcare. For those who are low-income, fixed budget, or even middle class we are getting squeezed even more. Another great point that I had failed to reflect on before was the impact that regional hospitals would suffer, where they specialize in specific surgeries and procedures. They cannot compete with the Mass Generals or Brigham and Women’s, and these limits would cause a staffing issue. I know Lowell General/Saints would likely weather the storm, but towns such as Pittsfield or North Adams would have trouble finding nurses to meet the new standard. This would result in heavy fines or being bought out by larger health networks who can more easily handle the rise in cost. Instead, I would like to see such ratios based on county populations, patient populations, and more, and implemented over time. We would also have to find a way to train the amount of nurses required for such a ratio to be met, which will require working with local colleges and universities to meet demand.

The second would create a commission to examine the effects of the Citizens United ruling on the Commonwealth, and the role of corporate money. I do not believe that corporate money should be spent to influence elections. You, I, and all the other people who work 40 hours a week, shuttle children around, cook, clean, and maybe get out to eat once or twice a month simply cannot compete with the level of financial influence that a fortune 500 company has. They already can employ lobbyists to bring their concerns to elected officials, and they do so with armies of attorneys and more. Now they can spend money to influence elections? A yard sign costs anywhere from 2-5 bucks depending on who makes it and how many you order. Newspaper ads are several hundred dollars. This adds up to thousands of dollars spent, which is alot for a candidate or movement, but nothing for a company. Whats to stop the Transrail corporation in Wilmington from running a campaign to confuse the residents, or a company in Tewksbury from downplaying negative side effects of a local ballot initiative in a local election? However, the commission may find some positives that are important and should be retained, and having a group research and produce non-binding results is a good thing. More knowledge should never be rejected.

Lastly is the Transgender Rights bill, which I will vote no. I believe that this law should have limited individuals to use the restroom as displayed on their license and medical documents. I do know that as science progresses, and individuals are able to undergo faster and cheaper surgery it will eventually become awkward to have someone who is fully functionally female or male use the other restroom because they were born the opposite gender; and their decision to undergo that surgery is simply none of my, or the governments, business. On the other hand, I have seen that crime statistics have not increased in terms of assault of any nature, rape, or more increasing in bathrooms, though the long term trends have yet to be established. As the medical field progresses I hope the public would be able to vote again on how they feel, but until that moment where a procedure is rapid and cheap I believe what an individual medically is identified as is the facility they should use.

(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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