WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Apple is asking weekly questions to the three candidates running for the Wilmington/Tewksbury State Representative seat (19th Middlesex).
Below, in her own words, is the response to one of this week’s questions from candidate Patricia Meuse (I-Tewksbury).
#4) What are the top three issues you would focus on if elected and why? Which committees do you wish to be assigned to and why?
School Security: We don’t want our schools to resemble prisons but our children need to be safe. I know our schools have school security committees that meet but we could all be doing so much more. The state needs to work with all police and security agencies to identify the best safety/security measures for our schools. We need to involve our colleges, such as Northeastern, where security is part of their curriculum. There needs to be one database starting with state wide and then evolving into a nationwide database that school districts can reference to determine what has worked best elsewhere and what will work best for our schools. Each school’s taskforce should include the people who are involved in the daily life of the school, police, fire, teachers, secretaries, administrators, food service, maintenance, custodial, students and other security experts.
Opioid Epidemic: The opioid epidemic needs our immediate attention and scrutiny. After reviewing the Governor’s Opioid Addiction Working Group’s Action Plan a lot has been done but a lot more needs to be done. The Prevention, Intervention and Treatment Initiatives that are pending or not in progress such as “Review GIC insurance plans, removing fail-first policies and prior authorization protocols that may impede access to treatment” need to be completed. This epidemic has affected our neighbors and loved ones. We need to look at other states and countries to see what they have tried and what has worked such as Casey’s Law in Kentucky. House Bill 4077 addresses the education of the hazards of opioid and drug addiction for our children. This bill should be reviewed by those who have first-hand knowledge of this crisis: parents, grandparents, those addicted, siblings, doctors, nurses, police etc. Does the bill go far enough and does it address issues that the Governors Plan does not address? Is there anything else that should have been included? What, if anything, is in place for the addicted person after they have had treatment to catch them before they fall again? More money is needed to ensure there are enough treatment facilities so no one is turned away or is waiting for help. A solution has to be found to save our children from getting caught up in this problem that too often ends up in death.
Route 38: The state needs to fund the towns in taking care of the state roads that are in our district. Route 38 needs to be repaved, there needs to be sidewalks on both sides of the street. Traffic is a major issue on this road. Before there is any more construction along 38 there needs to be a plan of what can be done to ease the traffic that is already there.
Which committees do you want to serve on? I would love to serve on the Joint Committee on Education, the Ways and Means Committee and the Committee for the Elderly.
Education: Education is my expertise, I have been on a School Committee for the last 30 years and have worked in a school system for the last 23 years. I understand the outdated chapter 70 better than the other candidates and why it needs to be changed. I understand the public education system better than the other candidates and probably better than any member of the House. I feel I have a multifaceted perspective to offer our public schools since I work in the school system and serve/have served on two School Committees. I have six children that have gone to public school and a majority of my grandchildren attend as well. From a day to day viewpoint from being a student to parenting one, I also bring another perspective.
Ways and Means: Money, follow the money, who has it, where does it go and what is it used for? Those are everyone’s questions about our state money. I belong to the audit subcommittee for the Tech, I am a certified School Business Manager and I am the purchasing coordinator for the Tewksbury Public Schools so I know money. I know what it is being used for, if there is any waste I see it, and with purchasing I find the best bang for the buck.
Elderly: This is my age group. I took in my parents when they could no longer take care of themselves. It wasn’t easy but we did it, and unfortunately there wasn’t enough services in place to help both the person needing care and the caregivers. I look at the practical side of things, what services are available, how does it actually work for the people taking advantage of the services and how can we improve it. If you are not taking advantage of the services why not and how can we help you take advantage of the services available? A lot has changed to improve the care of the elderly but still not enough. We need affordable good daycare whether at home or outside of the home. The paperwork for home nursing and services needs to be changed and should not be counted as time in the services that someone receives. You are told you get eight hours of service a week but little does anyone realize that a lot of that time is taken up in the paperwork process that the service provider gives.
But whatever committee that I am allowed to be on I promise you I will do my best to address the issues that are important to our community and to better the Commonwealth.
(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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