80-100 people? At 6:06pm
I’ll try to clean up my notes when the debate is done. The opening and closing statements I will not blog, and I’ll link to the video when it’s up.
The format of the debate/forum was to have questions asked of each of the candidates by the three panelists (Stolz, Rosen, Bird) and then have the candidates ask each other questions. There was also the opportunity for the first person answering a question to rebut or add an additional comment.
Note that I am not providing exact quotes and there are times when I didn’t type so I missed a few points but not, I think, anything that matters.
Gary Rosen – “Don’t forget, the bar is open throughout the debate” “The ladies room is right outside this door”
Excellent handout from the NAACP on your rights as a voter
Mike Germain – “I now live with my mother…I know that’s kind of sad at 48 years old”
First Panel Question: Hank Stolz: about economic development
Doug Belanger: Influx of businesses needed – had business for 20 years, when he owned Paxton Supermarket, there was a program to incentivize hiring the unemployed. On state taxes. In 1980s – reduction of 50% of salary on first six months.
Training programs for those who do not go to college. Need more training for those who don’t go to college.
Mike Germain: have children graduating from Worcester Tech commit to unions. Looks at Leicester – the business sector is a bunch of mom and pop shops. Need to create an industrial area to bring in major corporations/big employers for Leicester citizens.
Moses Dixon: concern, particularly in Leicester, about bringing in new businesses. CoW has adopted Ch 43b – expedited business process. Thinks Town of Leicester should adopt that moving forward. If elected, will request to be on Community Development & Small Business.
Kate Campanale: my legislative priorities surround economic development. Incentives that we know will work: Philly Plan; HDIP plan in Worcester. Locks in value of the property – property owner will invest in property, HDIP allows for tax increase to spread over a number of years. Would like to see this on a corporate level.
Doug Belanger – rebuttal: Town of Leicester town meeting has rejected a number of development proposals. Would have a problem with the state telling Worcester or Leicester what to do.
Second Panel Question from Walter Bird: Spate of violent drug deaths in Worcester and around the state. Heroin and opiate abuse increasing. #1 concern is lack of services.
Mike Germain: If people don’t have solid family base, etc., will revert to negative things around them in the community. No easy answer to this. “Add five more cops” doesn’t answer this. His answer is more jobs – economic development – people will have fewer economic and social issues.
Moses Dixon: availability of services. Oftentimes someone who is struggling goes to a service provider and there’s no bed or other services available. Ensure that there is funding available for service providers for those who need it.
Kate Campanale: Get people into longterm treatment –eventually get people into their own housing. This program got approval from Statehouse but was not funded. She spoke with area reps to make sure this was funded.
Doug Belanger: Folks coming out of correctional institution need employment and incentives. Also emphasizes a firmness.
Moses Dixon: someone can be educated, have housing, and still have an addiction. Need preventive services. Doesn’t know where education and housing come from in this question.
Doug – courage of convictions, not just having programs available, have to then say how you are going to pay for the program.
Third Panel Question from Gary Rosen about representing the district in Boston
Moses Dixon: working at the Statehouse, you get a better sense of what you need to do. He will not compromise trust of the district to go with leadership. Will vote how the district wants to vote. Will be able to advocate effectively because he knows what’s going on.
Kate Campanale: not one of the good old boys or go along to get along types. Part of new generation of leadership that is dedicated to the community. Misconception that Republicans can’t get everything done – exactly the opposite. Delegation in Worcester is all Democrats. Money is going to Boston and not coming back.
Doug Belanger: Doesn’t agree that if you’re getting along with the speaker is a bad thing. You have to work with the leadership regardless of the party to get bills heard. He knows the process. You don’t have to sell out to get something done – you do need to be principled – turning 64 this month, not looking for a job, looking to do the job.
Mike Germain: I can’t agree with Doug more. You have to work with the leadership. Everyone talks about how you’re going to fight City Hall or the Statehouse – but you won’t get anything if you’re the one out there bucking the system. I’m going down there to develop relationships that will reap rewards for those in the district.
Moses Dixon: nothing wrong with working with the leadership, but you have to take the interest of the district residents into consideration.
Kate Campanale: Look at problems with corruption, those are caused by experienced Democrats. Being a Republican, doesn’t have to sell her soul to the Speaker. Gives her ability to serve district better.
Doug Belanger: if light goes on and it’s money for the 17th Worcester District, he’ll be voting yes. To get through committee, needs powers that be to do that. Fight for your principles, work with other side to appeal to better angels.
Fourth Panel Question, Hank Stolz – is there still fat to be trimmed from the bone or are EBT abuse, etc., just things to get talk radio, etc., riled up?
Kate Campanale: biggest issue is local aid. People are worried about their wallets. Cities and towns are working and pinching in the same manner. Prioritize spending – bring more money back there, not always vote with Boston.
Doug Belanger: it is pretty much an easy standard bearer to say they will cut waste, fraud, and abuse, etc., but no one has identified big areas. If you identify how you will fund the bill at the time it’s passed, should eliminate some of these problems.
Mike Germain: had a standout in Webster Square, a guy came up to him and wanted to give them 50 cents on the dollar for his EBT card. That is waste, fraud, and abuse, but we can’t attack that whole system because of that one individual. Need to do a better job monitoring that.
Moses Dixon: in state government, there’s always room to find inadequacies. In re EBT issue, the legislature took a step to improve it – require IDs on the EBT card. It’s a small minority of people who abuse the system compared to the vast majority who depend on these services. But any fraud and abuse are important.
Mike Germain fighting in support of unions.
Kate Campanale: $1 billion for the Boston Convention Center, while kids are sharing books, governor spending millions on renovating his offices, etc. If the state was looking to cut costs, it could find something better than cutting public safety and education.
Fifth Panel Question from Walter Bird about Market Basket – should governor have been involved?
Doug Belanger: hopefully can bring cooler heads to prevail. This is about workers standing up for their rights. Has been involved in a number of these sorts of situations – if an officeholder can bring a peaceful solution, that’s great.
Mike Germain: Ditto
Moses Dixon: Ditto
Kate Campanale: classic overreaching of the government. Thinks it will be a case study for years to come when there is mutual respect between managers and employees.
(Sorry, really boring; my whole household has been way too involved in the MB thing and I’ve read way too many frustrating Shirley Leung columns to hear the Worcester 17th District candidates’ take on this )
Sixth Panel Question from Gary Rosen: should Commonwealth welcome and provide driver’s licenses and services to those who have entered country illegally?
Mike Germain: “I have to go first, I can’t even copy these guys.” Need to have a path to citizenship. These folks aren’t going home tomorrow. There’s no agency that can wrap people up and send them home.
Moses Dixon: public safety issue. If I’m driving a car, who’s going to foot the bill if I get in an accident? Better to have folks insured and paying taxes.
Kate Campanale: No, not for illegal immigrants
Doug Belanger: there’s a balance – devil is in the details of legislation. Republican controlled Congress in Washington keeps talking but doing nothing about this. We are a compassionate people; have to weigh specifics of a proposal.
First question from candidates:
Moses Dixon: question about how other candidates would represent the diverse groups within the district.
Doug Belanger has been representing over 3,000 people at St. V’s and other hospitals for 25 years (?) from all walks of life.
Mike Germain has represented almost 200,000 people as a City Councilor without any hesitation. Was beat up over Phoenix AZ resolution. Representative of the entire community.
Kate Campanale – has been going door-to-door for the past few months.
Moses: has been doing what he has always done.
Kate Campanale would like Mike Germain to walk through keeping the PIP Shelter out of the community.
Mike Germain: tried to create a coalition. Got people to say they didn’t want it.
[Sorry, I can’t go on. I do not agree with Mr. Germain nor anyone else who decided that the so-called “PIP” should have gone back to 701 Main Street.]
Doug Belanger – local laws cannot supersede certain state laws about where sex offenders, etc., can live.
Kate Campanale thinks Belanger is grandstanding and the proposed legislation is unenforceable.
Doug Belanger’s question – follow up – starting with Moses Dixon – under current state law, there are companies that put sex offenders in houses with no input from the community.
Moses Dixon being handed something (a petition for a piece of legislation, I think) from Doug Belanger – “no thank you”. If you have a “my way or the highway” attitude, you will get nothing done. Wants to ensure a fair and open process for everyone.
Kate Campanale: wants to make sure legislation is legal and enforceable.
Doug Belanger: if you don’t start the process, there will be no legislation. This is about saving families and neighborhoods. If you don’t start, there will be no finish.
Mike Germain, to Doug: about situation on “Oak Street” in Leicester.
Doug Belanger: There’s no Oak Street in Leicester, but there’s a Brickyard Road. We met with neighbors, then developers/those who run facility, got them to work with neighborhood about not placing certain folks who were making the neighbors nervous. Let’s find something the neighbors can work with.
(Sorry, can’t keep track of this debate format – and the gentleman next to me is too charming – missed a question or two.)
Kate Campanale, question to Moses: asks him to describe the process of writing and filing legislation
Moses Dixon: you have to draft it, get sponsors, it goes through committee, and ultimately goes to the floor. Ultimately you have to get a lot of support.
Doug Belanger: talks a bit about figuring out how to get support and give support from/to those.
Doug Belanger, question: has addressed unintended consequences of having 10 days of elections, which means 13 days of voting at the local polling place. Wants to know if folks would support changing “crazy” law to make absentee voting = early voting.
Mike Germain: has been asked this question before, but would need more specifics before committing. Not for same day voter registration. Doug’s proposal sounds more reasonable than 10 day advanced voting.
Moses Dixon: is for democracy and for people’s right to vote. Absentee ballot is different than early voting, it’s for those who cannot physically be here on voting day. We have time to look at ways this will not be a burden on communities.
Kate Campanale: would vote against early voting. Questions the legality.
Mike Germain, last question: gun control. Today is gun control adequate? What would you change or not change?
Doug Belanger: he supports the second amendment. There are enough laws on the books that need enforcement now. Not enough funding for background checks/screening process. If you don’t have courage of convictions and fund things, nothing will change.
Moses Dixon: grew up in a family of hunters and responsible gun owners. Supports Gov Patrick’s proposal to join a larger registry.
Kate Campanale: strong supporter of 2nd amendment. Legislators are passing laws that do nothing to stop illegal guns and getting guns out of the hands of criminals.
Mike Germain: repeats what Doug Belanger said.