EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 1, 2012

As candidates, Devers, Santiago sound a lot alike

(Continued)

Santiago said public safety goes hand in hand with bringing new companies to Lawrence.

“We need to create jobs in service areas and small businesses” while companies such as Porlatech and New Balance with roots in the city remain here, Santiago said.

“The only way of bringing and keeping jobs to the city is providing public safety, good education and trained employees,” Santiago said.

Devers said the Ibrahim El-Hefni Health and Technology Center being built by Northern Essex Community College is one way to train residents in the growing medical field.

“We need to help the private sector and educate residents to establish a capable labor force so we can lower the unemployment rate under 10 percent,” Devers said.

Devers said he would roll back taxes only if the economy stabilizes.

“When we have a surplus and all the services are assured, then the roll back can be done by lowering taxes to the middle class and the poor and raising it for the reach.

Both Devers and Santiago are against the Death with Dignity initiative and the legalization of marijuana.

“We should not be playing God,” Santiago said. “We should leave it to the creator who knows when to call us home.”

About the legalization of marijuana, Devers said: “To vote in favor of it is to give others access which may lead to addiction,” he said. “As much control as we put on it, we don’t want to play with fire. It’s better to find other ways.”

As a former police sergeant, Santiago is opposed to making marijuana legal.

“To legalize it, it will be a double edge sword. It may help people with stage 3 or 4 cancer, but it’s going to hurt young people who will have access to it and with drug testing required at jobs, they won’t qualify,” Santiago said. “As a legislator we’re supposed to write the law, not break it.”

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