ANDOVER — State Sen. Barry Finegold said his record shows that he is the second most bipartisan Democrat in the state Senate.
“I vote with Republicans, I vote with Democrats,” said Finegold, of Andover. “Ultimately, I vote for what I think is best for the district.”
He voted against casino gambling which the majority of his party supported, and was one of only five Democratic senators to vote against the MBTA bailout bill, he said.
But throughout the campaign, his opponent state Rep. Paul Adams, R-Andover, has accused him of being a part of the “go along to get along crowd” of Beacon Hill in raising taxes and cutting local aid.
“There is a clear contrast in this race,” Adams said during a debate at Tewksbury High School last week. “I supported local aid. He’s cut it. He’s raised taxes killing thousands of jobs and I’ve voted to cut taxes.”
Finegold was elected to the 2nd Essex and Middlesex Senate district in 2010 after serving for 13 years as a state representative in the 17th Essex House district. Adams was elected to the 17th Essex House seat in 2010.
Adams beat Andover Selectman Alex Vispoli by 91 votes during the primary election in September. The district includes Andover, Lawrence, Tewksbury and Dracut.
Adams did not respond to several requests from The Eagle-Tribune for an interview for this story.
During a forum hosted in Andover, Finegold questioned how Adams can say he supports local aid when he voted against the budget, which included significant increases in local aid. Adams claimed he voted against the budget because it was filled with “patronage.”
“Without balance, without somebody making decisions that I think are in the best interest of the communities and not what the Beacon Hill ‘go along to get along’ culture wants, we are not going to see the best results that are in the best interest of the communities,” Adams said.
Finegold said during a recent interview with The Eagle-Tribune that he helped push for more local aid for all four communities in the district.
“This past year when the House sent over his budget, I was not satisfied with the local aid that the town of Andover was getting back,” Finegold said. “As a result, Andover got the largest amount of local aid, ever.”
In regards, to voting to raise the sales from 5 to 6.5 percent in 2009, Finegold said he needs to make a tough vote, during tough times.
Adams said at the Tewksbury debate that there is an overspending and over regulation problem on Beacon Hill.
“The spending is absolutely out-of-control and its got to stop,” Adams said. “That is going to happen when there is more balance on Beacon Hill, specifically when there is more Republicans.”
The largest issue facing the district is jobs, Finegold said.
He said he played a key role in securing funding for the Northern Essex Community College expansion in downtown Lawrence, which will help train people for jobs in healthcare. “What we need to do is to train people the skills they need to get these types of jobs,” Finegold said.
Finegold said he has worked with Sal Lupoli on the Riverwalk project and helped recruit Eastern Bank to open on Essex Street. He said with the bank’s commitment to lending it will help small businesses open.
“I think that is the most effective way to bring jobs, to create small businesses,” Finegold said.
Adams said during a forum in Lawrence that he will be a consistent voice for the business community in Lawrence.
“Instead of picking individual businesses and picking individual employers,” Adams said. “Let’s open up the free market process and allow all employers who want to come to the city who have huge employment base here and support them.”
During the primary, Vispoli accused Adams of attempting to mislead voters by denying he had been fined by the state for campaign finance violations earlier this year and for claiming he had U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s endorsement.
Adams paid $1,000 earlier this year to settle a claim by the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance that he attempted to disguise the source of up to $39,000 in campaign contributions from his parents and brother. His parents were fined $1,000 and his brother was fined $2,000.
Finegold has been silent on Adams’ Campaign and Political Finance controversy at public forums.
:Name: Barry Finegold, Democrat* Age: 41 Family: wife, Amy; three children Ava, 9, Ella, 6, and Max, 8 months Education: Andover High School, 1989; Franklin and Marshall College, 1993; Massachusetts School of Law, 1998 and Masters in Public Administration, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, 2002. Political experience: Andover Selectman, 1995-1997; State representative, 1997-2010; State senator, 2011-present Name: Paul Adams, Republican Age: 31 Family: Single Education: Andover High School, 2000; B.S. in International Relations and Economics from Suffolk University Political experience: State Representative, 2011 - present *Denotes incumbent