EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

October 31, 2012

Editorial: Here are our choices in local legislative races

There are a number of legislative races in districts across the Merrimack Valley. On Tuesday, voters will make their choices.

Our purpose in offering endorsements in these state legislative races is not to “tell voters how to vote” but rather to offer readers our views on which candidates will best represent the interests of the people of the Merrimack Valley. This election is a turning point, an opportunity for voters to make a fundamental change in the way they are governed.

Jobs and the economy are the overriding issues in this election. We generally favor candidates who support policies that we believe will strengthen the economy and promote job growth.

Here are our choices:

State Senate, 1st Essex District: This is a four-way race to fill the seat vacated by former Sen. Steven Baddour of Methuen. The candidates are: Kathleen O’Connor Ives, Democrat of Newburyport; Shaun Toohey, Republican of Haverhill, James Kelcourse of Amesbury, independent; and Paul Magliocchetti of Haverhill, independent.

We favor Magliocchetti, a lawyer and current member of the Haverhill School Committee. Magliocchetti would be a fiscal watchdog for the Merrimack Valley, vowing to consider new taxes only after searching the state budget for spending cuts and seeing state agencies reformed to “bare-bones” levels. He wants to see a graduated sales tax to help local businesses competing with those in tax-free New Hampshire and suggests that tax-free zones might help revitalize local downtowns. This kind of “out-of-the-box” thinking would be a refreshing change on Beacon Hill.

State Senate, 2nd Essex and Middlesex District: Barry Finegold, Democrat, and Paul Adams, Republican. No endorsement.

State representative, 2nd Essex District: We support Leonard Mirra, Republican of West Newbury, over Democrat Barry Fogel of West Newbury. Mirra is singing our tune on a number of issues. He calls for real ethics reform on Beacon Hill that would apply serious penalties to those engaging in patronage hiring. He wants pension reform that ends double-dipping by public employees and unlimited accumulation of their sick and vacation time. He wants more stringent reforms of the EBT card system to assure that payments only go to those truly in need. Those three reforms alone could save the state millions.

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