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August 02, 2005

Joe Mackey on health care, education, and transportation

We are pleased to present Joe Mackey's responses to the questionnaire that we sent out to the four Democratic candidates for the Second Middlesex Senate seat.  (You can read Pat Jehlen's responses here; we still haven't heard from Paul Casey or Michael Callahan.)

Remember: primary day is Tuesday, August 30.  The last day to register to vote for this election is next Wednesday, August 10.

Read on for Joe Mackey's responses....

Health care: do you support the Health Access and Affordability Act, which would move toward universal health insurance through a combination of employer mandates and expanding MassHealth, and would be funded by an increase in the tobacco tax along with other sources?  Other options on the table include Governor Romney’s individual mandate – would you support that approach?  Would you go even further than any of these proposals, and if so, how?

I strongly support the Health Access and Affordability Act (H. 2777, S. 738) as it strives towards universal health insurance, expanding affordable coverage and MassHealth and working with employers to meet the crucial health care needs of their employees.  We can no longer tolerate the number of uninsured citizens growing, while health care access and affordability continue to deteriorate.

The impressive and effective Coalition of 32 Steering Committee members that has formed to promote the Health Access and Affordability Act gives us hope that this bill will be successfully passed.  The American Cancer Society, Health Care for All, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the Massachusetts Hospital Association are a few of the organizations that are working together to see that this effort becomes reality.

I am ready, willing and able to work with this Coalition and use my legislative skills as your next State Senator to help make sure that we improve and invigorate our affordable health care efforts.

I have been going around the Second Middlesex Senatorial District and speaking out against a number of Governor Romney’s proposals.  I definitely do not agree with the Governor’s individual mandate that would punish those who can least afford the extremely high health insurance costs.  It is ludicrous in its approach and mechanism.

I plan on spending a lot of my efforts in supporting high-quality health care coverage for all our residents, through the Health Care Trust bill and other proposals that will be before the Legislature.  I will work to ensure that prescription drugs are affordable for our citizens, especially the elderly, who often have to choose between their needed prescriptions and food and shelter.  I strongly support advancing medical research, including stem cell research. 

As a Legislator, I spearheaded the Healthy Start program, which provides access to early, comprehensive and continuous prenatal care for low-income, uninsured women to improve the health of newborns and their mothers.  This next legislative session is the time to finally come to grips with one of society’s greatest needs - health care for all.

Education: do you see a way to continue to encourage the innovation that charter schools can bring without hampering the necessary process of improving the public schools?

I am a proud product of public schools; both my parents were public school teachers and my wife, Paula, and I sent our three children though Somerville High School, so I am always looking to promote and enhance public education.  We cannot allow charter schools to devastate the funding of public schools.  It will take dedicated legislators, who know how to pass revamped laws, before the formula for funding schools is in proper balance and charter schools do not drain scarce resources from public education.  We need to encourage innovation in education and look to collaborative efforts to solve some of our educational needs and challenges.

We need to work for adequate levels of Chapter 70 state aid to support innovation, state-of-the-art technology and high standards for all.  I am ready to demand that the best educational innovation, if successfully employed in charter schools, be widely shared with our teachers, students and administrators and a truly enhanced public education system is nourished and achieved.

Transportation: do you support extending the Green Line to Tufts?  To West Medford?  And what can the state do to avoid the kinds of mishaps and cost overruns in the Green Line extension that have plagued the Big Dig?

I strongly support extending the Green Line to Tufts University and Boston Avenue and have been clearly stating that as I campaign throughout Medford, Somerville, Winchester and Woburn.  Well thought out public transportation can be a boon to our cities and towns, if the planners astutely listen to the neighborhoods and leaders of the communities.  I have been to Green Line meetings and I will continue to listen and involve myself as we undertake what will be a multiple year process to make sure that everyone is heard and all contingencies are clearly addressed. 

As I continue to go out into the neighborhoods, I have heard and I understand that West Medford has a much different take on the proposed Green Line than Somerville does.  I can be that State Senator, who will make sure that the State of Massachusetts understands the uniqueness of neighborhoods and carries out a process that is thorough, attentive and responsive to each community, as we all strive for cleaner air and safer, smoother traffic as part of a comprehensive transportation plan.

Once everyone is on the same page and a collaborative plan is in place, we must of course be diligent in our oversight of the Green Line extension, so that overruns and the mistakes of the past are not revisited.  Involving the affected communities and strong listening and leading skills are necessary to solving this and other challenges.

Anything else you’d care to add?

I have had the perspective of having been on Beacon Hill and understanding how good, honest, efficient and effective government works.  I want to keep listening to the good people of Medford, Somerville, Winchester and Woburn and be the strong leader, who can get things done as their State Senator.  I am a pro-choice, pro-education and pro-affordable health care involved person, who will work very hard to make sure that the Second Middlesex Senate District has an effective Democratic leader with the courage to stand up for what he believes.

Posted by David at 09:49 PM in Massachusetts | Permalink


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Posted by: [email protected] | Aug 3, 2005 4:26:33 AM

He sounds a little more against the west medford exrension then Jehlen, but doesn't commit.

Posted by: the troll | Aug 3, 2005 11:01:43 AM

So troll, what is your position on the west medford extension? If you don't mind me asking...

Posted by: eury13 | Aug 3, 2005 11:12:56 AM

Don't care

Posted by: the troll | Aug 3, 2005 11:31:18 AM

Okay, I was just curious because you've mentioned it more than once.

Posted by: eury13 | Aug 3, 2005 3:15:32 PM

Well, that settles it for me. It's clear that Joe Mackey is on the side of fear when it comes to the Green Line extension to West Medford Square. I'm not sure what upsets me more -- the backwards attitudes of a couple of loudmouths, or that htere's been no leadership in Medford to work to educate the community on the possibilities and pitfalls.

Posted by: judy judy judy | Aug 3, 2005 6:40:44 PM

Hi Judy (Judy Judy): You say "It's clear..." I don't think there's much that's clear about either response from the candidates.

The West Medford extension is a case where the question of "how" is as important as the question of "if". There will be good ways and bad ways of implementing it, and there may well be winners and losers in the final plan. So I can understand some hedging from the candidates on this. The question is whom do you want mediating the process, which as I said in the open thread is partly a matter of personal temperament.

Posted by: Charley on the MTA | Aug 4, 2005 9:25:34 AM

Hey, arent Charter schools public schools? I mean they are open to the p[ublic and paid for by tax payers.
Publicly paid for education is a right in this country. But the current system is not.

Posted by: the troll | Aug 6, 2005 4:28:51 PM

Trust me. The extention is never going to West Medford

Posted by: the troll | Aug 7, 2005 9:59:38 AM

I agree I also support the Health Access and Affordability Act as it can be a great improvement towards health insurance.

Posted by: California Health Insurance | Nov 4, 2005 3:44:11 PM

I completely support the Health care and Affordability act. Affordable health care is a must in this country.

Posted by: Blue Cross of California | Nov 23, 2005 7:26:41 PM

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