Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday roundup: A new sheriff in town

The Telegram really brings it today with a bunch of stories on area politics in their Thursday edition, led by a look at last night's Sheriff's debate in Harvard:
Three candidates for Worcester County sheriff last night promised to kick politics out of the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction, while the fourth candidate, an assistant deputy superintendent at the facility in West Boylston said the jail has already been professionalized.

The emphasis at a sheriff candidates forum at the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church was more on individual qualifications to run the Sheriff's Department than differences over issues. The forum was sponsored by the Worcester County Chapter of the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, with Ronal C. Madnick, director of the chapter, posing questions to the candidates.
Madnick (U-Worcester), you may remember, is a candidate for state rep. in the 13th Worcester district. His participation as a moderator in this debate has sparked some discussion of a conflict of interest.

The Telegram's lead columnist, Diane Williamson, also took a look at candidate Tom Foley. Specifically, she examines the questions surrounding his retirement from the State Police due to a heart problem and the effect that issue is having on the race:
When Foley retired at age 50, he filed for and was granted a disability pension due to a heart condition. Under state law, he receives a tax-free pension — $112,000 — equal to 72 percent of his salary. The sheriff’s salary is $123,000, although under law Foley would only be eligible for about $93,000.

His opponents raise valid questions. If someone is so disabled that he must retire from one public job, how can he take another one? Is he disabled, or isn’t he? Just this week, while endorsing [Scott] Bove, the Worcester County Superior Officers Union said Foley couldn’t meet the “basic requirements” for sheriff because of his health, as the sheriff must also be a correction officer.
Williamson concludes that Foley's health is less of an issue than a flawed pension "system that encourages excess and abuse."
Third Congressional District
Brian Herr (R-Hopkinton) says the appropriations bill that passed congress earlier this week was akin to a shakedown:
It's no surprise that Jim McGovern voted for this bill...during his political career he has received $1,176,725 in contributions from labor unions. This year alone, he has received $2,500 from the American Federation of Teacher, $2,500 from the National Association of Firefighters, and $2,000 from the National Education Association.

It looks like the vote for this bill was nothing more than a $26 billion political payback.
Robert Delle (R-Westboro/Wayland/Paxton) talks about his upcoming move to Paxton and his campaign for office. He also says he "considers President Obama a socialist and is so wary of government spending that he believes people are 'stealing' federal stimulus money, though he didn't say who."

In an op-ed for the MetroWest Daily News, Michael Stopa (R-Holliston) argues that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is crowding out private investment and hurting the economy.

Fifth Congressional District
The four candidates for the Republican nomination discussed their ambitions at a debate in Concord:
When it came time to ask questions to one another, the candidates touched on tort reform for the healthcare bill, cost of living increases and the first piece of legislation they would file if elected.

Repealing the healthcare bill would be first on Golnik’s list, while Weaver said he would like to establish and chair an anti-appropriations committee to look at the books and cut unnecessary expenses. Shapiro would start by slapping a dollar limit on the federal budget and keeping bills under 100 pages, and Meas said he would seek to become the Ways and Means chairman and simplify the tax code to stimulate the economy.
13th Worcester House District
Mike Perotto (D-Worcester) visited Worcester Community Cable Access's "What It's Worth" show.

Shaun Sutner of the Telegram checks in on the relationship between Joff Smith (D-Worcester) and Worcester Mag columnist and former city councilor Gary Rosen. Sutner also looks at the efforts of Paul Franco (R-Worcester) in Paxton.

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