Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Question for the Candidate – Derek Maksy

Derek Maksy is the Republican candidate for the First Bristol & Plymouth District seat in the Massachusetts State Senate.  This is the seat that Joan Menard has held for the last decade and that she is now vacating.  I asked Mr. Maksy why he feels he should be the candidate of choice for the people of Fall River. What is it about his platform, leadership style, and goals that best represent the needs and interests of the people of Fall River? Below are excerpts from his response, with my commentary. The entire unedited response can be read here.

Mr. Maksy said I believe people are tired of the same old politics as usual, that is why I am running for the vacant State Senate seat.

Mr. Maksy also has the unenviable luck to run against an established opponent, someone who is well known to Fall River voters. Perhaps if people are really tired of the same old politics that will be a good thing, however I saw and heard very little from the Maksy campaign until after the primary election.

Mr. Maksy said elections are about validation for a job well done or a work in progress, and my track record shows you both.

The problem is I don't think the people of Fall River are really all that familiar with Derek's track record. I think more needed to be done before the primary election to introduce Mr. Maksy to the people of Fall River. Now? Well at this point if you don't know his track record are you really taking the time to find out about it?

Mr. Maksy said state government must make more cuts to its budget without reducing local aid. As high school and college graduates and other job seekers struggle to find jobs, Mr. Maksy firmly believes it is the responsibility of Beacon Hill to provide the necessary resources to promote these jobs in our district.

This certainly rings as music to the ears of the average Fall River resident.  It's also a refreshing change from the attitude of our last Republican governor who kept the state in the black by drastically cutting local aid and basically shifting the burden to cities and towns.

Mr. Maksy said. "We have to stop the State unfunded mandates. We have to reduce government spending. Right now, we need to get our house in order and stop putting the burden on the taxpayers."

What unfunded mandates is he referring to? Where would he reduce spending? It's so easy to make these types of statements and by not offering specifics there is little chance in upsetting anyone. Still the idea is one we can all agree with.

Mr. Maksy, a current Lakeville selectman, has dealt with the cuts the state has passed down to the cities and towns. He has served on the Zoning Board of Appeals in Lakeville, the Middleboro Planning Board, Downtown Revitalization Committee, and Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District and he believes in term limits.

I have to say I like this level of experience because I think it gives him a good grasp on the struggles of cities and towns in the current economic climate. It's one thing to represent us in Boston and here about how tough it is and another completely to actually struggle with the realities of local aid cuts, dwindling tax revenues etc.  How many terms is the candidate pledging to serve?

Mr. Maksy and his wife Madelyn have two daughters. He put himself through college and has a degree in Business Administration, engineering, as well as a master's in public administration. He is a third generation farmer and a self-employed contractor. He also works for the Dept. of Transportation as a traffic signal supervisor of which he would resign if elected.

This is all sounds pretty good to me….

Mr. Maksy said. "Contrary to my opponent's opinion, commuter rail service being extended to Fall River and New Bedford would be a benefit to the region, as long as it does not have to be completely subsidized by the taxpayers". Mr. Maksy said the commuter rail service has been a success in Lakeville. "It's a great means of transportation to higher paying jobs in Boston," Mr. Maksy said. "It just needs to be managed like a business."

I'm not sure exactly what Mr. Maksy is stating about his opponents opinion here. A quick check confirmed his opponent is all for commuter rail. Now personally I have always had major concerns about the cost of bringing commuter rail to the region and the cost of maintaining it. However I think the reality is that rail service has a history of something that depends on government subsidy. If Mr. Maksy is elected and wants to make self sustaining commuter rail service a priority of his tenure I would applaud the effort, but I'd like to know how he thinks he can make that a reality.  

Mr. Maksy said bringing a casino to the region is great for economic development (my opponent disagrees). If a casino is built in the region, Mr. Maksy said there must be a mechanism to give the license fees from it to all surrounding cities and towns and not the State, the fee will help the area with infrastructure needs and social problems that come with a casino.

Well of course, I do not favor a casino, but the idea of giving the license fees to surrounding cities and towns is an interesting one. I think this would make the whole idea of legal gaming in Massachusetts less appealing if these fees went to just a few communities rather than the state as a whole. I think Mr. Maksy would have a hard time gaining much support for this in the Senate.

Mr. Maksy also feels the state should live within its means as well as reduce the current sales tax of 6.25 percent to five percent.

"If the state would lived within its means like its residents, there would have never been a need for a 20 percent increase in sales tax," Mr. Maksy said. "We need to rollback the sales tax and stop putting everything on the backs of the taxpayer."

On the surface I think many of us would support rolling the sales tax back to 5%. However how do you do that? Saying that the state needs to live within its means does little to say where cuts can and should be made. If you want to say the state needs to work with less revenue you need to suggest areas where cuts can made and money saved.

If elected, Mr. Maksy will propose a reduced tax exemption (61C) for folks over 65 like the current tax exemptions for Agricultural and Recreational  (61A AND 61B). 

I actually like this idea a lot. It's not something I think many would necessarily think a Republican candidate would be suggesting but I think such relief is needed ESPECIALLY in communities like Fall River. Without reading up on the specifics on 61A and 61B I can only say that not every senior over 65 needs such relief.

Mr. Maksy said the state can not afford its current pension system, and that it must not be subsidized by the tax payers

If Derek Maksy wins election and did NOTHING else but help revamp our pension system he would boast a successful legislative career. Pensions are literally crippling cities and towns but how do you overhaul the system? Any attempt will be met with great resistance from all the people who currently benefit from the current system. Still, this is an area that needs attention NOW. I just wish Mr. Maksy had included some specific ideas on changes that could be made.

Mr. Maksy said.  "I need everyone's vote on November 2 and I won't let you down"

I thank Derek Maksy for submitting his response to A View From Battleship Cove. His entire unedited response can be read here.



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