Democratic Candidates Share Similar Views During Chelmsford Debate

The five candidates in next week's Democratic Primary for the Third Middlesex State Senate District shared very similar views with slight differences during their debate hosted by Carmen Christiano on Tuesday.


For any undecided voters left in the Democratic Third Middlesex State Senate Primary watching the final debate before Primary Day, one thing jumped out above all else: all the candidates share nearly identical views in varying ways.

Hosted by Carmen Christiano in the studios of Chelmsford Telemedia, the candidates shared similar views on nearly every question, varying slightly on what they would emphasize over their opponents.

“I’ve never hosted a debate where people didn’t have a lot to discuss and argue about, but that’s great,” said Christiano during the program.

The broadest difference of opinions between the candidates came in a question on the recently passed “Melissa’s Law,” which would provide mandatory minimum sentencing for offenders of certain vicious crimes.

While each of the candidates agreed that mandatory sentencing can harm judicial independence in many cases, opinions varied between whether they would have voted for the bill if they had been in the Senate earlier this year.

Mara Dolan of Concord and Alex Buck of Chelmsford opposed the bill, as well as any comparable mandatory minimum sentencing bill, with Buck wanting to have seen a “safety valve” in the bill to allow the views of judges to supercede mandatory minimum sentencing during instances where it would not help rehabilitate the convict.

“We need to give the judges the ability to promote justice, and when it comes to the justice system, I am more interested in maintaining justice than maintaining the system,” said Buck.

Joe Kearns Goodwin (Concord) and Joseph Mullin (Weston) agreed with Dolan and Buck on their opposition to mandatory minimum sentencing in general, but said they probably would have voted for the bill, despite their views that it wasn’t a perfect one.

Mike Barrett (Lexington) agreed with Goodwin and Mullin in the view that he would have voted for it even though it wasn’t perfect. However, he also urged reform in the prison system to reduce what he saw as wasteful spending by incarcerating non-violent offenders for $50,000 a year, joking that the state might as well send them to Harvard instead.

The quip built on the fact that all of the candidates except for Dolan attended Harvard.

Otherwise, all of the candidates said they would have supported the recent bottle bill as well as approving a graduated income tax in some form, working with party leadership to achieve demands set forth by constituents at home and looking to reinvest in areas such as education infrastructure.

Iron Mike August 29, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Surprise surprise! None of these űber-liberals speak of CUTTING taxes, - CUTTING government, - CUTTING regulations? Did even ONE of them speak about how to get manufacturing industries to come back to Taxachusetts? We can't continue trying to make a living by doing each other's laundry and washing each other's clothes. ANY of them have a plan to pay down our $103 Billion state DEBT? Any of them know what we bought for $103 Billion BORROWED Dollars? None will speak of bringing back the Death Penalty, - they're arm-wrestling each other to prove how SOFT they are on criminals. Do they EVER think of the victims?
Dave Dubinsky August 29, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Have to laugh at "Iron Mike's" dribble about cutting taxes, spending and "get tough" policies. Like the Republican's morbidly obese blowhard, Chris Christie, who bragged about strangling public education in NJ and getting his state's economy out in front of the pack, Mr Mike fails to acknowledge that NJ's unemployment rate is hovering around 10%(!), while MA unemploent rate continues to stand in the 6% range, well below Christie's mess. Republican's "talk" a good game, but the Middle Class has always counted on Democrats to care about their interests instead of the interests of the "upper crust." "Trickle Down" works for folks like Iron Mike, Peter Lucas, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the rest of the Right-wing gang. We've had enough of providing corporate welfare to the corporate billionaires raping our economy. Let THEM pay their fair share at tax time!!!
Iron Mike August 29, 2012 at 03:22 PM
You're doing the SDDT Mister Dubinsky – the Standard Democratic Deflection Trick. What does Governor Christie's weight or New Jersey have to do with the $103 Billion Massachusetts state debt? Surely you're not expecting New Jersey to pay down OUR debt? The Merrimack River Valley was the cradle of the American Industrial Revolution, and now it stands vacant, idle, and abandoned after 60+ years of Democrat-controlled state government. So instead of DEFLECTING attention to Governor Christie – which of these FOUR (4) Democrat wannabes actually have a PLAN to shrink our bloated state government and pay down our debt?
ron johnson August 29, 2012 at 04:10 PM
David, I consider myself middle class. I am tired of teacher unions that fight against merit based retention as opposed to tenure. I am tired off people who come to this country illegally and drive and and get state aid. I am tired off paying my fair share and wondering why people get handouts. I am not worried about why rich people supposedly do not pay enough taxes. I am more concerned with why I pay as much as I do. Iron Mike is right, what does Christie's weight have to do with anything. Maybe the unemployment rate was hiring in NJ then it is now. By the way Obama is still blaming bush for his inability to turn the economy around.
Tom Christiano August 30, 2012 at 12:40 PM
This Democratic State Senate debate, which was help on August 28th in Chelmsord, is now on YouTube. Here's the link to the YouTube video of this one hour debate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_e4mo5Yaao


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