STATE REP RACE QA Erika Johnson Discusses State Rep Pay Environmental Issues

September 11, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Apple is asking weekly questions to the seven candidates running in contested primaries for the Wilmington/Tewksbury State Representative seat (19th Middlesex).Below, in her own words, are the responses to this week’s questions from candidate Erika Johnson (D-Wilmington).#9) Last year, there was a controversial bill in which members of the state legislature voted to give themselves large raises (up to to 45% in some cases), and included judicial raises in the bill so that the voters couldn’t potentially override the bill in a ballot question. The salary increases for elected officials came at a time where taxes were increasing and certain services were being cut. As state representative, how would you vote on such a matter? (Mind you, members of the New Hampshire state legislature earn only $200 per year.) Additionally, if elected, do you intend on working a second job or will you focus fully on your legislator position?I am running for this seat to make a real impact in the lives of current and future generations of Wilmington and Tewksbury residents, not for the money. If elected, I will focus fully on my legislator position.Frankly, it was underhanded how the Legislature handled the $12-18 million pay raise package that included raises for lawmakers, judges and constitutional officers. While I do believe that Legislators should be paid enough that they can fully focus on fighting for their communities and not worrying about how they are going to pay for their utility bills. Elected officials work for their constituents, therefore their constituents should decide if they get a raise through a ballot initiative rather than a vote in self-interest. I also want to point out that the legislature passed their own pay raise before voting on paid family leave and raising the minimum wage, putting themselves before their constituents.It is also important to note, surrounding states such as New Hampshire and Rhode Island have part-time legislatures where lawmakers receive a small stipend that is supposed to help with travel expenses while continuing their day-to-day whether it be a job, retirement etc. Massachusetts is one of only about a dozen states that have full-time legislatures where elected officials work year-round. The National Conference of State Legislatures averages the pay in all the full-time states to $81,000 where Massachusetts has a starting pay of $62,500.(https://www.wgbh.org/news/2017/02/02/politics-government/legislative-pay-raises-what-you-need-know)#10) The late Representative Miceli fought hard on environmental issues. Even though the Olin Superfund site, the Maple Meadow Landfill, and the New England Transrail project were not in his district, he went to bat for the Wilmington residents to help in the detrimental impacts from these sites. Do you have a clear knowledge of the threats from these sites and even though not in your district, will you fight for the residents of Wilmington like Jim Miceli did?I am well aware of these sites and even though they’re not in the district, will still be spots that I fight to be sure all Wilmington and Tewksbury residents are safe, see minimal impact from these sites and any other that may potentially arise. It is important to keep in mind that while serving as State Representative, your district comes first, but especially in Wilmington and Tewksbury’s case where you have a majority of each town, every decision you make not only impacts your district but the other precincts not to mention the Commonwealth as a whole.I attended the community meeting regarding Transrail and have been keeping up with anything coming out of the Surface Transportation Board regarding the site. If Transrail is approved, this will be detrimental to our community both for residents and the environment. This project would have hundreds of trucks driving large loads of trash through Wilmington daily, it will be situated on the Olin Superfund Site (which is has been vacant for years) with the very real possibility of unearthing chemicals and other toxic agents back into the air and soil. It will have a negative impact on the daily lives of residents especially those living on Eames Street and surrounding neighborhoods.As State Representative, I will fight for all Tewksbury and Wilmington residents and take a strong stand to protect our environment.(NOTE: Do you have a question for the candidates? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com and it may be asked in a future Q&A or in a debate.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedSTATE REP RACE: Voting Records Show Prinzivalli Voted Only Once Before Launching Candidacy; Campaign DisputesIn “Government”STATE REP RACE Q&A: Judy O’Connell Discusses State Rep Pay, Environmental IssuesIn “Government”STATE REP RACE: Candidate Erika Johnson Discusses Her Campaign For State Rep With ‘Your Tewksbury Today’In “Government”last_img



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