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State Senate Candidates Debate the Issues

The two differ on health care and government spending as well as whether the state government is transparent.

State Sen. James Timilty and challenger Jeff Bailey had their differences, but they kept the discussion civil Thursday night during an election debate at Attleboro High School. A range of topics were featured during the 50-minute session hosted by The Sun Chronicle and the United Regional Chamber of Commerce, including jobs, state spending and government transparency.

Timilty, a Walpole Democrat who has represented the Bristol and Norfolk District (which includes most of Attleboro and several other communities) for eight years, and Bailey, an Attleboro Republican pastor, agreed on some issues. Both said they were against the November ballot measure that would legalize medicinal marijuana and another referendum that would allow physician-assisted suicide. They also opposed the recent federal court decision that called for the state to fund a convicted murderer's sex change operation.

But there were also several differences between the candidates. On the issue of health insurance mandates, Timilty said at times they are needed because some Massachusetts residents would otherwise not receive certain services.

"The insurance companies who are all too willing to take your premiums every month are so unwilling to provide you with a service that you need," Timilty said. "Sometimes, legislatively … you're the one who has to put the mandate on them. You have to fight for that individual who can't."

Bailey said there must to be more choices for the residents, and that some of the mandates are not needed.

"We have to be good stewards over the resources that we have," he said. "And as much as we would like to do everything, we cannot ... allow us to choose more. I don't have a problem with requiring insurance companies to pay for these things, but give us the choice to opt out of that coverage."

Regarding employment in Massachusetts, Bailey said the state could improve on its No. 16 national ranking by being more business friendly. He said Massachusetts has a tendency to overregulate. Timilty looked to government intervention that has been successful, such as a $1 million grant that kept jewelry maker Leach and Garner in Attleboro.

Bailey was critical of Timilty's vote in 2010 approving the $35 million bailout package for the city of Lawrence. He said even if this was a loan, the money would never be returned and there was no guarantee the bailout would help turn around the struggling city.

"State government cannot be run on hope and prayer, it must be run on sound fiscal principles," Bailey said.

Timilty said he voted for the bailout because if the state let Lawrence collapse, the city would go into a receivership and the state would have to take control of it. So, he said, it was matter of either helping or taking ownership of the city.

"We hope that they will somehow get out of the mess that they're in," Timilty said.

On the issue of government transparency, Bailey said he would like Senate committee voting results released to the public. Timility said this might be something he would support, but he did not consider it to be a major issue, especially because the voting results of these meetings are usually not tight.

"Nobody has really said, 'Jimmy, the thing I need the most from Beacon Hill to make the quality of life for my family and my town [better] is those committee votes,'" Timilty said.

The senator called Beacon Hill "a very transparent place." Bailey said the opposite was true.

"All you have to do is watch the Senate on the Internet and you know there is nothing transparent and open," he said. 'You have hundreds of bills that are being bundled and voted on. You've got voice votes everywhere."

Speaking directly to Timilty, he continued, "Your party has fought this kind of transparency and openness for year after year … and I believe it is time for that to change. And I believe we need a senator that is going to bring attention to these things. And I don't feel that you've done that over the eight years you've been there."

Ken B. October 27, 2012 at 01:49 PM
The reason there is no transparency in the MA Senate is the 36 to 4 majority held by the democrat party. Unless there is a semblance of balance with our representation, the corruption and lack of transparency will continue. Vote for Bailey and restore that balance.
Emcee of Seekonk October 27, 2012 at 02:31 PM
"Vote for Bailey and restore that balance." Will do.
Richard W. Lunt October 27, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Jeff Bailey has my vote. We need to restore the balance up on Beacon Hill. It's time to put an end to the culture of corruption and distrust that was created by the Democrats at the State House.
Brian Hutchinson October 28, 2012 at 10:16 AM
You could be more from the truth in that statement. you are out of touch and should move to Texas with this train of thought.
Ken B. October 28, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Brian, Then perhaps you should enlighten us why we should keep the demos firmly in powerin MA ? Let's start with the current house speaker....if he's a demo, then we are vey likely to have four convicted demo house speakers in a row ! Last term, two state senators resigned in disgrace....any guess which party they were from ????....Yep ! demos ! How's the state probation dept hackarama doing these days due to unfettered demo control ? How are things working out at the state crime lab ? It's only going to put hundreds of convicted drug dealers back on the street at a cost of $50 million to monitor them, but you demos love that cause it's a twofer.....that $50 mill goes mostly to your pals for OT, and the criminals are let loose, cause after all, they are victims !!! Then we have the compounding lab in Framingham. Two dozen dead & more likely to die because, because, are you ready for this.....the administration no doubt hired "the best and brightest available" (read: some HACK) to oversee the department that conducted the inspections there. The only "train" here is the one that you're riding on, and it is headed over the cliff.

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