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Meet The State Senate Candidates

The primary is Tuesday, March 4.

Elections 2014. Credit: Patch file graphic.
Elections 2014. Credit: Patch file graphic.

The special election for the Fifth District's state senate seat will be held April 1. But before we can get to that ballot, there will be a primary to narrow down the candidate field Tuesday, March 4. 

To help voters in the district — Reading, Wakefield, Stoneham, Melrose, Winchester, Malden — Patch.com editors asked all of the candidates to submit answers to the following questionnaire.

Editor's note: Candidate Chris Fallon, a current state representative, did not respond to repeated requests for a submission

Your Name: Anthony Guardia 
Party Affiliation: Democrat 
Current Political Office:  Not currently in political office. 
Political and/or Work Experience: 
Currently, I work as the Director of Development at HomeStart, a non-profit dedicated to ending and preventing homelessness.  I'm also a practicing attorney and have represented victims of domestic violence against their abusers as well as families confronting foreclosure.  I was elected to the School Committee in 2006, was re-elected in 2009, and my colleagues elected me to serve as Chair from 2010 to 2011.  As such, I worked for Katherine Clark, and am the only candidate in this race to have endorsed her both in her 2010 State Senate Democratic Primary and in her 2013 Congressional Democratic Primary.  
Top issue facing senate district: 
Jobs for the unemployed and underemployed.  Currently we have two sections of the population struggling.  Young workers who cannot find work and older workers who are approaching retirement and cannot find meaningful work.  To confront these challenges I will advocate that we do the following (1) connect employers and training to the unemployed and underemployed, (2) raise the minimum wage, and (3) expand financing to small businesses. 
Second issue facing senate district: 
A tie - between education funding reform through all levels and senior care.  For education we should (1) implement pre-kindergarten and kindergarten for all students.  A student's educational start should not be a lottery.  (2) We must control and reduce higher education costs.  (3) Make the local aid formula fair, so that communities like Melrose, Stoneham, and Wakefield are no longer short-changed.  For seniors, we must do our best to make sure they can maintain independence.  We do that by (1) creating support programs for caregivers and (2) increasing credits for property tax, utility and heating costs. 

Your Name: Jason Lewis
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Current Political Office: State Representative for the 31st Middlesex District (Stoneham and Winchester)
Political and/or Work Experience: 
I have been honored to serve the families of Stoneham and Winchester as their State Representative since 2008. I have spent my entire time in office dedicated to the cause of making sure our communities are healthier, our schools are stronger and our working families are supported. As the Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health, I co-founded and serve as the House Chair for the legislature’s Prevention for Health Caucus, and last year, led efforts to create a first-in-the-nation Prevention and Wellness Trust, which allots $60 million to community-based public health and wellness programs across the Commonwealth. I also am a leader in the House Progressive caucus and have long been a sponsor of earned sick leave and a supporter of the minimum wage increase.
Prior to entering public service, I worked in the private sector, helping to build two successful software companies. I began my career with McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, and then held a number of senior management roles with RSA Security, a Bedford-based software company that is now part of EMC. After that I was the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Endeca Technologies, a venture capital-backed software company in Cambridge that is now owned by Oracle.
I also currently serve on the Board of Trustees for the Winchester Foundation for Educational Excellence and on the Board of Advisors for South Africa Partners. I previously served on the Winchester Finance Committee and the Winchester Master Plan Steering Committee.
Top issue facing senate district:
Education is my top priority.  It is what drove me to seek elected office in the first place, when my daughters started going to school and there wasn't enough funding to keep the libraries open. The Commonwealth has a responsibility to ensure that all students have access to a high quality public education, including comprehensive universal pre-K, early childhood education, higher education, and adult continuing education. 
So, in the House I am the lead sponsor of legislation to review and update the state education funding formula (Chapter 70) to make it more adequate and equitable for all communities and all students. The formula is outdated and doesn't take in to account changes in education, or their costs, over the last 20 years. I also believe that the state should meet its commitment of providing a minimum level of state funding to K-12 public education, which would immediately increase education funding for communities such as Stoneham and Wakefield.
That's why I am proud to be endorsed in this race by local school committee and former school committee members, as well as the Massachusetts Teachers Association, which represents all of the teachers associations in the 6 cities and towns of the district, 
Second issue facing senate district:
I believe the next biggest issue is fighting for local families, local aid, and local concerns. We need to improve the lives of families in the district by creating jobs and improving the economy. This means investing in our workforce, increasing the minimum wage to at least $11 without cuts to unemployment benefits, and making sure that all employees have paid sick time to take care of themselves and their families. 
So, in the House I am the lead sponsor of the paid sick time legislation, and am a strong advocate for raising the minimum wage. I also have worked to bring local aid back to my communities over the last 5 years, including: securing $5 million in  in federal and state funding to construct the Tri-Community Bikeway & Greenway in Stoneham, Woburn, and Winchester; securing $2.5 million in state funding for flood mitigation projects in Winchester; securing $2 million in federal stimulus funding for accessibility improvements at the Wedgemere Commuter Rail Station; and securing one of the highest reimbursement rates for the new Stoneham middle school. 
I have also worked to improve the lives, not just of my own communities, but the region as a whole. I led the effort to create a first-in-the-nation Prevention and Wellness Trust, which allots $60 million to community-based public health and wellness programs across the Commonwealth, aimed at reducing rates of preventable chronic diseases and lowering health care costs. And I was recognized by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council as “Legislator of the Year” for focusing on smart growth and fostering regional collaboration.
That's why I am so proud to be endorsed by so many organizations and local leaders in this race. Over 35 local elected leaders from across the district are supporting my candidacy, including former Malden City Councilor Greg Lucey, Melrose Alderman Jackie Lavender Bird, Reading Selectman Ben Tafoya, and Stoneham School Committee member Shelly MacNeill. 

Your Name: Monica Medeiros
Party Affiliation: Republican
Current Political Office: Alderman at Large, Melrose
Political and/or Work Experience: 
I have served three terms as a Ward Alderman, and before that as a School Committee Member in Melrose until recently topping the ticket in the Alderman at Large race.
In addition, I was elected last year to be the District 5 Representative of the Massachusetts Municipal Councillors’ Association to represent 13 cities including Malden, Melrose and Boston. By virtue of this position, I sit on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Municipal Association.
In my professional career, I have worked most of the past ten years in home financing and real estate, working directly with individuals seeking to purchase or refinance their homes. I am acutely aware of the effects brought on by a challenged Massachusetts economy and am committed to finding ways to ensure a bright, competitive future for our state.
Top issue facing senate district: 
Our six district communities have a wide range of diverse socio-economic dynamics. Many of our families need support from Beacon Hill. Many of our families and businesses need to be protected from Beacon Hill reaching into their wallets.
As a local elected official, my priorities have been to improve education and maintain affordability in our community while also continuing to provide our residents with the essential services they use every day.
This is the same approach I would take to state government. We must find ways to make sure that we work harder to improve our state government by making it more efficient and streamlined.
In doing so, we will not only improve the delivery of services to those in need, we will also free up more of our tax dollars to come back to our cities and towns where it can be applied directly to improve education, police and fire protection, health services or to otherwise advance our communities as we see fit.
Second issue facing senate district:
We have a lack of adequate local aid being returned to our communities. As a local official, I have seen state budget cycle after state budget cycle with no significant increase to our local aid.
Without sufficient tax dollars being returned to our cities and towns, essential services such as education and public safety may suffer, and we may not adequately complete long-range infrastructure repairs and improvements without having to seek additional property tax hikes or overrides.
I want to advocate for more of our tax dollars to be returned to our communities through unrestricted local aid.
Many interests compete on Beacon Hill, including those of lobbyists and special interest groups. I am my own voice - not tied to a political machine, nor beholden to any special interest groups. I’ve gotten where I am of my own merits and hard work, and if elected as the next State Senator, I will continue to be a fulltime voice representing the people of this district.
On April 1st, I hope you will vote for me to be your fulltime State Senator to ensure Malden, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield and Winchester get the representation they deserve.
Angelo March 04, 2014 at 08:32 PM
18 years for the City of Malden...that was well within the time Malden transformed from proud working class city to a modern day Ellis Island
Bonnie Parker March 04, 2014 at 11:43 PM
Angelo, without tying it to this particular election, your ancestors likely came through Ellis Island, assuming they're legal and not terribly recent. If you knock Ellis Island, you have no respect for or knowledge of what America IS, and you should be ashamed, but I suppose you lack the self-awareness.

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