AUBURN, Mass. – The Daily Voice asked five questions of each of the candidates running for state office this fall. The following responses are from state Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury), who has held the 2nd Worcester District state senate seat since 2008. The district includes Auburn, Grafton, Leicester, Millbury, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Upton and Worcester.
Moore is running against Republican challenger and Auburn Selectman Steve Simonian.
The Daily Voice: How would you support local business?
Moore: I would do it the same way I’ve done it the last four years in office. I would work with the local Chambers of Commerce, listen to their issues that are negatively impacting their businesses and try to move those initiatives forward for legislation. For example, I did that with the fair share legislation, which removes excessive fines and penalties for businesses that do not provide insurance for employees already covered under another plan. For that, I’ve been recognized by several business groups as an achievement for small businesses this session, and that legislation came from listening to them.
The Daily Voice: How should the state go about creating more jobs?
Moore: We have about 100,000 to 120,000 jobs in manufacturing that can’t be filled because we don’t have the skilled workforce. We got these jobs out there, and we need to be concentrating on filling the demand because if not, then we would see these industries packing up to leave. So I think we’ve done that by looking at our community college system and passing legislation to reintegrate our workforce development programs with our community colleges. People who may have lost their jobs and students graduating high school will have better opportunities to obtain skills that we know is needed for jobs in Massachusetts.
The Daily Voice: With the spread out district, how do you make sure every town gets represented?
Moore: I meet with the town managers on a regular basis. I have constant contact with them. It’s important to keep the communication going. If you look at my four years in office, when it comes to the budget season, I meet with each Board of Selectmen and each School Committee, and I give them a status of the budget. Then they also give me a status of what’s going on in the community. If representatives from the Board of Selectmen or School Committees or towns ever have an issue, they call me, so it’s really important to have that open-door policy.
The Daily Voice: What would be the first issue that you would tackle if elected?
Moore: There were several pieces of legislation that I passed this year in the Senate but didn’t make it through the House. After the election, one of the first things I’ll be doing is reviewing what I had passed in the Senate but not in the House, and I’ll re-evaluate whether I’ll file those again. I’ll also look at sponsoring or co-sponsoring a Meals Tax Holiday, helping stimulate activity for small businesses. I’ll also be setting up meetings to talk with several business groups, finding out their business concerns so I can help address those issues. Also, I want to commission a study to see whether we can lower the sales tax.
The Daily Voice: What do you bring to the table that your opponent doesn’t?
Moore: Accessibility. I am very confident in my record of accessibility at local events and throughout the communities. I’m very confident that you would have more of a chance of seeing me at the local events than my opponent. I’m very accessible, and you can have my cell phone number. And I bring years of experience. I’ve got 26 years in law enforcement with the environmental police and the sheriff’s office, and eight years of experience as a selectman in municipal government plus the four years as a state senator. If you take that compared to my opponent’s two years of experience, I think I bring to the table a vast diversity of government experience.