Martha’s Vineyard voters go to the polls Thursday, September 6. Registered independents (unenrolled), may vote in the primary election but must request only one party’s ballot. Registered Democrats and Republicans may request only their party’s ballot.
The primary contests attracting the most attention are between the challengers for a spot on the November election ballot in the new 9th Congressional District.
William Richard Keating of Bourne faces off against C. Samuel Sutter of Fall River for a spot on the Democratic ballot. On the Republican side of the ledger, the contest is between Adam G. Chaprales of Barnstable and Christopher Sheldon of Plymouth.
Legislators created the 9th District after Massachusetts lost one of its 10 congressional seats because of reapportionment. The new district includes the Cape and Islands, some of the South Shore, New Bedford, and portions of Fall River.
Mr. Keating, a former state legislator and Norfolk district attorney, lost his Quincy power base when the 10th district disappeared. He moved his residence to Monument Beach in order to remain in the newly 9th district (billkeating.org).
C. Samuel Sutter, a former professional tennis player, lawyer, and assistant D.A., was elected District Attorney of Bristol County in November 2006 (samsutter.com).
Adam G. Chaprales, elected to the Sandwich board of selectman in 2005 at age 21, where he served one term, is a partner at New York Life Co. in Hyannis (adamforcongress.com).
Christopher Sheldon spent his entire professional career in the private sector with over 14 years of experience in the financial services, consumer goods, and management consulting industries, according to his website electsheldon.com.
The Times asked each candidate to respond briefly to the following three questions.
1. Plans are moving ahead for the development of inshore and offshore industrial commercial wind farms bracketing Martha’s Vineyard. These heavily subsidized plants will raise the cost of electricity for local consumers. Please comment on state and federal efforts to support the development of wind farms.
Mr. Keating: As the first of its kind, Cape Wind will allow Massachusetts to be at the fore-front of off-shore wind technology as the rest of the East Coast develops their own wind farms. It will not only provide New England with an alternate energy source, but will boost tourism and create jobs throughout the Cape and Islands as other developers up and down the coast use our technology and our staging areas.
It’s also important to note that wind power and other alternative energy sources are necessary to reduce our country’s dependence on fossil fuels. Increased importation of oil is directly increasing our deficit and linking our economic recovery to our consumption of foreign oil. Decreasing our consumption of fossil fuels is not only smart economically, but it is critical if we are to boost our national security and once again demonstrate global leadership.
Mr. Sutter: With respect to the development of inshore wind farms, I believe the decision-making on the siting should be left to the individual communities. I believe we need to move forward with more inshore wind turbines, but they should not be forced on communities that do not want them.
With respect to offshore wind farms, I am excited about the potential of the designated area, approximately 12 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. This 110 square mile area has tremendous potential to further the growth of renewable energy. But, I am concerned about the cost of the electricity that some observers say will exist with the Cape Wind project. I hope that the dire predictions prove to be incorrect. And as the Congressman, I will make an aggressive effort to work to keep the costs down.
Mr. Sheldon: My issue with the current wind farm proposals is that they are dependent on tax payer subsidies and uncompetitive power purchase agreements, which lead to higher taxes and higher utility rates. Essentially, the government is trying to pick winners and losers in the energy market, which, as we’ve seen in the case of Solyndra, Evergreen Solar and others, is the exact opposite of certainty and stability. Sooner or later the tax breaks and subsidies run out, and it will be our local businesses and consumers left holding the bag.
We should continue to support research and development in renewable energy, but we should let the free market, and not the government, decide which sources of energy make the most sense for our economy.
Mr. Chaprales: Although I strongly support the increased production and use of alternative energy in the United States, I oppose the Cape Wind project. It’s clear to me that the benefits from its construction would be greatly overshadowed by the environmental and economic harm the project would create. The people of Massachusetts deserve better.
2. Martha’s Vineyard is home to a large number of illegal immigrants. Please name a policy you would support that addresses one aspect of the immigration issue (courts, licenses, education, insurance).
Mr. Keating: Immigration reform on the federal level is a long-stalled necessity in our country. Only comprehensive reform will address the “brain-drain” issue that stems from workers trained in the US taking their skills elsewhere, as well as provide an exit plan for those who are not in this country legally.
I have consistently voted in favor of leaving immigration issues out of states’ hands. Further, I have supported Governor Patrick’s decision to continue the Commonwealth’s participation in the Secure Communities Program, which matches criminal records for those arrested on charges of illegal activity with the suspect’s immigration status.
Mr. Sutter: I believe that there should be a path to permanent residency for law-abiding adults who came here as children, and in many cases have served in our military forces or graduated from college.
Mr. Sheldon: Employers that hire illegal immigrants hurt our economy in two ways. First, they provide the incentives that lure illegals into our country and who ultimately burden our local resources (benefits, education, etc.). And second, they make it harder for those businesses operating legally to effectively compete for work and turn a profit.
While I believe that penalties against these employers should be stiff, we also need to make sure our local, state and federal law enforcement agencies – as well as our local employers – have the resources they need to validate legal citizenship and enforce the existing illegal employment laws.
Mr. Chaprales: I soundly oppose illegal immigration.First, we need to treat illegal immigration for what it is – breaking the law – and we need to crack down on those who come here illegally and on those who facilitate their transit. That includes doing a better job of screening potential employees for immigration violations, and punishing employers who hire illegal immigrants. I also support the Secure Communities program as a better way of protecting our streets.
We need to secure our borders by increasing the funding available for our border patrol. And, I believe we need to create incentive for legal immigration by creating a more streamlined path to citizenship for people who come to this country legally and who pursue citizenship according to the law.
3. Please name one policy you would support to address the nation’s deficit.
Mr. Keating: Cutting wasteful programs, such as subsidies for Big Oil, would be one way to immediately address the nation’s deficit. By continuing to give subsidies to Big Oil, we are giving tax credits to some of the most profitable companies in the world who directly determine the high prices at the pump.
Ending tax subsidies for oil companies would save the country over $43 billion over the next ten years. I am proud that the first amendment I introduced in Congress was aimed at ending these subsidies.
Mr. Sutter: I would cut military spending by five percent and increase tax rates for the wealthiest Americans.
Mr. Sheldon: Getting our economy back on track is the single best way we can help reduce our nations soaring deficit and crushing debt. We must institute a number of pro-growth policies that will bring fiscal, tax, and regulatory certainty to our economy.
To that end, meaningful tax reform that includes eliminating special interest loopholes and deductions, lowering marginal rates and reducing the overall number of tax brackets will broaden our tax base, bring some much needed efficiency to our economy, and increase overall tax revenue. In addition, I propose that corporate marginal tax rates be reduced for all businesses, and completely eliminated for our small and medium sized businesses as well as newly formed companies.
Mr. Chaprales: One of the first things we need to do to help reduce our national debt is to spend less — that means reducing the size of the federal government and freeing up resources that could be used to pay down our debt.
We also need a balanced budget amendment. Our families work hard to balance their household budgets, and our leaders in Congress should take the same approach.
There is also a primary contest on the Democratic ballot for Governor’s Councillor, First District.
The First District includes Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket, and Plymouth counties. The Massachusetts Governor’s Council is composed of eight individuals and acts on issues that include criminal pardons and commutations, and approval of judicial appointments.
The Democratic ballot includes incumbent Oliver P. Cipollini Jr. of Barnstable, Walter D. Moniz of New Bedford, and Nicholas D. Bernier of Swansea.
Polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm in the following locations: Aquinnah old town hall, Chilmark Community Center, West Tisbury Public Safety Building, Tisbury American Legion Hall, Oak Bluffs Public library meeting room, and the Edgartown Town Hall meeting room.