Senator Robert O'Leary faces Barnstable challenger
Incumbent Senator Robert O'Leary, a Democrat from Barnstable, faces a challenge from Barnstable attorney Ricardo M. Barros, a Republican. The Times asked each candidate to respond to the following three questions by answering yes or no and limit follow-up remarks to no more than 50 words.
1. Do you support in-state tuition for illegal aliens?
2. Are you a yes or a no vote for Question 1?
2. Why should Vineyarders vote for you?
Senator Robert O'Leary
1. No. I do not support in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. However, I find it troubling that the only question on public higher education involves a hot-button issue associated with a few hundred students. I think the more important questions are: What is the quality of education at our public universities and colleges, and will my children be able to afford the tuition? I led a successful effort in the Senate to reform public higher education, promoting quality and affordability.
2. Yes. I support the sale of wine in grocery stores, and last year led the effort to allow for direct sale of wine over the Internet. I think competition is good and will likely lead to lower prices. I also like the local option provision that is contained in the question.
3. It has been a privilege to represent the Vineyard in the Massachusetts Legislature. I've worked hard on a variety of issues that I know are important to many of you.
This past year we passed a universal health-care bill that should provide reasonably priced health insurance to 90-95 percent of Islanders. Given the large number of uninsured this was important legislation for the Vineyard.
I authored an Ocean Management Bill which passed in the Senate and awaits action in the House. It requires comprehensive planning in our coastal waters before state agencies are allowed to issue permits. Given the growing developmental pressures in our coastal waters and their significance for the Vineyard, this legislation needs to become law.
I pushed hard for more local aid, school aid, and regional transportation aid, all of which are important to the Vineyard towns.
I led a successful effort in the Senate to pass the Vineyard's Housing Bank bill, which will help address the affordable housing problem.
Finally, I led the effort to reform public higher education in Massachusetts an important initiative for all of us and for all our children.
Ricardo M. Barros.
Ricardo M. Barros
1. No. I believe that this gives a benefit to someone that is not here legally and has not paid into the system. We would place them above a citizen from another state who has to pay full price. In addition it would encourage further illegal immigrants into our state.
2. No. I believe that the proposed law will not be good for our young kids and teenagers who will gain easier access to beer and wine. This will lead to increased alcohol abuse, drinking and driving amongst underage drinkers.
3. Vineyarders should vote for me because I will be a strong, independent voice for them on Beacon Hill. I pledge not to raise their taxes or take money from lobbyists, PAC's and special Interests. I will fight for education funding fairness, affordable housing, and real reform competition and oversight on home owners/auto insurance.