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Q & A: Stoughton's State Senator Brian A. Joyce

Running unopposed in this election cycle, State Sen. Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton) answered questions reviewing the legislature's last session, previewing the next session, and giving his thoughts on Stoughton's most pressing issues.

Editor's Note: Stoughton is represented at the State House by Rep. Louis Kafka, a Stoughton Democrat (precincts 2, 3, 4 and 6) and Rep. William Galvin, a Canton Democrat (precincts 1, 5, 7 and 8) in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and by Sen. Brian A. Joyce, a Milton Democrat (all precincts) in the State Senate.

Where all three running unopposed in the Nov. 6 election, each is set to be reelected to another two-year term. Stoughton Patch sent Reps. Kafka and Galvin and Sen. Joyce a brief questionnaire; their responses are below.

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State Senator Brian A. Joyce

Background:

Massachusetts State Senator representing the towns of Avon, Braintree, Canton, Easton, East Bridgewater, Milton, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton, and West Bridgewater. Chair of the Senate Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Financial Services, Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, Member of the Senate and Joint Committees on Ways and Means, and member of the Joint Committees on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies; Elder Affairs; and Transportation. Managing partner, Joyce Law Group in Canton. Married to Mary, four sons, Jake, Mike, Jimmy and Andrew, and one daughter, Maggie.

I can be reached by email at Brian.A.Joyce@masenate.gov or by telephone at (617) 722-1643. My website address is www.brianajoyce.com, and I’m on Facebook and on Twitter @brianajoyce.

Q: Why did you choose to run for reelection?  

A: I love my job and work very hard at it, and consider it a great privilege to work for the 170,000 people in my district in the Massachusetts Senate. It’s a job where every day I have an opportunity to help people, and to make a discernible difference in the lives of lots of Massachusetts families.

Q: Much has been written about the lack of competition in legislative races statewide. You are running unopposed. To what would you attribute this lack of competition? Voter satisfaction? Apathy? A feeling it is too difficult and costly to defeat a long-serving incumbent?  

A: I recognize how fortunate I am to serve in the Senate, and work very hard and get results for the taxpayers I serve. Whether it’s getting state funding for local schools, helping to revitalize local business districts and create jobs, or responding to constituents’ telephone calls and emails promptly, I take my responsibilities very seriously. So, I’d like to think it’s voter satisfaction, but I’ve had a number of spirited campaigns including just two years ago. I was pleased to carry 98 out of 100 precincts in my last two races, and over the next two years, I’ll work just as hard to retain the voters’ support.  

Q: What do you feel is the legislature's biggest accomplishment(s) in the past session? What do you feel was your biggest accomplishment as an individual legislator?

A: The last two years were among the most productive in recent history. We passed a groundbreaking health care cost containment bill, as well as legislation related to economic development and job creation, long term care insurance, casino gambling, three strikes and you’re out habitual offender legislation, a foreclosure prevention measure, and a transportation bond bill. We again passed a balanced budget with no tax increases or budget cuts and maintained a healthy rainy day fund. The budget gap was the lowest we’ve had to meet in years and is proof of our climb out of the recession, so I’m happy that the job market and economy are rebounding, even if there is more work left.

Making Massachusetts the first state in the nation to pass comprehensive health care cost reform would be the most significant of the above. In 2006, our state led the nation in providing health care to all residents, but reining in the escalating costs of health care that were so severely impacting state and local governments, small businesses, and families throughout Massachusetts was an even greater challenge. The bill we passed that I was involved with as vice chair of the Health Care Financing Committee will save an estimated $200 billion over the next 15 years without compromising the quality of care residents receive.

I am also happy with the work I contributed to the Jobs Bill. The multifaceted bill gives businesses advanced resources to continue to grow, innovate and compete in the worldwide economy by playing to our state’s strengths in the fields of research, innovation and development. One initiative that I added that would cost no tax dollars, improve our environment, and create over 10,000 jobs in Massachusetts by providing low interest funding for commercial and industrial property owners to reduce energy expenses, passed the Senate, but did not get enacted into law. It will be my top priority in the upcoming session.  

Q: What are some of the goals you hope the legislature can achieve this upcoming session?

A: In addition to the $1 billion energy efficiency bond issue that I referenced earlier, which will help improve our environment and create over 10,000 jobs, I’m hopeful that we can successfully address the significant challenge of transportation funding reform, which should include getting the MBTA on sound financial footing and addressing the billions of dollars’ worth of transportation infrastructure improvements necessary to keep our economy moving forward. While our unemployment rate is almost 2 percent lower than the national average, these and other measures will continue our focus on fostering a business environment that promotes job growth.

Q: Heading into this next legislative session, what are some of the biggest issues Stoughton faces (specific to the town) and what can Stoughton's State House delegation on Beacon Hill do to help? 

A: One of the more immediate issues the town is facing is how best to use the Stoughton Train Station. Representatives Kafka, Galvin and I were able to get the MBTA to hold off on the private sale of the station and offer it to the town first. Town officials have decided to acquire the station on the favorable terms that we were able to obtain, and now I want to help ensure this property helps in a revitalization of the downtown business district.  

We’re also working with town officials to ensure traffic and pedestrian safety in the Hansen Elementary School area and throughout the town, so as to avoid as much as possible any further tragedies such as the Lutz family experienced in September.

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