Dear Candidate. Please answer these three questions. Part 2: Busse

On behalf of Acton Forum, I contacted Senator Eldridge and his challenger Margaret Busse and asked them each three questions on topics many voters believe are important. They both agreed, and I thank them for their participation. The questions were carefully worded to avoid introducing bias. There are many more questions that could be asked, but to increase the likelihood of participation, I wanted to keep it brief. However, if this is popular, we can try follow-up questions and ask other candidates using the same format.

Do you support the movement to create Sanctuary Communities or States for illegal immigrants? Why or why not?

I am opposed to the controversial and divisive “Sanctuary State” legislation that was proposed by and advocated for by my opponent over the past year. Ultimately, this legislation did not pass. While most of us can agree that our nation has a broken immigration system, it is a problem that needs to be solved at the federal level, not by attempting to turn our commonwealth into a “sanctuary state,” because this puts at risk the safety of our communities.

The legislation proposed outlined several policies that would tie the hands of law enforcement, the most concerning part being that local law enforcement would not be allowed to collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. While some people may think this is a triumph for immigrant families, in actuality ICE performs many functions that help protect all families – immigrant or otherwise – from harmful substances and criminals entering into our communities. Our local police officers are not conducting raids in our communities for the sole purpose of rounding up residents that do not have documentation. They are more concerned with drug traffickers and other felons that are distributing deadly opioids. Customs agents are a first line of defense against opioids being imported into the country. Without cooperating with local police they cannot possibly fight the barrage of lethal substances coming through our ports, airfields, and highways. In 2017 ICE confiscated 2,383 pounds of fentanyl, enough to produce up to 1.6 billion doses of the drug. Almost 2,000 families in Massachusetts in 2017 alone have suffered loss. We cannot allow more families feel the sting of losing loved ones to addiction and overdose.

Should the minimum wage be changed? If so, what is the legislative process?

The minimum wage in Massachusetts is currently $11 per hour, already one of the highest in the country. Legislation passed this summer in Massachusetts requires that this climb up to $15 per hour over the next few years, which will give our state the distinction of having the highest minimum wage in the country by far.

I along with many others worry about the effect this wage hike will have on the supply of entry-level jobs. A higher minimum wage will inevitably speed the automation of many entry-level jobs (like cashiering and fast food work, for example), eliminating those jobs forever, simply because it is cheaper for machines to do these jobs than humans at this higher minimum wage. Many entry-level jobs that are not easily automated will still disappear as companies will have to get by with fewer workers in order to make ends meet. This is bad news for teenagers and others entering the workforce because these are just the kinds of jobs that provide crucial training opportunities that can put people on the path to sustainable employment.

Furthermore, I worry about the effect on small businesses and independent retail establishments. I’ve talked to many small business owners and independent retailers across our state senate district who are at risk of shutting their doors because their businesses simply cannot absorb the dramatic wage hike, in addition to the other onerous regulations mandated by the state.

Do you support school choice? Explain your position or proposals for improvement.

I support giving parents the ability to choose the school that is best for their child. This kind of choice can take many forms—whether it is like the Acton–Boxborough Regional School District’s system, where parents get to choose where their child goes to elementary school, or the ability to choose to go to another school district, provided there is capacity, or the ability to attend a charter school or a technical/vocational school. Choice empowers parents to have influence over their children’s education and enables students to be at a place in which they can best thrive. However, in implementing any kind of school choice system, policy makers must be sensitive to potential increased transportation and other logistical costs that may be incurred.

Margaret Busse's photo is here: Margaret Busse's campaign website is at:

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