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October 22, 2018 in Local Government and Civic Engagement

CAPE COD YOUNG PROFESSIONALS 2018 VOTER GUIDE

Know Your Candidates!

As a service to our members and the Cape Cod community at large, CCYP has compiled its first-ever VOTER GUIDE to help voters gain insight on the views and positions of candidates in the 2018 General Election. We invited candidates running for State Senate and State Representative offices serving the Cape & Islands to answer questions about key issues facing young workers on Cape Cod. The candidates' unedited responses are presented below.

Some candidates did not respond to our questionnaire; their names, information, and campaign websites are provided for reference.

Note: as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, CCYP is nonpartisan and does not endorse any candidate or political party. We are providing this information solely for the purposes of voter engagement and education. This guide was compiled with partnership support from the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum and Nexus Werx, LLC.

Why only the State Senate and State Representative races? This is the first time CCYP has provided a Voter Guide or resource of this kind, so we decided to keep it to just these races. We aim to provide more extensive guides and voter information in future elections. Like what you see or have feedback? Let us know!

Where can I learn more? See our Voter Resources section below for other links and info on the 2018 General Election, where to vote, ballot previews, and more.

Ready to dive in? Scroll down for candidate responses by race, or...

DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THE VOTER GUIDE

Voter Resources

MA Voter Information Search. What's my district? Where do I go to vote? What will my ballot look like? Use this easy search engine and arrive at the polls prepared.

Find Your Early Voting Location! Be sure to fit voting into your busy schedule by going to vote early. Early Voting is available Oct. 22 to Nov. 2.

State Ballot Questions. A series of Ballot Questions will appear on all ballots for the Nov. 6 General Election. Read a summary on the State's website, and check out analysis and editorials from local outlets like the Cape Cod Times and Boston Globe (Question 1, Question 2, Question 3).

League of Women Voters Voter Guide. Enter your zip code and preview candidates for each race with this user-friendly click-through guide.

Learn More about Policy and Civic Engagement Opportunities with CCYP. Join the CCYP Public Policy Committee, learn about Town Board/Committee/Commission vacancies, and more.

STATE SENATE GUIDE
Vinnie Demacedo
Vinny deMacedo (R - Incumbent) - Plymouth and Barnstable

1. In your opinion, what are the three (3) most pressing issues facing Cape Cod and the Islands today?

Without a doubt, the opioid crisis is the most serious problem we’re grappling with; it’s affected us all in one painful way or another. That’s why we’re fighting back, why we passed the most aggressive opioid crisis law in the country, and why I sponsored an amendment that makes sure family and friends know when people in substance abuse treatment facilities are being released, so they can help with recovery.

Secondly, while the economy nationally is doing well, we need to do a better job retaining the incredible young talent we already have here, and attracting more. That means bringing our housing and living costs more closely in line with economic reality. Affordable housing and workforce housing have been priorities of mine, and will remain so.

A key roadblock to both economic development and solving the housing problem has been lagging wastewater infrastructure. Lack of wastewater infrastructure has prevented the construction of workforce housing and has discouraged employers from expanding here or larger businesses from relocating here.

2. What is the single biggest opportunity for economic and workforce development on Cape Cod, and how would you leverage it if elected?

The talent we have here now – our friends and neighbors, working across a range of industries – is our biggest asset. But we need to do a better job of offering these workers improved living options. As I mentioned above, we need more, denser workforce housing and wastewater capacity is a key part of that. In “the Airbnb bill” that became law a few months ago, we built in a 2.75 surcharge on short-term rentals to pay for a water protection fund. That money will improve our wastewater infrastructure, unlocking new housing and economic development opportunities – and encourage workers to stay and relocate here. We’ll also continue to keep pushing for additional educational and tax benefits for our veterans and their families. They’re the best in the nation, but we can do better.

3. What is the biggest threat to economic and workforce development on Cape Cod? How would you address it?

Because of Cape Cod’s unique positioning as both a fantastic place to live and a desirable vacation destination, our housing environment has been thrown out of whack. Seasonal buyers – those looking for summer homes – drive up prices for year-round Cape Codders, the people who make our economy work. The affordability gap needs to be addressed through a strategic approach, which includes the expanded wastewater capacity I’ve already discussed. Just this year, we were able to secure a $700,000 state commitment for the Falmouth Housing Trust, which is dedicated to building and maintaining housing for low and moderate income families. I’ve also worked to deliver record Chapter 70 education funding to the district, which takes the pressure off of property taxes to pay for our schools. Another issue we owe to our children and grandchildren to get right is the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant. That’s why I filed a bill last year that would require Entergy, which owns the plant, to pay a $25 million decommissioning fee if they miss their deadlines.

4. If elected, how would you bring our community’s youth, working age young adults, and young families to the table in the regional decision- and policy-making processes, specifically related to future economic and workforce development on Cape Cod?

For starters, we need to do more to partner with organizations like this one. As anyone who has worked with me knows, my door is always open. And one of the things I’ve heard repeatedly from people engaged in the community here is that we need to expand our options for a four-year degree in the area. That would go far in keeping young people engaged. We also need to encourage more young people to run for office. We already have a steady stream of talent at Cape Cod Community College.

One of the few bright spots I see in our current political climate is that people are interested in running for office or otherwise getting involved in the process, and that’s a good thing.

5. Through our Community Needs Survey earlier this year, CCYP found that young workers on Cape Cod continue to face a number of significant barriers to successfully live and work in the region – namely, a lack of housing options, low career growth opportunity, unavailability of child care, and high student loan debt loads. In many cases, these barriers are driving young workers to leave the Cape at alarming rates, compromising our community’s future economic and social viability. What resources or possible solutions would you propose – or advocate for – to help support young workers in these key areas of need?

We need a multi-pronged strategy to pursue additional housing options, and we’ve made a good start, with state investment in boosting the housing stock.

Read More about Vinny deMacedo

Deborah Rudolf
Deborah Rudolf (D) - Plymouth and Barnstable

This candidate did not respond to the CCYP Candidate Questionnaire.

Read More about Deborah Rudolf

Julian Cyr
Julian Cyr (D - Incumbent) - Cape and Islands

1. In your opinion, what are the three (3) most pressing issues facing Cape Cod and the Islands today?

The Cape and Islands need solutions to stem the opioid epidemic, reign in housing costs, and protect our fragile environment.

Like most Cape Codders, the opioid epidemic has touched me personally. The latest state data for the first half of 2018 shows that overdose deaths remain steady; Barnstable County still has the highest rate of individuals struggling with this disease. I am proud to have worked with healthcare providers and local law enforcement across our district on ensuring access to these services. We must continue investing in prevention, intervention, and treatment. This year, I secured $160,000 in resources targeted to stemming the epidemic here on the Cape and Islands. These dollars will expand anti-addiction programs in schools and purchase more NARCAN to reverse overdoses. I also successfully fought for groundbreaking legislation to mandate treatment for opioid users in emergency rooms — a vital intervention to break the cycle of addiction. First responders remain on the front lines of this crisis. I secured $200,000 to train firefighters locally and led the push on Beacon Hill to pass long delayed legislation that provides $10 million annually for municipal police training. Local police chiefs called this the most significant legislative action since 2006; in recognition of my leadership, the Massachusetts Police Association named me their legislator of the year. Still, much more work remains.

As Senator for the Cape and Islands District, our future success depends on who can make a life here. Young people need a chance to raise families in our towns, and old adults deserve to stay in the communities they’ve help to build. Reigning in housing costs for Cape Codders is perhaps the biggest piece of this puzzle. I have been a vocal supporter of incentivizing the development of rental housing available to residents across the income spectrum; establishing tax-free savings accounts for first time homebuyers; expansion of by-right zoning for accessory dwelling units and multi-use districts; and building infrastructure necessary to connect new housing with sewers, regional transportation, and economic hubs. Yes that demands state action in terms of zoning reform, but it also means town-by-town organizing and activism.

The Cape and Islands are uniquely vulnerable to the impact of a changing climate and environmental degradation. In the aftermath of recent Nor’easters that caused widespread damage, I quickly secured millions for climate resiliency — money to rebuild piers, dredge harbors, restore salt marshes that help absorb storm surge, and safeguard our communities through rising seas. We’re also leading the way with the largest off-shore wind farm on the Eastern Seaboard, which when completed will turn Cape Cod into a net exporter of clean renewable energy. Much of our livelihood relies on pristine marine waters. To protect water quality for future generations, Cape Codders face a $4 billion price tag to clean up nitrogen pollution in our embayments and estuaries. I drafted legislation to provide $1 billion in state relief for wastewater projects across the region via a Cape & Islands Water Protection Fund, and got it passed in both chambers; when implemented, it will realize millions of dollars in property tax relief. Environmentalists and business leaders have hailed it as the most significant legislation for the region in a generation.

2. What is the single biggest opportunity for economic and workforce development on Cape Cod, and how would you leverage it if elected?

Reigning in housing costs for workers and healthcare costs for employers is paramount for Cape Cod’s economic and workforce development.

To provide housing options for working Cape Codders, we need more housing units. Yes that can be achieved in part through the housing policies previously discussed (see above response), but we also need to invest in the infracture to realize housing production that fits our needs, specifically wastewater treatment. The proposed Cape & Island Water Protection Fund is arguably the most significant opportunity for housing production on Cape Cod. When implemented, the fund will provide millions of state dollars to invest in wastewater infrastructure in our villages and along our main streets. That means housing production that protects our natural environment but leverages existing downtowns for denser, mixed use development. Additionally I serve on all three joint committees with oversight on housing policy in the Legislature. As zoning reform and housing productions bills move through the Legislature, I already have a seat at the table when it comes to these vital bills.

I want to ensure that health care across the Commonwealth is affordable, accessible, and universal— that’s why I have led on healthcare policy as State Senator. I have heard from employers and employees alike that health insurance costs are a barrier. In my first term, I filed legislation (S. 610) that would require the state to compare our total health care spending with our projected health care spending in the Commonwealth implemented a single payer health care system; if after several years the “Single Payer Benchmark” outperformed our actual health care spending, the state’s Health Policy Commission would be tasked with developing a single payer implementation plan and submitting it to the Legislature. Healthcare costs in the form of insurance premiums paid by employers are increasing; for small businesses on Cape Cod who want to do right by their employees and provide health insurance, these escalating premiums inevitably suppress wages. A meaningful single payer option would allow employers to take dollars otherwise spent on insurance and raise wages, which would mean more dollars in workers pockets. I filed S.610 as an amendment to the Senate’s healthcare cost containment legislation; it was adopted on a bipartisan vote of 35-3.

3. What is the single biggest threat to economic and workforce development on Cape Cod? How would you address it?

If we cannot provide high quality education to Cape and Islands residents, we will not be able to grow our economy and sustain our workforce.

I got my start in political organizing as a high school student when I led a successful student-driven effort to avoid significant budget cuts that would have resulted in the lay-off of 40 staff positions. Standing with educators is important to me and many members of my large extended family are public school teachers. I’ve always believed that a strong education is critical to equipping everyone with the ability to reach their full potential.

Strategic investments in public education – from early education to post-secondary – are vital not only to the success of our students, but also that of our communities. The existing achievement gap we see among some Cape schools reflects the state’s inadequate funding of public education. If we’re going to provide opportunity to the Cape’s most marginalized students and their families, we need the resources to close those gaps. As state senator, I led the effort to secure unprecedented level of reimbursement to public schools for special needs students in this year’s budget. I also secured an additional $5.3 million for the new Cape Cod Technical School, which will translate into significant savings for Cape taxpayers and a fantastic new secondary facility that will help meet our region’s workforce needs.

4. If elected, how would you bring our community’s youth, working age young adults, and young families to the table in the regional decision- and policy-making processes, specifically related to future economic and workforce development on Cape Cod?

I am eager to continue to work with my generation of Cape Codders and people of all ages to solve pressing challenges. As the opioid crisis takes more and more lives every year, it is crucial that we work together on developing solutions that meet people where they’re at in their lives and their recovery. To reign in housing costs, we need to organize town-by-town to make sure the voices of young professionals and their families are heard at Town Meeting. And we need young professionals to advocate for solutions that both preserve our fragile environment and create the housing units we desperately need. As state Senator, I have listened and worked collaboratively across all 20 municipalities I represent — I’ll continue doing just that if I have the honor of being elected to a second term.

5. Through our Community Needs Survey earlier this year, CCYP found that young workers on Cape Cod continue to face a number of significant barriers to successfully live and work in the region – namely, a lack of housing options, low career growth opportunity, unavailability of child care, and high student loan debt loads. In many cases, these barriers are driving young workers to leave the Cape at alarming rates, compromising our community’s future economic and social viability. What resources or possible solutions would you propose – or advocate for – to help support young workers in these key areas of need?

One of the biggest challenges for young professionals on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket is being able to save for a down payment. I am proud to have filed legislation to make it easier for first-time home buyers to save for a single-family home in the Commonwealth. S.1507 allows any individual to open an account with a financial institution and designate the account, in its entirety, as a first-time home buyer savings account. The first time home buyer savings account is tax deductible during each tax year. Displacement is not only an issue in Boston, but impacts communities on the Cape as well. I am a vocal proponent of policies to increase the rights of tenants, allowing rents to stay in houses after the house was foreclosed, and funding for people to stay in their homes. I will continue to make affordable and workforce housing a priority.

Student debt is a burden on most everyone I know who is around my age. It is clear that the system of financing higher-education is not working. We must increase state funding for college students and develop tools so that colleges can keep their doors open without burdening students with increasing debt. I support providing at least two full years of post-secondary education free of charge to all Massachusetts high school graduates through our system of public and community colleges and universities. I believe education — including higher education — is one of the most worthwhile investments we make as a society. I support vocational education and training in the trades for all students, and would support increased investments in these programs.

Childcare workers take care of us as we first enter the world, and in return Massachusetts should ensure we treat their profession with dignity. The $15 minimum wage legislation that we passed in 2018 will help to increase the salary of these workers, but more must be done. In Massachusetts, families pay on average $1,100 for childcare, on par with the median state rent and fully a third of the median household income. We can address these disparities by adopting a universal pre-K model, and moving education into the public domain. I am proud to fight for additional funding for early childhood education programs.

As the Chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business, I advanced legislation S1022 to establish collective bargaining rights for TNC drivers, S1019 related to transparency in employee benefits reporting in private construction, and S1048 to establish a family and medical leave insurance program. I am also proud to have voted to pass H4640 (the so-called Grand Bargain) to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and established paid leave.

Read More about Julian Cyr

John Flores
John Flores (R) - Cape and Islands

This candidate did not respond to the CCYP Candidate Questionnaire.

Read More about John Flores

STATE REPRESENTATIVE GUIDE
Tim Whelan
Timothy Whelan (R - Incumbent) - 1st District Barnstable

1. In your opinion, what are the three (3) most pressing issues facing Cape Cod and the Islands today?

1. The addiction crisis 2. Wastewater 3. Affordable housing

2. What is the single biggest opportunity for economic and workforce development on Cape Cod, and how would you leverage it if elected?

Cape Cod cannot improve our economy until we do two things: increase the stock of workforce housing and solve our wastewater crisis. I am already working on both. My office helped secure $4 mil for the 69 unit Yarmouth Commons project. I am also active in support of ADUs in the municipalities within my district. On the wastewater front, I am very active with Dennis-Harwich-Yarmouth as they pursue a tri-town solution. We’ve secured a $1 mil bond authorization to get the partnership up and running. We are very engaged here.

3. What is the biggest threat to economic and workforce development on Cape Cod? How would you address it?

Remaining in a stasis. We are working to help change the culture of, “I don’t want Cape Cod to change”, to getting people to understand that the status quo isn’t viable. We need to allow and encourage business development, housing development, and recruit year round job creators to the Cape. The current climate doesn’t necessarily encourage that.

4. If elected, how would you bring our community’s youth, working age young adults, and young families to the table in the regional decision- and policy-making processes, specifically related to future economic and workforce development on Cape Cod?

I believe through the relationship I’ve established with CCYP, who would be the lead on this, we guarantee a seat at the table and we are willing to listen and learn. I have two daughters, aged 23 and 25, who live over the bridge because of the dearth of jobs in their career fields here on the Cape. So, I have a little first-hand experience in this, too. The status quo is not viable.

5. Through our Community Needs Survey earlier this year, CCYP found that young workers on Cape Cod continue to face a number of significant barriers to successfully live and work in the region – namely, a lack of housing options, low career growth opportunity, unavailability of child care, and high student loan debt loads. In many cases, these barriers are driving young workers to leave the Cape at alarming rates, compromising our community’s future economic and social viability. What resources or possible solutions would you propose – or advocate for – to help support young workers in these key areas of need?

I believe I have covered a lot here already with regard to wastewater, which is truly the linchpin, affordable housing options, and attracting year round job creators. Child Care continues to be a concern and, through work I’ve done with the Town of Dennis, we have been able to bring CDBG grants to the Town of Dennis, a portion of which help provide child care for lower income families. I will be working with the other Towns in my district to do the same. I am paying my daughters’ student loans so I have that first-hand understanding of the outrageous price of college education. It, too, is unsustainable. I believe that we need to look at the exorbitant salaries of some tenured faculty and college administrations. There is no justification for paying professors hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach one or two courses, or to pay university administrators millions of dollars.

Read More about Timothy Whelan

Steven Leibowitz
Steven Liebowitz (D) - 1st District Barnstable

1. In your opinion, what are the three (3) most pressing issues facing Cape Cod and the Islands today?

  • Continuing to respond to opioid and other addictions.
  • Protecting our fragile environment, especially wastewater where our actions have a direct effect.
  • Encouraging a more robust, sustainable economy through small business growth and the need to close the housing gap.

2. What is the single biggest opportunity for economic and workforce development on Cape Cod, and how would you leverage it if elected?

I am a strong proponent of building out OpenCape to provide state of the art internet access in our communities. This has the potential to both expand entrepreneurial opportunities, but also expand our tourist season, which means millions to the local economy. I know a number of people who take family vacations here, but work remotely, so we should improve that. I would look to economic grants through the state to begin to identify areas where we can get the biggest bang for the dollar as a starting point, as proof of concept.

3. What is the biggest threat to economic and workforce development on Cape Cod? How would you address it?

Housing. We know from the Cape Cod Commission studies that the gap is worsening, especially for workforce housing. I support accessory units by right. I support many of the zoning change reforms being discussed on Beacon Hill now, to give towns better flexibility to create new units. And the state needs to step up and better, if not fully fund the match towns are supposed to get for Community Preservation Act funds that can be used for affordable housing.

4. If elected, how would you bring our community’s youth, working age young adults, and young families to the table in the regional decision- and policy-making processes, specifically related to future economic and workforce development on Cape Cod?

Providing opportunities to engage is key. That means making myself available to groups such as CCYP, high schools, events at CCCC and more. It also means having a state rep who will hold town hall meetings in the district to provide more opportunity to discuss those and other issues affecting us.

5. Through our Community Needs Survey earlier this year, CCYP found that young workers on Cape Cod continue to face a number of significant barriers to successfully live and work in the region – namely, a lack of housing options, low career growth opportunity, unavailability of child care, and high student loan debt loads. In many cases, these barriers are driving young workers to leave the Cape at alarming rates, compromising our community’s future economic and social viability. What resources or possible solutions would you propose – or advocate for – to help support young workers in these key areas of need?

Let me a list a few ideas I have on this.

  • We already have a lot of people here, in my district and all over the Cape, who pay more than 30% of their income on rent. I am proposing that the state tax deduction for people who earn up to 110% of the state median income and are paying more than 30% of their income on rent, will double from $3000 to $6000. For example, someone making $50,000 a year, and their rent is $1250/month, would qualify.
  • Part of the student loan crisis is tied to the diminished support the state provides for public higher ed. As a graduate of UMass, with a daughter there now, I know how much the impact has had. We need to reverse that trend.
  • There is a growing entrepreneurial community on the Cape, I had the pleasure of attending an EForAllCapeCod event that highlighted some of the great ideas people are pursuing to create new opportunities. The more I can provide grants and other funds for these types of endeavors, the better our year round economy will be. And as I mentioned before, I think an OpenCape build out is key for us.
  • I spoke about housing earlier, especially providing accessory dwellings by right.
  • There is a state program that provides child care vouchers for low income residents, I am unsure how much we leverage that, or if it is adequately funded, but I would start there. I would like to see the state take a more aggressive approach at universal pre-K because it is both really good for our children and would in effect, provide relief to some child care issues and costs.
  • I spoke before about having more opportunities to interact with everyone in the community. I want people to feel a part of and take ownership in where we live and how we take care of each other. And I want to hear ideas, politicians do not do enough listening outside the bubble.

Read More on Steven Leibowitz

Will Crocker
Will Crocker (R - Incumbent) - 2nd District Barnstable

This candidate did not respond to the CCYP Candidate Questionnaire.

Read More about Will Crocker

Paul Cusack
Paul Cusack (D) - 2nd District Barnstable

The best way for me to answer the questions you pose is to start with the most immediate pressing issue. And then I will combine question 1, 2, & 3. I see them as completely intertwined.

3 most pressing issues, biggest opportunity, biggest threat.

The most immediate pressing issue right now for the Cape and Islands is the Opioid Crisis. Too many of our neighbors are addicted to opioids, unable to find steady work, and struggle with the rising cost of health care. As a veteran, I have seen many of my colleagues fall victim to this scourge.

As a trained first responder, I understand the need to make sure our emergency services personnel have the proper means at hand to counter this threat. But the real challenge is to turn our attention to the underlying mental health issues with treatment and rehabilitation. And we must hold irresponsible drug makers and negligent doctors accountable.

I believe the two other pressing challenges we face are tied together. They are the environment and the economy. While we talk a lot about our beautiful surroundings, we continue to degrade them as we continue our to focus on what works well for our summer economy. The current system drives housing prices up and creates low wage seasonal jobs. This system leaves little space for those who wish to have year round professional careers and rationally priced housing. We are sending our young people off Cape to find opportunity.

Protecting our natural resources and keeping our water and air clean is not just the right thing to do, or the smart thing to do; it is the path to a rich and nonseasonal economy. We can develop a “blue economy” that capitalizes on our unique geography. This economy will maximize our world-class contributions to the marine sciences by better translating that knowledge into leading-edge private enterprises that generate career opportunities and at the same time provide more working-class jobs, like mine, in our community. I am a shellfisherman in Cotuit. I clean the water and participate in the development of a blue economy every day.

4. If elected, how would you bring our community’s youth, working age young adults, and young families to the table in the regional decision- and policy-making processes, specifically related to future economic and workforce development on Cape Cod?

No plan for building a sustainable Cape economy will be viable if all stakeholders are not at the table when policy makers discuss the possibilities. This goes for every age group, ethnicity, and station in life. Residents of the Cape must elect leaders at all levels who pledge to do this. And leaders must be held accountable when they do not keep this pledge. This principle is at the very base of my view of good governance.

The mechanics of insuring maximum participation are well known. For example, hearings, meetings, and conversations must be held at a variety of times in a variety of locations and well advertised to the entire community.

5. Through our Community Needs Survey earlier this year, CCYP found that young workers on Cape Cod continue to face a number of significant barriers to successfully live and work in the region – namely, a lack of housing options, low career growth opportunity, unavailability of child care, and high student loan debt loads. In many cases, these barriers are driving young workers to leave the Cape at alarming rates, compromising our community’s future economic and social viability. What resources or possible solutions would you propose – or advocate for – to help support young workers in these key areas of need?

As a result of our seasonal economy Cape housing prices are 10 percent above the state average and salaries are 10 percent below the state average. This has forced an exodus of young workers and families. I believe that taking the path to a nonseasonal and blue economy can change this. Housing and employment opportunities must grow simultaneously. Government policy can have a major influence on bringing this about.

I will be a strong advocate for reworking the Cape economy to one that looks forward to including everyone in the rewards that are possible. This is not a binary choice. We do not need to destroy the opportunities for those who come for the summer season. We do need to add an aggressive program to develop year round opportunities.

Read More about Paul Cusack

David Vieira
David Vieira (R - Incumbent) - 3rd District Barnstable - UNOPPOSED

This candidate did not respond to the CCYP Candidate Questionnaire.

Read More about David Vieira


Rep Peake
Sarah Peake (D - Incumbent) - 4th District Barnstable - UNOPPOSED

This candidate did not respond to the CCYP Candidate Questionnaire.

Read More about Sarah Peake

Randy Hunt
Randy Hunt (R - Incumbent) - 5th District Barnstable

1. In your opinion, what are the three (3) most pressing issues facing Cape Cod and the Islands today?

Clean water, housing, bridges. The Cape & Islands delegation of state legislators has been united on bringing resources to play in our $4 billion infrastructure project to deal with wastewater. We estimate that the surcharge on rooms taxes proposed by the delegation with reduce the burden on local property owners by $1 billion. Governor Baker's Housing Choice bill got waylaid at the end of the legislative session but I'm confident that it will pass with zoning modifications to make more affordable housing available on Cape Cod and across the state. With the Army Corps of Engineers' report due in May to recommend replacing the two automobile bridges, it will be the starting gun to a $1 billion project paid for by both Federal and Massachusetts dollars. The failure of either of these bridges would spell disaster for the Cape's economy.

2. What is the single biggest opportunity for economic and workforce development on Cape Cod, and how would you leverage it if elected?

With adequate infrastructure mentioned in question 1 above along with a state-of-the-art high speed fiber optic and 5G internet connection, there are huge opportunities for back office operations, engineering, visual media, “Blue economy” and many other businesses to expand here. This is not a place to manufacture things, given restrictions of our highways and access to our area, but in the world of data, the sky’s the limit.

3. What is the biggest threat to economic and workforce development on Cape Cod? How would you address it?

See question 1 above.

4. If elected, how would you bring our community’s youth, working age young adults, and young families to the table in the regional decision- and policy-making processes, specifically related to future economic and workforce development on Cape Cod?

We have great opportunities for youth and working aged people to collaborate now. The CCYP is just one example. The Baker administration has regularly provided workshops both here and on the South Coast to bring people and ideas together and they are putting their investment money into our area. We need people to know that things are happening and that they will continue to happen as more of us engage.

5. Through our Community Needs Survey earlier this year, CCYP found that young workers on Cape Cod continue to face a number of significant barriers to successfully live and work in the region – namely, a lack of housing options, low career growth opportunity, unavailability of child care, and high student loan debt loads. In many cases, these barriers are driving young workers to leave the Cape at alarming rates, compromising our community’s future economic and social viability. What resources or possible solutions would you propose – or advocate for – to help support young workers in these key areas of need?

See question 1. With respect to child care, our office is working with the YMCA to understand what resources are necessary to provide more and less costly child care to the Cape. This collaborative work may well result in a budget request or legislation that would redirect some state money to alleviate this critical problem for young working parents. On the issue of student loan debt, I will again support legislation to allow employers to contribute to employees’ student loan debt paydown without generating taxable income for the employee and providing a deduction for the employer. It would work essentially the same way as a 401(k) Plan, except that the funding would go to paying off student loans.

Read More about Randy Hunt

Jack Stanton
Jack Stanton (D) - 5th District Barnstable
  1. In your opinion, what are the three (3) most pressing issues facing Cape Cod and the Islands today?
  • Environment and climate change: not only does the IPCC report show the existential nature of the issue of climate change (especially in coastal areas), but the Cape’s economic health is uniquely tied to the Blue Economy. Further, the wastewater issue on Cape is an immediate concern, especially considering the costs involved and the potential havoc which could come from not addressing this problem in the short to medium term.
  • Education: one of the primary reasons that young families moved to the Cape and stayed in the past was the excellent school system. Due to the nature of the Chapter 70 funding formula, the Cape’s schools are shortchanged compared to the rest of the state.
  • Transportation: as long as the preponderance of high-paying jobs are being created in Boston, Cape commuters deserve a public transit system that can get them there with minimal stress. The tracks already exist in Buzzards Bay for regional train travel to Boston, and considering that other communities of greater distance have regional rail to Boston, I believe that the Cape also deserves this opportunity. Additionally, the federal replacement of the canal bridges is an enormous issue. The Cape relies on two roads in and out, and beyond the traffic that everyone hates, it presents a legitimate public safety concern in the event of a natural disaster that requires evacuation.

2. What is the single biggest opportunity for economic and workforce development on Cape Cod, and how would you leverage it if elected?

The Blue Economy is the single greatest opportunity for Cape Cod. While environmental concerns are certainly our greatest challenge, the infrastructural and economic changes that will need to occur in order to make the Cape habitable 50 to 100 years from now also give us a unique opportunity to remake our local economy. From ideas ranging from a pivot to green power--controlled and regulated by local public utilities with public accountability and public profits--to an emphasis on aquaculture and sustainable fisheries, the necessary changes to account for climate change also mean necessary jobs. To leverage this, I’d seek state aid in paying for green tech education and infrastructure. As well, the unique environment of the Cape, and the amazing windpower offshore, would be a boon to attracting investment from off Cape. As a legislator, I’d be committed to attracting as many wind, solar, and tidal power projects--and jobs--as I possibly can. Further, with OpenCape as a backbone I would seek funding to have this expanded to Cape households. High speed broadband would enable tech firms and those who wish to work from home to be able to locate to the Cape which already boasts a fantastic quality of life. Models of municipal broadband in Chattanooga, TN provide a great example of this.

3. What is the biggest threat to economic and workforce development on Cape Cod? How would you address it?

The greatest threat to economic and workforce development is the high cost of living, including housing, that deters many young people from making their home on Cape. Addressing this issue as a State level politician is difficult, considering local zoning ordinances, but this is an issue where state aid and political advocacy would be my role. I can’t force Sandwich, for example, to relax density (or lack thereof) preferences, but I can use the bully pulpit and state aid to nudge them in the correct direction. In addition, the environment is always a major concern for continued economic health on Cape (i.e. “what happens to the fishing industry when there’s no more fish?”), but the environment touches all other issues at the moment.

4. If elected, how would you bring our community’s youth, working age young adults, and young families to the table in the regional decision- and policy-making processes, specifically related to future economic and workforce development on Cape Cod?

My belief is that the role of a legislator is twofold: representation first and advocacy second. I believe that I’m an excellent listener and a natural mediator, so the first and most simple thing I’d do to bring youth, young adults, and young families together in the policy making process is listen to them. To be a representative is, first and foremost, to be a listener.

5. Through our Community Needs Survey earlier this year, CCYP found that young workers on Cape Cod continue to face a number of significant barriers to successfully live and work in the region – namely, a lack of housing options, low career growth opportunity, unavailability of child care, and high student loan debt loads. In many cases, these barriers are driving young workers to leave the Cape at alarming rates, compromising our community’s future economic and social viability. What resources or possible solutions would you propose – or advocate for – to help support young workers in these key areas of need?

In terms of the portfolio of the State Representative, my role in relaxing local restrictions against high-density housing developments is a role of pressure and advocacy. I cannot directly force the local municipalities to increase the amount of housing, but I can provide the carrot of state aid and the stick of using the bully pulpit to try and drum out the local politicians who care more about their backyards than the people they pay to cut them. With respect to career growth opportunity, regional rail to Boston and a pivot to a green energy economy are my centerpiece jobs plans. The jobs in Boston are the jobs where one can currently make a career and it must be easier to commute there; the green energy pivot that we need will also necessitate new jobs. Open Cape presents huge opportunities for telecommuting and a potential catalyst for firms to relocate to the Cape. Regarding student loan debt, one important piece of my platform includes debt-free college in state. No one should go into debt getting a degree that the market says that we need in order to have a career and no one should be paying the equivalent of a mortgage for the right of a public education. Finally, addressing child care, I believe in universal Pre-K. As long as it takes two incomes to afford to raise a family, it is the duty of the government to ensure that our children have a safe place to learn and socialize.

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Dylan Fernandes
Dylan Fernandes (D - Incumbent) - Barnstable, Dukes, Nantucket - UNOPPOSED

1. In your opinion, what are the three (3) most pressing issues facing Cape Cod and the Islands today?

Opioid epidemic, affordable housing, environmental stewardship including addressing sea level rise.

2. What is the single biggest opportunity for economic and workforce development on Cape Cod, and how would you leverage it if elected?

A) Our ocean economy, the tourism it attracts, the livelihoods it sustains from fishing to our world renowned scientific institutions. B) Continue to support water quality efforts including a Cape and Islands Water Quality Fund, continue to fight for tourism funding, and protect and promote our shellfishing industry.

3. What is the biggest threat to economic and workforce development on Cape Cod? How would you address it?

Lack of affordable housing. Local option of a transfer fee of up to 2% on home sales over $1 million dollars to fund an affordable housing bank.

4. If elected, how would you bring our community’s youth, working age young adults, and young families to the table in the regional decision- and policy-making processes, specifically related to future economic and workforce development on Cape Cod?

On my campaign, I got many young people involved in the political process and we have sustained that involvement as many have continued to be a voice in local politics. I think that local municipal boards should attract young people to join. On the state level, we are working to create a Millennial Caucus to engage young people on the C&I and statewide on the issues impacting our generation.

5. Through our Community Needs Survey earlier this year, CCYP found that young workers on Cape Cod continue to face a number of significant barriers to successfully live and work in the region – namely, a lack of housing options, low career growth opportunity, unavailability of child care, and high student loan debt loads. In many cases, these barriers are driving young workers to leave the Cape at alarming rates, compromising our community’s future economic and social viability. What resources or possible solutions would you propose – or advocate for – to help support young workers in these key areas of need?

A) Housing - I filed a first time homebuyers savings account bill to help first time buyers save up for the important down payment B) Childcare - I support universal pre-K and will continue to advocate for it C) Career growth - Sen. deMacedo and I secured 80K in the budget for high speed internet in downtown Falmouth, we need to ensure the entire C&I have access to high speed internet and treat it like a public utility so that entrepreneurs can create start-ups and those working at large companies based off Cape can work from the C&I. D) Student loans - I cosponsored the student borrowers bill of rights in the House and I support free community college. To pay for that, we need to change our income tax from a fixed income tax to a progressive one.

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