32nd Middlesex Special Election News: Hutchinson (R) debates Clark (D) in Melrose

I’m sorry to post the entire article but I don’t think the Wakefield Daily Item keeps posts up for long. Clark doesn’t do herself any favors by trying on a “new school” suit. Hutchinson seems like he held his own  — stressing his local ties against the blow-in Clark, a tool of outside the district interests such as labor unions.


State rep. hopefuls

highlight differences in debate

Hutchinson, Clark seek 32nd Middlesex seat

By NICOLE MARTINEZ

MELROSE – Old school versus new school. That was a point reiterated Tuesday as Democrat Katherine Clark and Republican Mark Hutchinson attempted to highlight their differences as they seek the 32nd Middlesex seat in the state House of Representatives.

During a debate at the Roosevelt School, the public was given a chance to hear how each candidate would handle both the simple day-to-day situations and hot button topics while in office.

The 32nd Middlesex district covers all of Melrose and half of Wakefield. The special general election for this position is March 4.

The debate was sponsored by the Melrose League of Women Voters, moderated by League member Anna Bastian and televised on MMTV.

Clark stood by her Democratic roots. She is pro-choice, against the death penalty and supports health care for all state residents. Clark made reference to her 18 years of experience as an attorney and her six years on the Melrose School Committee and also said she felt confident that she would be the best candidate to fill this position.

“The reason I am running for this seat is really for the commitment to these communities,” Clark said. “I feel that Melrose and Wakefield are at a real juncture and in need of real leadership.”

Clark referred to her experience working for the state as the General Counsel for the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services and also in the office of the Attorney General Martha Coakley and feels that these are just a few reasons why she is the right candidate to serve in the House.

“I believe I have the experience necessary to do what needs to be done in Melrose and Wakefield,” she said. “This race isn’t about party, it’s about getting results for this community.”

Hutchinson stood by his hometown roots by making mention of his dedication and commitment to Melrose. Having been born and raised in the city, owning and running a small real estate business in Melrose with his sister, Linda, and having children going through the school system as well, were all points that Hutchinson says makes him knowledgeable enough to get things done in this district.

He is a member of the Melrose Rotary Club, trustee of the Fitch Home, a federal political coordinator for the National Association of Realtors where he acts a liaison between the Realtor association and members of Congress, a Massachusetts Association of Realtors Finance committee member and a trustee for The Bridge of Melrose.

Hutchinson said he does not support abortion (except in extenuating circumstances), supports the death penalty and is opposed to any tax increase proposals. The Republican candidate said if elected he will campaign for more Chapter 70 school funding and attempt to refine the balance of how local aid money from the state is distributed to cities and towns. Hutchinson said the formula used to figure out which community gets what is “convoluted.”

“I am very committed to representing the needs and concerns of all the residents of Melrose and Wakefield,” he said.

While Clark said if elected she would make her position as state rep. her full time job, Hutchinson said he will continue to run his business and have his presence in the community.

“Part of being a state representative is being in the community with the constituents,” he said. “My job allows me on a daily basis to sit down and discuss the needs of the people.”

He continued to say he does believe the job of state representative is a full-time one and will do what he feels is necessary to get the job done.

Both candidates said they would serve a full term if elected (the term runs out in November). They also agreed on certain matters such as supporting Cape Wind, a $900 million renewable energy project proposed by Cape Wind Associates, adding that they both feel investing in alternative energy is important to the state.

They both said they would not support selling state owned or park land and that a proactive approach to bringing casinos to the state is important.

They also agreed that state funding for full day kindergarten is an important issue that needs to be addressed; however, their approach to the topic is very different.

“We are stripping the public out of our public schools,” Clark said. “I would like to see them fully funded.”

Hutchinson rebutted, stating although he believes a solution is necessary, he is not sure if there is a solution at this time.

“We need to determine where we would get the funds,” Hutchinson said. “We need to step back and take a look at some of the initiatives we have started.”

Hutchinson said he feels that as state representative, no matter how he stands personally on a subject, his vote is with the people. Clark said she will stand her ground if she feels her knowledge and experience make a stronger argument than those in the community in “a tough situation.”

Clark continued to reference her experience with the state, while Hutchinson referred to his long term knowledge of the city of Melrose and its residents.

“There is no question that you have the advantage as being a part of the Democratic party,” Hutchinson said after Clark’s reference to his being “a freshman in a minority party,” if elected.

“I am not a party person, I am a Republican and I am a vote for the people. … I will bring a fresh point of view of a local father and a local resident and it’s time we had a fresh point of view.”

Melrose can watch the debate rebroadcast on MMTV. WCAT in Wakefield is expected to show it too.

Looks like Hutchinson is stressing his local ties.

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Left wing libertarian conservative.