Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

October 30, 2012

MORE ON ELECTION: Letters submitted after deadline for Oct. 25 paper

The Andover Townsman

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The following letters about candidates on the Nov. 6 ballot were not submitted before deadline for the Oct. 25 Townsman:

Lyons' hard work delivered local aid

Editor, Townsman:

Our representative,
 Jim Lyons, has delivered on his promise to advocate for local aid. 
Thanks to his hard work, we have seen the local aid fund increase
by 7 percent. Prior to his election in 2010, the Beacon Hill
powerbrokers had been slashing the local aid budget in order to fund
their political priorities, such as patronage hiring and bailouts for
Lawrence City Hall.

Lyons is a
strong voice for local aid funding because he understands that our
most important services are provided through our local communities,
not through the bloated Beacon Hill bureaucracy. When we experience
a health or safety emergency, we depend on our fire and police
departments. When we are concerned about traffic or roads, we call
our local public works department. When we have young children, we
want them to receive a superior education through outstanding
teachers in our local school system. All of these vital services
benefit tremendously when Lyons fights for a greater share of
local aid from our precious tax dollars. 

Lyons knows
that the services that matter most to us are our local services. 
When we need help, we don’t call the Beacon Hill powerbrokers; we
call workers in our local community. That is why he promises to
remain a tireless voice for local aid for our communities. It’s
just one of the many reason we are supporting Jim Lyons for

Judy and Tom Norton

5 Sparta Way

L'Italien is true advocate for local aid; Lyons voted against budget

Editor, Townsman:

A lot of times we hear from candidates who want to "increase local aid.” In our local race for state representative, Jim Lyons' actions on Beacon Hill don't back up the claims he makes to his constituents back home.

Last week Lyons and his opponent, Barbara L'Italien, met for a debate at Memorial Hall Library. Several times during their exchange, Lyons made the claim that he supports increasing local aid. However, as L'Italien pointed out multiple times, Lyons’ record does not support this claim.

As our state representative for the past two years, Lyons was the only state representative - Democrat or Republican - to vote against a state budget that actually increased local aid to our cities and towns. As L'Italien pointed out, Lyons filed an amendment to eliminate millions of dollars providing school-based health services. The elimination of these services would dramatically reduce certain programs at our public schools, including those that provide our school nurses.

Lyons tried to defend his attempt to eliminate these line items because he disagreed with the way some of the other monies in the budget were being used, yet offered little detail. L'Italien accurately challenged Lyons and said that it is not logical to take a sledgehammer to items in the budget that have nothing to do with what you are protesting. Lyons's narrow agenda does not line up with the priorities of our community.

Lyons has spent two years telling us he supports local aid, but his record suggests that he doesn't understand how programs benefit Merrimack Valley towns. That Lyons would go further and target critical programs for our children in pursuit of his ideological agenda shows he is incapable of truly improving the efficiency of government. Lyons's priorities seem to me to be misguided. We need to elect a candidate who understands what it means to truly advocate for Merrimack Valley communities, and that would be Barbara L’Italien.

Thyra Sherman

25 Wethersfield Drive

Finegold can make tough decisions, stand up for town

Editor, Townsman:

We are enthusiastically
writing today in support of Barry
Finegold’s bid for re-election to the state senate. He has been a driving force serving the Merrimack Valley for
many years, first as our state representative, and secondly and most
recently, as our state senator.

We have seen Senator Finegold work
for all his constituents and we have been impressed with his
diligence, honesty and enthusiasm. In particular Andover has
benefited as Finegold has pushed to try to restore funding
levels to our town that have been lost over the past few years,
particularly in the area of education. He has been an advocate for
growth in all the communities he represents by encouraging business
development through out of the box thinking. Finegold is not afraid to
make the hard choices when it is necessary even if it might not
always be the most popular decision. 

We have watched Finegold over the course of his political career, both on a local and
state level, stand up for what he believes is right. Most recently we
have had the pleasure of working with him as we push forward with
the Andover Youth Foundation’s initiative to build a youth center
in town. A dream long in the making, Finegold was an
integral part of our campaign last year as we brought this initiative
to a vote at the Special Town Meeting. He helped us build bridges
with local officials as we sought out a partnership and worked
towards building a collaborative relationship with the town

This was not the first time he has
stood up for the youth in our community. As a state representative, he helped Andover Youth Services
and the Andover Youth Foundation secure a three-year grant which
helped us to continue to offer and to grow programs for the young
people of Andover even though the town budget was tight.

Finegold continues to work tirelessly as our partner as we take the
final steps towards a spring 2013 groundbreaking for the Cormier
Youth Center.

Andover needs a state
senator who can make the tough decisions, stand up for his
constituents and handle challenging scenarios. We need someone with
the experience and skills who will continue to work for education,
our young people and our senior citizens. We need someone who
believes that we can move forward even in tough times. We need to
re-elect Barry Finegold as our state senator.

Diane Costagliola,
Belknap Drive

Andrea Zaimes, William

Lyons fights Beacon Hill tax bosses, works for working families

Editor, Townsman:

I am writing to ask voters in the 18th Essex District to cast their vote for Jim Lyons.

Lyons is a fellow parishioner and has been a friend to our family for many years. He is a great father and husband. He is intelligent, honest, extremely capable, and genuinely humble. Lyons always seeks to do the right thing: help the needy; right the wrong; and bring common sense solutions to our state economy.

As a small business owner for many years he knows the rewards of hard work and the financial struggles that life can put you through. He understands how to work through financial slowdowns and come out the other side with honor and satisfaction. He stands on the side of the little guy against the powerful and the corrupt. He has exposed the huge waste of our state finances going to illegal aliens. Lyons fights against the big tax bosses on Beacon Hill and works diligently to increase local aid to our working families.

The choice is clear: the political insider and big tax and spend L’Italien, or Lyons, the person who stands with us to heal the woes of our great state and bring financial health to our people. Please cast your vote for Jim Lyons on Nov. 6.

Robert Gorey

33 Brown St.

L'Italien helped autism community

Editor, Townsman:

For the past 30 years I have worked with children and adults with autism and related disorders, so I am well aware of the challenges they and their families face. Autism affects more than 1 in every 88 children, 1 in 54 boys in Massachusetts, and sometimes it can be difficult for parents to detect until their child enters school. That's why I'm glad the autism community has an advocate as strong as Barbara L'Italien.

Before L'Italien was in office, many insurance companies did not offer to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism. Families were stuck with huge bills for diagnostic visits, behavioral therapy and other vital care services for family members with autism. Often only those families who could afford to pay could obtain the necessary services. As a result, many children with autism were not receiving adequate care and were falling behind in the educational system—at a cost to all of us. Many children end up needing significantly more care as they age when early intensive childhood services are not provided.

L'Italien saw this need and stepped up. Her bill requiring health insurance companies to cover autism attracted bipartisan support, including the co-sponsorship of Scott Brown. Working together with both Democrats and Republicans, she got her bill passed unanimously, and as a result children with autism in Massachusetts now have their therapy and treatment covered by insurance.

L’Italien was also instrumental in the creation of the Governor’s Autism Commission to address the immense challenges that individuals with autism face through their lifespan. As an appointed member of this Commission, it is evident that the demand for services has grown as there has been a significant increase in the rates of diagnosis of autism in both children and adults – and there needs to be a plan to address the needs of these individuals. Without L’Italien’s efforts on behalf of individuals with autism, many families would continue to struggle in circumstances that are already tremendously difficult. The community as a whole benefits when these individuals with autism become more productive, self-sufficient and more fully integrated members of society when they receive appropriate supports and services.

This perfectly exemplifies L'Italien's approach to many difficult issues. When she saw a problem, she tackled it directly, working together with both sides. Partisanship and bickering are, sadly, all too common in Washington, but here in Massachusetts L'Italien put her constituents first and was willing to work with Republicans and Democrats to address the issue. We need more legislators like L'Italien—legislators willing to work with both sides to serve their community, not pursue an ideological agenda at the community's expense.

Rita Gardner

10 Christian Way

Moran 'gets it'

Editor, Townsman:

I support Frank Moran as Massachusetts State Representative for the 17th Essex District advocating for Andover, Methuen and Lawrence.

He is in his third year as Lawrence City Councilor at Large and is council president, a small business owner and has two kids in college.

He knows Lawrence and wants the city to be financially independent. He sees the city of Lawrence in the future able to help Andover and Methuen instead of the other way around.

Moran gets it. He knows improving education is extremely important because the students of Methuen, Andover and Lawrence are in competition with students from every town, every city, every state and every country in this global economy. As an educator myself, I agree with him.

He understands the issues and will do all he can to help all the citizens of the 17th Essex District be free to be successful.
Frank Moran has earned my support and my vote on Nov. 6, and I encourage you to consider him as well.

Ralph Bledsoe

Brechin Terrace

History shows buffer zones needed

Editor, Townsman:

A heated debate has been sparked by Jim Lyons' support for eliminating the buffer zone around reproductive health clinics where it is illegal to 

protest or loiter. Earlier this month, the Eagle Tribune published a letter defending Jim Lyons' bill and advocating for elimination the buffer zone - specifically stating the writer has "never seen or heard of pro-lifer attacks." We are all entitled to our own point of view, but not our own 

facts. The statement quoted above "does not stand the test of time and evidence" which we are asked to apply. Let's review:

In 1993 Dr. David Gunn was murdered outside a Pensacola clinic. That same year, Dr. George Tiller was shot multiple times outside a Kansas clinic. In 1996, Dr. Calvin Jackson was assaulted and savagely stabbed outside a clinic.

In 1994 Massachusetts experienced one of the worst attacks when John Salvi opened fire on two clinics in Brookline, killing two young ladies and wounding many others. Following the savagery in Brookline, Salvi was arrested in Virginia after attacking a third Planned Parenthood Clinic.

All of us, pro-choice, pro-life alike, should want to see patients and employees of medical facilities kept safe. Defending Rep. Lyons by denying past instances of violence, is not the best way to support pro-life principles. A vote for Lyons is a vote to condone and encourage harassment of women seeking to obtain routine women's health care and counseling.

Chas Bicking

River Road

Small business owner Lyons opposes free-spending ways

Editor, Townsman:

During these very challenging economic
times, it is vital that our elected officials spend each tax dollar
as if it were their own and as if it were their last. We cannot return
to the old, free spending ways on Beacon Hill.

Rep. Jim Lyons is a taxpayer
and a small business owner. He understands what it means to meet
payroll and understands the pressure placed on all of us by
unmitigated state regulations. 

He feels our pain when collecting the
6.25 percent sales tax as if 5 percent wasn’t enough. 

He feels our pain when we watch
patronage jobs awarded. 

He feels our pain when ludicrous
decisions are made to fund procedures in our state prisons. 

The difference with Lyons is that he
speaks up and addresses issues head on. We need to return this man
of action to the State House to protect our interests and to move the
economy forward.

Please join me in supporting Jim Lyons as he
works on our behalf.

Art Barber

3 Sparta Way

Finegold delivers for schools

Editor, Townsman:

I would like to voice my support for State Sen. Barry Finegold in the upcoming elections on Nov. 6.

In the many years I’ve lived in Andover, Finegold has always delivered for our town. He’s been active in promoting youth sports and better educational programs for my kids and yours. As a former public school teacher, I know how tight budgets can get. This year, he was able to deliver the highest amount of educational funding ever to our town. I can’t remember the last time Andover Public Schools had more money than they budgeted for. Needless to say, thanks to Finegold’s efforts, our schools can improve programs, fund after school initiatives and support team sports.

We need someone at the State House who is respected and reliable. Someone who is responsive to our phone calls and letters and a senator who can deliver for Andover. Barry Finegold has exhibited these characteristics and I hope you consider supporting him on Nov. 6. 

Maureen Zonghetti

Greenwood Road

L'Italien has balanced, bipartisan approach

Editor, Townsman:

Like many residents of Tewksbury's Precincts 3 and 3a, I'm looking forward to the upcoming election on Nov. 6. Due to redistricting, we are now in the 18th Essex district, and we have a choice of two representatives-- Jim Lyons and Barbara L'Italien. For me, the choice is clear.

L'Italien has impressed me with her balanced and bipartisan approach to legislating. She puts her constituents above her party affiliation, and it shows. Working with Democrats and Republicans alike, she was able to pass landmark legislation granting insurance coverage to children with autism. This bill attracted the co-sponsorship of none other than Scott Brown, and ended up passing unanimously. L'Italien knows that to get real results, a representative has to be willing to work together with both sides.

By contrast, Lyons seems focused on a narrow agenda of his own. He tried to cut all funding for our school nurses and school-based health services, and filed amendments to cancel funding for family planning and teen pregnancy prevention. He even supported getting rid of the buffer zones around family planning clinics-- put in place to protect patients. Lyons has put his agenda above the priorities of his constituents.

I'll be voting for the representative who works together with both sides to address the issues important to the town of Tewksbury, Barbara L'Italien. I urge my friends and neighbors to do the same.

Robert (Bob) Demers

River Road


Lyons fearless; L'Italien an insider

Editor, Townsman:

Jim Lyons is just the kind of person we need representing our Merrimack Valley district. He represents change and reform in state government. He has worked diligently to increase our local aid and he has fought against the reckless spending of our hard-earned tax dollars. Lyons is fearless when standing up for the taxpayers, small business owners, and struggling working families of the 18th Essex District.

That's why the big city Democrat power-brokers are frantically spending so much money to hurt Lyons and his advocacy for local aid and responsible budgets. These power-brokers will do anything to defeat him and then bring back one of their own, Democrat insider Barbara L'Italien.

L'Italien followed along with the big city Democrat power-brokers to slash local aid and hike the sales tax by a whopping 25 percent. Clearly, L'Italien worked against her constituents in the Merrimack Valley. Our local communities were punished by L'Italien's local aid cuts, and our consumers and small businesses were hurt by her huge sales tax hike.

L'Italien was a willing ally of Speaker Sal DiMasi and Bob DeLeo. DiMasi and DeLeo misspent our tax resources on bailing out corruption by Lantigua and his allies at Lawrence City Hall, giving taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal aliens, and lavishing patronage on the scandal-ridden Probation Department. It's no surprise that L'Italien, herself, inherited a $100,000 per year patronage paycheck in the state bureaucracy. Now, she's coming back and demanding more.

Today, Sal DiMasi sits in a federal penitentiary for abusing the public trust. DiMasi is the third consecutive big city Democrat Speaker convicted of a serious felony.

Is it any wonder these insiders and power-brokers fear the kind of reform, openness and transparency that Jim Lyons carries from our Merrimack Valley to Beacon Hill?

CJ Gangi

North Andover

L'Italien was there for Boxford

Editor, Townsman:

Living in Boxford's precinct 2 we were fortunate to have Barbara L'Italien as our state representative for eight years. At the same time Boxford was also fortunate to have Brad Hill as a state representative and Bruce Tarr as our state senator. The three of them worked together very effectively for Boxford and were able to accomplish a great deal. I believe they were particularly successful because of the bipartisan nature of their relationship.

While they had many accomplishments during that time, the most important was the work they did to address the terrible problems that some Boxford residents have with salt in their water. L'Italien was key in passing legislation to compel MassDOT to commission an engineering study of the salt problem and recommend solutions to restore the groundwater quality. I do not believe that the legislation would have been passed in its current form (over the gvernor's objections) without her strong advocacy. She demonstrated many times that she is willing to do what she believes is right, independent of party.

During those eight years, L'Italien was often in Boxford. She was at selectmen's meetings, Masco meetings, held monthly office hours at our senior center and attended other events regularly. She was consistently responsive to constituent questions and issues. Between L'Italien, Hill and Tarr, we have become accustomed to legislators who are available and responsive, working with town officials to address Boxford's issues.

In 2010 Jim Lyons was elected to replace L'Italien. While L'Italien always paid attention to our town, the same cannot be said of Lyons. Just this past summer, Tarr requested a meeting with the Boxford selectmen to discuss an issue relative to the salt study. Tarr, Hill and Lyons were in attendance. Before the meeting started, I watched as Rep. Lyons introduced himself to the members of the Board of Selectmen. After a year and a half in office, he had never met our town officials nor attended a selectmen's meeting. Ironically, at this same meeting the Selectmen recognized L'Italien for her important role working on this issue.

Due to redistricting, only residents of precinct 1 have the opportunity to vote for Barbara L'Italien. I hope that they will vote for her, as she has demonstrated that she will be an effective, responsive representative for all of Boxford.

Barbara Jessel