Editor, Townsman:

Never one to miss an opportunity to stab the hard-working people of the Merrimack Valley in the back for the benefit of heavy-handed special interest groups who are her campaign benefactors, state Sen. Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover, as reported in yesterday’s Eagle-Tribune (and this today’s Andover Townsman), has snuck an amendment into the state budget that will undo years of hard work by the residents and officials of the Town of Andover to put in place a balanced and fair plan that protects all retirees in town, not just L’Italien’s favored few, while reining in some of the the worst excesses of school department and town contracts.

Claiming that she received “a groundswell of calls and emails, 68 in just two days,”  she completely ignored the will of the thousands of voters in Andover who, in recent years, have voted for the plans and budgets that implement the desperately needed spending reforms. And what is it that L’Italien opposes: having her government employee benefactors, who have the luxury of retiring as early as age 55 compared to people in the private sector, contribute to health insurance premiums on a par with what people in the private sector have to pay. Oh the horror!

Well, if 68 phone calls is a groundswell that can get L’Italien to put the interests of her special interest group supporters ahead of the best interests of the tens of thousands working people in the Merrimack Valley who will be significantly disenfranchised as their communities go bankrupt paying off the backers of L’Italien, lets see what #dumpLitalien2016 can generate.

Hopefully, Gov. Baker, when this budget comes to him for approval or veto, will put the best interests of all the people in the Commonwealth ahead of the narrow special interests groups who have Sen. L’Italien and her budget amendment co-conspirators in their pockets.

Bob Pokress 

3 Cherrywood Circle, Andover

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