State Senate Candidate Calls for Transparency in State House Sexual Harassment Complaints in Wake of Kavanaugh Hearings
Acton- State Senate Candidate, Margaret Busse is calling for more transparency in the investigation of sexual harassment complaints made against legislators and State House staff. Presently, settlements of complaints are maintained in secrecy.
“In the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings, it is crystal clear that we need complete transparency in matters of personal safety in government.” stated Margaret Busse, candidate for state senate from the Middlesex Worcester District. “Our legislature, and my opponent Jamie Eldridge, are hiding cases settled, that contain credible accusations of sexual misconduct, from public scrutiny.”
“Mr. Eldridge, and his colleagues, have created a virtual “Sanctuary State House” on Beacon Hill, where complaints can be swept under the rug and pay off victims out of a secret slush fund managed by majority leadership that shields people from accountability to the public.” concluded Busse. “When elected, I will address this.”
Margaret Busse Builds Momentum with Endorsements and Fundraising
Margaret Busse, candidate for State Senate in the Middlesex and Worcester district, has received endorsements from almost 30 current and former municipal officials throughout the district. These community leaders are striving to improve the cities and towns they serve. They are dedicated to the role they play and recognize Margaret as a future partner in good government. You can view the list of endorsing officials at the link below. Margaret commented on her endorsements saying, “I am honored to have the support of such devoted public servants. I appreciate all the hard work they are doing in their communities look forward to having the opportunity to champion their causes on Beacon Hill.”
This groundswell of support from across the district shows the momentum that is building behind the Busse campaign. In addition to the endorsements she recently received, Ms. Busse also reported raising almost $70,000 in 2018 and ended the reporting period with $67,000 cash on hand. Ms. Busse raised more than Mr. Eldridge’s last three opponents combined. Additionally, Ms. Busse raised the most funds out of all candidates challenging incumbents in state level races.
Massachusetts Should Lower Its Sales Tax
In my hometown of Acton, I’ve seen more and more ‘For Lease’ signs popping up throughout our retail areas. I’ve talked with independent retailers who have had to close their doors, and the answer is the same: times are tough. While the overall economy is booming, retailers in Massachusetts, especially the local, independent ones we all love to have in our communities, are getting squeezed. Online retailers lure many customers away with buy-from-home convenience while sales tax-free New Hampshire lures others with lower overall prices. It is no coincidence that a massive retail complex is located just over the border from Massachusetts in Nashua, New Hampshire, capturing all the revenue that could be had in Massachusetts if we’re given sales tax relief. The inevitable result of this retail squeeze is lost jobs.
Massachusetts should lower its sales tax.
The sales tax not only hurts our retailers, but it also disproportionately hurts those with the lowest incomes in our state. A sales tax is a regressive tax, hurting individuals more with lower incomes than those with higher incomes. Since everyone has to pay the same amount of sales tax on each purchase, those with lower incomes spend a larger percentage of their income when paying the tax.
Massachusetts should lower its sales tax.
Our legislators voted against lowering the sales tax from 6.25% to 5%. Legislators felt the state could not do without the revenue that would be lost by reducing the sales tax to 5%. However, these are the same lawmakers who did not seem as concerned about displaced revenue when they voted to raise their own wages by up to 45% at the very beginning of this legislative session in January of 2017. Moreover, this year the state received news that 2017 tax revenues were over $1.1 billion more than expected. Unfortunately, this windfall was not enough to convince lawmakers to give people back their hard-earned money.
Massachusetts should lower its sales tax.
My opponent, Jamie Eldridge, has consistently advocated for sales tax increases and against sales tax holidays. Most recently, he voted against the sales tax holiday planned for August 11-12 that would allow Massachusetts residents to make purchases for the upcoming school year sales tax-free and give local retailers much needed revenue in a climate of fierce competition for consumer dollars.
As your next state senator for the Middlesex & Worcester district, I will support policies like a lower sales tax that will help small businesses and retailers bring jobs and greater opportunities to those across the economic spectrum and reduce the tax burden for our most vulnerable citizens.
In votes, senate floor speeches, tweets, and sponsored legislation time and again Jamie Eldridge has shown disdain for the brave men and women that risk their lives daily for our safety.
Police officers have been under attack recently - since April there have been 4 police shootings in the Commonwealth. The most recent one in Falmouth was not fatal only because Officer Moore was wearing a bulletproof vest. Having necessary equipment is essential for the safety of our law enforcement, but when Jamie Eldridge was given the opportunity he failed to ensure their needs were met. In 2016 he voted against funding a matching federal grant program to purchase bulletproof vests. Margaret Busse commented “Functionally, if Jamie Eldridge had his way on this vote Officer Moore would no longer be with us. This, in combination with his many other instances of anti-police attitudes, show that he is willing to mortgage the lives of our officers for his progressive agenda.”
This is not the only instance of Senator Eldridge ignoring the needs of our law enforcement agencies. Eldridge voted against mandatory minimums for assaulting a police officer. Additionally, his signature sanctuary state legislation would prevent municipal police from entering into 287(g) agreements with Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE), a process that allows ICE to deputize local police as ICE agents. These agreements are important to the safety of our communities as ICE is responsible for finding deadly drugs that enter the country through our ports, highways, and borders. We cannot afford to tie the hands of any law enforcement agency that is taking opioids off our streets.
Mr. Eldridge on the floor of the Senate on July 18 spoke of the importance of de-escalation training for police. While this should be a component of the overall training program, the weight associated with making split second decisions in deadly situations and the media attention attached to it has significantly decreased recruitment for our police departments. Many are willing to risk their safety for their communities, but the intense scrutiny of every decision made in the field has become a stumbling block for qualified applicants.
Margaret Busse, State Senate candidate for Middlesex & Worcester district, said of her opponent’s attitude “In an age of an opioid epidemic and increased violent attacks on the police Jamie Eldridge continually fails to support law enforcement in the Commonwealth. Men and women risk their lives every day to protect residents from the criminal element in our communities. We owe it to them to provide every tool to do their jobs safely and effectively.”
Massachusetts Budget Stalled by Sanctuary State Amendment
By Margaret Busse
Massachusetts claims first in the country status on many things, but this year our state legislature is last in the country to approve a state budget. The conference committee is now a full week late on sending a budget to the governor’s office and the number of outside amendments that propose major policy changes is a contributing factor.
Jamie Eldridge’s controversial and divisive sanctuary state amendment is one of the biggest problems. Eldridge used an administrative process to attempt to enact legislation that was not popular enough to pass during regular session. The amendment addresses an issue that needs to be settled at the federal level and yet is holding back our state budget process.
Eldridge’s budget amendment outlines several policies that tie the hands of law enforcement, the most concerning part being that local law enforcement will 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 helps 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 agreements deputizing 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.
This amendment leaves us open to a dangerous precedent and dangerous streets. What is the next federal agency Eldridge will not allow to collaborate with local police officers? Will the Drug Enforcement Agency become the new villain as Massachusetts opens the doors for legal marijuana? Where does that leave the people of the Middlesex & Worcester district that he represents?
Eldridge is out of touch, out of step, and out of his district. He is spending his time going to other parts of the state, fighting for issues that can only be properly addressed by our congressional delegation.
There are many ramifications to slipping a sanctuary state amendment into the budget, the least of which is the budget being late. The Middlesex & Worcester district needs a senator that will represent their interests and turn their attention to what matters locally.
I have spent eight years in Acton’s town government, including as chair of the Acton 2020 Committee (master planning committee) and Chair of the Finance Committee. I am now running for state senate because I am passionate about bringing people together around creating strong communities, supporting small businesses and the creation of good jobs, and ensuring our schools can effectively prepare your children and my children for the future. The many voters and community leaders I have spoken with across this state senate district want a state senator who is close to the communities, focusing on their needs, not on grandstanding on national issues.
This is my passion, this is my focus. My campaign slogan says it all: It’s About You!
Margaret Busse is a resident of Acton and is running for State Senate in the Middlesex and Worcester District.
After a long debate yesterday, Senate Democrats voted to pass Jamie Eldridge’s “sanctuary state” budget amendment. The legislation is very similar to the Safe Communities Act that he submitted earlier this year, which makes it impossible for local law enforcement to work with federal agencies. The bill did not reach the House floor according to House Speaker DeLeo because “there was no consensus in the body.” The controversial amendment has earned significant push back across the state and it is unlikely that the governor will sign off on it.
Eldridge used a back door method to ram his unpopular bill through the legislative process. Once again he shows that he is more interested in being a leader in the progressive movement than a representative of the Middlesex & Worcester District.
Margaret Busse, Eldridge’s opponent for the State Senate in the Middlesex & Worcester district noted “Jamie Eldridge finds every opportunity to burnish his ultra liberal credentials and rarely considers the interests of the majority of the district. I will be a consensus building legislator making every effort to hear the concerns and attend to the needs of the people I have the privilege to represent.”
Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr filed a budget amendment last week to reduce the state sales tax from 6.25% to 5% by August 1, 2020. This decrease would shift the tax burden away from lower and middle income consumers and allow Massachusetts retailers more opportunity to compete with New Hampshire and internet vendors.
The sales tax is recognized as a regressive tax that adversely affects the poorest citizens. With the option of making large purchases online or just across the border in New Hampshire there is little incentive for consumers to buy locally, which is also killing off the small businesses that are the life blood of the American economy.
Margaret Busse, candidate for State Senate in the Middlesex and Worcester district, holds a BA in Economics and Public Policy and a MBA. She commented on the amendment saying “I support Senator Tarr’s amendment to reduce the sales tax. This change would benefit the members of our community that need it most. Low income citizens and small businesses will get the rare opportunity to save or reinvest available funds as they see fit.”
Jamie Eldridge filed a budget amendment that is a watered-down version of the “sanctuary state legislation” that he proposed earlier this session. That legislation promptly died in committee because it is out of step with the will of the majority of Massachusetts citizens.
In addition, what is remarkable about this amendment is that it is inconsistent with Eldridge’s other legislative priorities. The language preventing state resources going towards creating a registry based on national origin directly contradicts his sponsorship of HB 3361, the bill requiring that only Asian Americans (and not other races or ethnicities) report their specific country of origin to state agencies.
Margaret Busse, candidate for State Senate in the Middlesex and Worcester District, responded “This amendment does not represent the needs of our community. Our citizens want an immigration system that is fair for all, yet protects our national heritage of inclusion. We need to focus on finding solutions to our current immigration challenges that build on common ground amongst all stakeholders instead of promoting this kind of divisive, one-sided legislation.
CHANGE SEXUAL HARASSMENT CULTURE BY CHANGING SENATE COMPOSITION
Senate President Stan Rosenberg stepped down late last week amid a much-publicized sexual harassment scandal involving his husband Bryon Hefner. The one-party dominance on Beacon Hill allowed the harassment to go unchecked for years. Senate Democrats embraced Rosenberg as their leader despite his connection to a man whose unwanted sexual advances were an "open secret" according to Boston Magazine. Instead of appropriately dealing with the problem in a timely manner, people working in and around Beacon Hill were subjected to inappropriate workplace behavior and threats to their advancement if they did not comply.
Unfortunately, Bryon Hefner is not the only perpetrator in the statehouse. There are dozens of cases of sexual harassment that have gotten little or no attention because state legislators are not subject to public records disclosure laws. Without full access to documents legislators are free to use non-disclosure agreements to cover up misbehavior and almost guarantee that it will continue happening. No one has taken responsibility or made apologies for this grievous lack of oversight. Elected officials need to be doing more to ensure the safety of our workers. They must provide an environment where victims are comfortable telling their stories and are guaranteed that they will be taken seriously by law enforcement. Without this option they could be swept under the rug by politicians more worried about winning the next election than the well-being of their associates and staffers.
One powerful way to eliminate cover ups is a change in perspective, which can only come with new legislators. Currently, only 25% of our state legislators are women. There are 11 women in the Senate making great strides by introducing bills like S2203, which eases the process for reporting sexual violence on college campuses. Now it is time to do more for those working in and around Beacon Hill. Margaret Busse, state senate candidate for the Middlesex-Worcester district, said of the situation “The best way to change the culture on Beacon Hill is to change the composition of the legislature.” She is on track to become the 12th female Massachusetts State Senator and is committed to being an agent of change so that the Massachusetts statehouse can be a shining example of workplace culture that has no tolerance for predatory behavior.
Baker’s Republican Opponent Not Fit to Represent Party
This past Saturday, Massachusetts Republicans gathered in Worcester to nominate candidates to run for office on both the state and federal levels. It was an opportunity to see friends, meet new people, and get energized for the upcoming election season. Charlie Baker’s speech detailing the accomplishments of his administration was particularly rousing. It was encouraging to hear what the administration has achieved in just four years through Governor Baker’s practical methods of finding common ground.
Unfortunately, loud, attention getting extremism often garners more votes than pragmatic solutions, which is how Scott Lively got on the ballot for a Republican primary. While he was not homophobic in his speeches before the assembly on Saturday, his past works have touted thoroughly despicable falsehoods about the gay community, most notably his book The Pink Swastika. Lively does not represent the vast majority of Republicans in Massachusetts and the Busse campaign sincerely urges voters to choose Governor Baker as their nominee in September.
“Divisiveness and hate have no place in our party,” said Margaret Busse, Candidate for State Senate in Middlesex-Worcester district. “The notion that Dr. Lively could so twist the facts of history to blame gays for the holocaust, rather than Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, is beyond troubling. Misrepresenting fact for political and ideological purposes is never acceptable and is does not represent conservative ideals.”