SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. — The Daily Voice recently sat down with Marty Lamb, the Republican who is challenging state Rep. Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston) in the 8th Middlesex District.
The Daily Voice: What in your past experience qualifies you for this seat?
Marty Lamb: My main focus is that I’m coming, not as a professional career politician, not as an insider in politics, but as a father, a husband and a small business owner. And it’s the perspective from that point of view of what’s actually happening to real people I real situations. I’m in real estate law, and what I see on a daily basis is that the real estate market is in a real depression right now. But there’s also people who are struggling with their business finances, with their home budgets, and we’ve had many discussions on that.
I’ve also been involved with a non-profit called New Jobs For Massachusetts. We’ve been working with a bipartisan coalition on Beacon Hill, looking at the laws that inhibit job growth in Massachusetts.
DV: We’ve heard a lot lately about unfunded mandates and their impact on communities. Do you think unfunded mandates are a problem? If so, how would you address them?
ML: Absolutely. In schools, that typically has to do with the pension obligations that the towns are now required to pay off for years without the funding behind them. In Holliston, we’re struggling with that right now. Clearly, we can’t turn our backs on the teachers and firefighters and the police who have already put into the system. We’re obligated to pay them and we have to come up with the funds. Going forward, the state has to look at many things, such as pension reform. I’d like to see a limit for one state pension per person. There’s many people who end up with more than one pension because they jump from one bureaucracy to another.
If the state is going to force anything on the towns, we need to figure out first how the towns are going to pay for them. We can’t, as a state, say, “Hey, here’s something you have to do, but good luck finding the money.” That just isn’t right.
DV: Can anything be done to increase Chapter 70 funding for our schools?
ML: From my point of view, it is essential that we maintain the wonderful schools that we have within the district now. We have to, from a state point of view, maintain and if possible, increase local aid. The schools are struggling. I can speak from my own personal experience in Holliston with two kids who are special needs, who went through the school system, and we were fighting with the school system on a regular basis to get adequate services. I only have top praise for the administration and the teachers, but the problem was that they truly didn’t have the proper funding. And they were honest.
DV: Where would the funds come from?
ML: We have abuse and waste at the top that we need to address. One of them is looking at the top administrations in the state. What we did with the Mass Pike Authority by combining that into the Department of Transportation saved hundreds of millions of dollars. We need to look at each and every administration and see where else there’s that type of redundancy where we can combine forces and save a lot of money. And when I say save money and cut back I’m always looking at the top, never at the bottom where the service providers are. Because they’re the ones who typically get the shaft.
We have a lot of state owned properties and land. We should take an inventory to see what we can either sell or lease out, whether it be old court houses or properties on highways.
DV: As a Republican, how will you work with the Democratic majority to enact your proposals?
ML: First of all, the only way to get things enacted is to bring common sense solutions to the floor. Nobody is going to come in and change the world overnight, Democrat or Republican. From my point of view, I’m looking at the Democratic side, and they typically vote right with the Speaker of the House. There’s an agenda set at the top and they all follow suit. Rep. Dykema has voted about 95 percent of the time with the Speaker. I don’t see that as effective representation of the people.
One of my role models, as far as freshmen Republicans from 2010, is Shaunna O’Connell out of Taunton. She brought forward an EBT reform bill and sat down with members on both sides of the aisle. It got watered down, but she was able to go in with something that everyone could sign onto as a common sense piece of legislation that had a major impact on EBT fraud and abuse. It saved the taxpayers a lot of money. Plus, we want to get the services to the people who need it.
DV: You're running to represent several communities. How will you make sure that you are representing the residents of all of your communities, especially those that are split, like Westborough.
ML: Right off the bat, I plan on having weekly district meetings rotating between the towns. I’m going to sit down with each of the members of the boards in the different towns and get to know each other.
I give out my cell phone number to everyone and anyone, and make it known that I have an open door policy throughout the district. I’m listed in the Holliston phone book. I want people to know that my phone can ring at any time—hopefully not three in the morning—but I’ll always sit down with somebody whether it’s at their kitchen table or mine.