Question 1. A proposed amendment to the state constitution to levy an additional tax on income over one million dollars. A yes vote would impose a 4 percent tax on that portion of income over $1M. A no vote would make no change in the state constitution relative to income tax.
Question 2. Regulation of dental insurance. Passage of this question (a yes vote) would regulate dental insurance rates, including by requiring companies to spend at least 83 percent of premiums on member dental expenses and other improvements instead of administrative expenses and other changes to dental insurance regulations. A no vote would make no change in the law relative to the regulations that apply to dental insurance companies.
Question 3. Expanded availability of licenses for the sale of alcoholic beverages. A yes vote would increase the number of licenses a retailer could have for the sale of alcohol, limit the number of “all-alcoholic beverages” licenses, restrict use of self-checkout, and require retailers to accept customer’s out-of-state identification. A no vote would make no change in the laws governing the retail sale of alcoholic beverages.
Question 4. Eligibility for driver’s licenses. A yes vote would keep in place the law, which would allow Massachusetts residents who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States to obtain a driver’s license or permit if they meet the other requirements for doing so. A no vote would repeal this law.
This week and in the two weeks before the Nov. 8 election, the Concord Bridge is providing short interviews with the state representative candidates in the 13th and 14 Middlesex districts.
Chelmsford resident Rodney Cleaves, 68, moved to Chelmsford in 1994 and in 2020, he retired from a career in IT at the Veterans Administration’s Bedford office. He worked at Digital Equipment Corp. in Maynard and Data General before the VA in a career spanning 47 years. Cleaves is also the author of five books and has developed course work in computer technology. He served in the Air Force from 1971 to 1979 and a year with the Coast Guard.
Why is he running:
Cleaves said he’s “always had a bent for politics.” He laments the one-party reign he sees in Massachusetts. “There is no vigorous debate. One party does what it wants,” he said. “I’m not thin-skinned. Let me in there and I’ll stir things up.” He said there are only 31 conservative voices, like his, out of 169 members of the Legislature.
What is his familiarity with local district- wide issues:
Cleaves said he is “doing my best to learn.” He acknowledged not “being groomed to be a politician.” But he’d “jump in with both feet and see if I can make a difference.”
What are the top three issues in the district and how would he address them:
Affordable housing. He said Concord is “notorious for being exclusive.” He thinks “people need to be able to live on what they are making.”
Taxes. He thinks people should keep as much of their income as possible. He’s not in favor of adding fee-based programs or new taxes. “I want a return to common sense legislation, not the idealism in the Legislature we have.”
Stronger oversight of Department of Children and Families. Cleaves and his wife have fostered close to 500 foster children over the years. He calls the DCF “the duck and cover fraternity.” He thinks the agency acts in its own interest, not that of the children and families it is supposed to serve. He and his wife wrote a foster parents bill of rights but Gov. Baker didn’t sign it.
Question 1. No. He does not want to repeal Question 1. Question 2. No. Cleaves said “we can regulate insurance companies all we want and when they’re no longer profitable they have the option to simply remove their service from the Commonwealth.” Question 3. Yes. Cleaves is in favor of the petition initiative. Question 4. No. Cleaves is in favor of repealing the law but feels undocumented persons should have a special driver’s license that does not automatically enroll them as voters.
Town Clerk prepared for Nov 8 election
Kaari Tari said voters should feel confident as they go to the polls on Nov. 8. “We have a great team of election workers to help maintain neutrality in the polling places while helping voters navigate the voting process,” she noted recently. She said police officers are stationed at each voting location to ensure that voters and election workers are free from interference. Further, Tari said observers are allowed in the polling location but must remain behind a six-foot buffer around the polling place set-up. “This will allow them to hear and view activities within the polling place, but not interfere with any part of the process,” she said.
There is also a 150’ buffer around each building that is the site of a polling location, limiting electioneering, defined as campaigning for candidates, to outside of that area. Campaign pins or attire of any kind are not allowed within the buffer area and prohibited inside the polling location.
Tari said her office received calls about Question 4 on the ballot that was not included in the booklet sent to all residents. She said a link to the question is available by going to the town website www.concordma.gov along with sample ballots and early voting dates.
Early voting begins Oct. 22, and continues Monday through Saturday until Friday, Nov. 4. Check the website for hours.