State Representative-elect Chris Walsh talks about his goals and local issues, the day before he is sworn in at the State House.
Architect and Library Trustee Chris Walsh will be sworn in as the State Representative for the 6th Middlesex District tomorrow at the State House. Walsh easily defeated his two opponents in November, so he could represent Framingham residents in precincts 1-7, 9, 13, 14, and 17.
Since his election, representative-elect Walsh has been visible around town and at meetings, including the Budget Summit last month.
Walsh has opened a district office at 9 Vernon St. Hours typically are "early mornings 8-10 a.m., late afternoons 4-5 p.m. and all day Friday," although Walsh said the hours may be changing as he and his office understand their schedule better. Residents may also contact legislative aide Brian LeFort 508-479-3513 to schedule an appointment.
Walsh said he plans to remain visible in Framingham by "continuing to meet at various times and locations with constituents, by being accessible by phone or e-mail and to go to as many of the local meeting as I can to keep abreast of what is happening."
1) Residence: The Jonathan Maynard House on Pleasant Street
2) Family: Married for 27 years (my wife (Cindy) owns Red Rover Clothing Company here in Framingham). Two grown children, both Framingham Public School graduates, now both out of college and working out of state.
3) Hobbies: Woodworking, sailing as time allows and reading
4) Favorite sport to play: Soccer
5) Favorite sport to watch: Football
6) Last book read: Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon & What a Party by Terry McAuliffe (concurrently)
7) Last song added to iPod/mp3 player: Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show
8) Favorite spot in Framingham: My backyard
9) Hidden gem in Framingham: Pump house and aqueduct causeway in Farm Pond & the farms of North-West Framingham and Farm Pond in general
10) What is your # 1 goal as representative-elect? Establish good communications with as many Framingham stakeholders, as possible. Prepare all the internal systems we'll need to hit the ground running. Remember that quality of life issues matter.
11) What do you hope to accomplish in your first year? first term?
Help move the local economy forward by supporting small business initiatives, work force development and neighborhood commercial area revitalization programs. Address health care costs and other financial structural deficits
12) You recently held your first Q&A with constituents. What did you learn from that? People are looking for some real leadership in addressing the State's problems and are willing to think out of the box in order to move forward.
13) It was mentioned at a recent Selectmen's meeting that Framingham saw few new commercial developments move into town and experienced a 5-year low of new growth. What can be done at the state level to help Framingham? We have to look at redevelopment of our older commercial areas - the traditional villages and downtown areas and rethink how we use them - developing small business incubator spaces and creating incentives for businesses to expand here - we have done a good job at the large company level and now we need to bring this approach to other types of businesses.
14) Are you in favor of the state's fast track plans for the Winter Street bridge? Why? No. The vaulted arch stone bridge has historic merit and has held up very well. I'd like to see the approach that was used on Main Street where that bridge was renovated in keeping with its historic nature and the neighborhood's wishes instead of just accepting what ever solution the DOT engineers want.
15) What can you do as state representative to help increase Framingham's share of local aid dollars? Curtail the unfunded mandates that the State saddles the local communities with and pay attention to the whole budget to make sure that any increased funds aren't being offset by other cuts.
16) What is your plan to help the Framingham Public Schools with unfunded mandates? We need to : A) receive the agreed upon SPED (special education) reimbursement @ 75% instead of 43% B) Fully fund the 2008 formula adjustment in Chapter 70 money C) Limit the Charter School placement cost to the standard foundation amount
17) Some say the economy is improving, but there are still many Framingham residents without jobs. What can you do at the state level to help small businesses grow? and thus, hire more local workers? Small businesses need to have tax incentives much like larger businesses (TIFF) and some zoning laws might be modified so that land use more accurately reflects the work-from-home reality. Work force development programs should target high tech employment opportunities.
18) Do you think the State Legislature would be willing to help Framingham with its health insurance issue? I'm not sure. I think that they SHOULD be willing but it will be a matter of making the case in the larger context of the Commonwealth.
19) Are you in favor of Secure Communities program? Where do you stand on other immigrant issues? Yes. I think it is imperative that we be able to keep our communities safe from criminal elements. The larger and more entrenched problem has to do with an out of date immigration policy at the federal level. Immigration should be relatively uncomplicated and equitable but the local level should not have to bear the burden of an unworkable Federal system.
20) Are you in favor of a new McAuliffe Library branch on Water Street? Definitely! (caveat: I'm a Library Trustee) We've seen what the lack of attention to our infrastructure has brought us - under performing commercial districts, blight and a general sense that Framingham is in a downward spiral. We should be constantly improving what we have, our services, our infrastructure, our schools and demanding that we get a good return on our investment but that means that we must invest in our town and its future. The library system is really the most democratic and accessible institution we have- there is no barrier to any resident and should be celebrated and cherished.