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PowerPlayer: Congressman Jim McGovern

Thursday, March 01, 2012


This week's PowerPlayer is United States Congressman Jim McGovern. The Representative for Massachusetts' Third Congressional District spoke to GoLocalWorcester about his actions in Washington and their impact on the Worcester community.

What are you hoping to accomplish in Washington this year that will help Worcester County?

Some of the “national” issues will continue to be important to Worcester county: improving the economy and creating jobs; increasing our investments in higher education and improved infrastructure; a tax system that’s fair for middle class families; and protecting Social Security and Medicare. I will continue to advocate in Congress and with the Administration for economic development initiatives in Worcester County.

What infrastructure projects should be considered top priority for Central Massachusetts?

My # 1 priority is infrastructure improvements on Route 20 between Sunderland Road and the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement Plant. This area has enormous potential for commercial expansion – provided that necessary upgrades are made for sewer service. I also believe that the Route 495/Route 9 interchange is an important project. I’ll also continue to focus on the reconnection of Worcester’s East side with the downtown with the demolition of the former Mall and the ambitious City Square Project. Other issues like improving access to broadband service and increased /better commuter rail service will help our economy continue to grow.

When you visit with your constituents, what seems to be their major concerns that they want you to fix?

“Jobs, jobs, jobs.” That’s their number one concern – and my number one priority. The unemployment rate in Massachusetts continues to decline, and that’s good news. But we still have a lot of work to do.

How are you going to help create more job in Central Massachusetts?

Whenever I meet with a business group, a labor group, an editorial board – just about anyone who will listen – I ask, “What are we going to be making here in 5 years? In 10 years? 20? Central Massachusetts was one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution, and I’m not ready to throw in the towel on manufacturing. But it won’t be your grandfather’s manufacturing. We will need well-educated, well-trained workers in order to succeed in areas like biomedical devices and green technologies. I think Gateway Park is a terrific model – a partnership among governments, academia and the private sector.

Will you be campaigning for Elizabeth Warren?

Absolutely. I think she’s a terrific candidate. She’s already energized the Democratic base across the state, and I’ll think she’ll do very very well in November.

Will you be hosting an town hall meetings soon to me with voters?

I prefer to meet with constituents in a one-on-one format. I have office hours in every town in my district. And I’m always available to meet in one of my districts offices with any constituent with something on their mind.

What are doing in Washington to help bring down the deficit?

The best way to bring down the deficit is to grow the economy – the more people find work, the more revenue we’ll bring in. I have also been a champion of bringing the war in Afghanistan (and before that, Iraq) to an end. We are borrowing – BORROWING – tens of billions of dollars every month to prop up a corrupt and incompetent Karzai government. I also believe we need to let the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. The Wall Street tycoons and the big oil companies are doing just fine – they don’t need any more taxpayer subsidies.

What are you doing in Washington to help curb healthcare costs?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) stressed reducing healthcare costs through things like prevention, home healthcare and investments in Health information technology – especially Electronic Medical Records. The stimulus bill made major investments in healthcare IT and an industry leader called E-Clinical Works headquartered in Westborough hired a large number of new employees based upon that investment. That’s the kind of thing we should continue.

Prevention and early detection are critical. The ACA requires many insurance plans to cover a variety of preventative services without copays, like colonoscopies for colon cancer, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits and flu shots for children and adults. I’m the co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus and a member of the Agriculture Committee, and better nutrition is a way to reduce risks for developing chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure and to promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Take us through a day in your life:

“Here’s a typical Tuesday (February 28th) when I’m in Washington: Democratic caucus meeting; meeting in my office with a Mass. business person; press conference on food stamps; three more meetings with constituents; manage a rule on the House floor; meeting on agriculture in my office; Rules Committee hearing; meeting with a school from my districts; votes in the evening.

Tell us something nobody knows about you. 

“I really love to cook.”

Role Model:

“In politics, there are two: George McGovern and Joe Moakley.”

Favorite Restaurant:

“I’m reluctant to pick just one. I’ll just say that the “McGovern’s Grilled Pork Chop” at O’Connor’s is outstanding.”

Best Beach:

Coast Guard Beach on the cape.

Best Book You've Read in the Last Year:

“What it means to be a Democrat,” by George McGovern.

Advice for the next Congressman McGovern:

“The same advice that Moakley and McGovern gave to me: Moakley told me to get to know every single one of your colleagues on a first-name basis; that relationships matter. McGovern told me that you can never be afraid of losing the next election; you have to do what you think is right.”


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