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PowerPlayer: State Senator Michael Moore

Monday, August 06, 2012

 

This week's PowerPlayer is State Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury).  Sen. Moore was kind enough to sit down with GoLocalWorcester and talk about his role in the Massachusetts State Senate and his re-election campaign.

1. You just completed your second term as a State Senator. Tell us three things we don't know about the legislative process.

First, I think people should know what a direct influence their voice has on the legislative process. In addition to my own beliefs, which often reflect my district, the phone calls, letters, emails, even daily conversations I have with constituents weigh very heavily in determining the right course of action.

Second, when necessary you must understand the need to compromise. You can’t get very far, or be very effective, if you aren’t willing to bring all sides to the table, talk about the issues inside and out, and put forth a proposal that is in the best interests of our constituents. Whether its other legislators, stakeholders, community and civic organizations, state and town officials, and ordinary citizens, they all play a vital role in seeing a problem from all sides, and only then can you do the right thing.

Third, things happen faster than they may seem. One of the things I love most about this job is learning something new every single day. A day doesn’t go by that my staff and I aren’t working hard to understand and resolve a number of issues, whether it’s for a constituent, legislation, or a budget item. I treat every concern, every problem, every opinion as just as important as the next, and each deserves my undivided attention and focus.

2. How does the democratic super-majority on Beacon Hill work to serve your constituents? What have you been able to accomplish as a result?

First, I think it would be a misnomer to say the “super-majority” acts as a single voice. Republicans have a strong voice on Beacon Hill, and have their own ideas that they bring to the table. Some pass, some don’t. But I think the merit of the idea is more important than the party affiliation. And within the Democratic Party there is certainly both agreement and disagreement, again based on the validity of the idea. There are fundamental ideas that I think many Democrats have in common, like government oversight to prevent fraud and abuse, transparency, support for social services, affordable housing, fair wages for hard work, et al. But each legislator is different than the other, some more conservative or liberal than others. For example, the legislature in a bipartisan effort just overrode several budget and legislative vetoes that the governor attempted to enact. We simply work together, both Republican and Democrat alike, to get things done.

With that said, I am very proud of the work we’ve been able to achieve over the last four years, much of it bipartisan. For example, we accomplished widespread government and ethics reform, pension reform, campaign finance reform, increases in Local Aid, trying to make college much more affordable and accessible, a recently passed jobs and economic development bill, completing a habitual offender law that will keep violent offenders in prison for much longer, and much more.

3. Take us through a day in your life.

I always start my day by seeing my two kids off to school, whether it’s at the bus stop or by driving them myself. That’s a ritual they probably don’t like as much as I do.

Depending on the day, I’m either at the State House, attending session, meetings, responding to constituents, et al. As the Chairman of the Higher Education Committee I meet often with the State Secretary of Education, representatives from our colleges and universities, workforce development program managers, and students. Or I’m in the district, usually holding office hours in every town in my district or attending meetings with community groups, senior centers, etc. Often times I’m included in meetings for municipal projects that are seeking state funds or guidance, like Brownfields projects, or road and bridge repairs. Many of the community meetings don’t happen until evening, so that more citizens can attend. I’m also usually meeting with local officials in the evening to brief them on the state budget, whether it’s a Selectmen’s meeting, School Committee, or an Advisory Board.

Once my workday is done, I try to spend a couple hours door knocking throughout the district, meeting with constituents and telling them a little about my re-election campaign. More often than not I don’t get home until about 10 or 11 pm.

4. You are facing a challenge from Auburn Selectman Steve Simonian in the November election. How does that affect your campaign strategy? If re-elected, what will be your top priority for 2013?

First and foremost, I applaud anyone for coming forward to run for office. It’s hard work, usually much harder than they anticipated. But not enough people get involved in the Democratic process, so for those willing to commit to it, I tip my hat to them.

My campaign strategy is simple. I will continue to do what I have been doing for the last 3 ½ years: work as hard as possible, meet and talk to as many people as possible, and give everything 110%. I’m proud of my record and stand by it, whether it’s bills I’ve sponsored, budget items I’ve secured, policy initiatives I’ve spearheaded, and laws I’ve written. I believe that everything takes hard work, and that includes being a legislator.

Many of the things that my opponent has suggested, I’ve already done: advocate for Secure Communities, support small business and job growth, improve Local Aid, be a strong advocate for my district, bipartisanship, et al. My record in these areas is quite clear, and I’m encouraged he shares many of the same goals that I’ve worked on for the last four years.

If re-elected, my number one priority is continuing to improve job growth for Worcester and the towns of the Second Worcester District. While the Commonwealth has one of the lowest unemployment rates at 6%, I’m focused on working to bring more economic development and job opportunities to the citizens of Worcester, and throughout the Second Worcester District.

5. Tell us something nobody knows about you.

I actually have sleep apnea, which requires I wear a facemask at night to allow me to sleep. It wasn’t diagnosed until just over a year ago, and before that time I had terrible insomnia, getting no more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night. Now I can get around 5 or 6 hours of sleep, and then it’s right back to work!

Quick Hitters

Role Model: Without question my father. A veteran of World War II and the Korean War, he left high school in order to serve his country. Despite severe rheumatoid arthritis, he always worked hard. He owned several small businesses: a restaurant, hardware store and shoe store. When he operated the hardware store he got in a dispute with the town over opening on Sunday mornings in violation of the Blue Laws. He hired attorney Mel Greenberg and fought the legality of the Blue Laws…and won. Most important, he was very committed to his community; he loved Millbury. Both of my parents taught me the importance of being an active part of your community and especially civic responsibility.
Favorite Restaurant: Calabria’s in Millbury. I believe in supporting local restaurants, and the fact that they have an amazing Boston Baked Haddock Roseanne doesn’t hurt either.
Best Beach: I personally love Cape Cod, and my favorite beach there is Nauset Beach, ocean side. Great for the family, and stretches for miles.
Best Book You've Read in the Last Year: American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph Ellis. 
Advice for the Next Michael Moore: Always listen first before speaking. Always.

 

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