Manning Says Biggest Problems to Tackle Are Jobs, Economy, Taxes, Waste

Mary-Ellen Manning, who's running for the 2nd Essex District seat in the state Senate, fielded readers' questions Thursday in live chat.

Governor's Councilor and state Senate candidate Mary-Ellen Manning fielded a broad range of questions in a live chat with Patch readers Thursday on everything from local taxes to the region's biggest challenges, Salem's power plant, illegal immigration, affordable housing and more.


Would you care to comment on Joan Lovely's insatiable appetite for increasing taxes on Salem residents please?

Mary-Ellen Manning: Roger, thank you for participating in this chat. It is true that there are clear differences between me and my opponents on the issue of taxes. I have pledged to do all that I can to lower the state income tax rate to 5 percent as promised by the State House years ago. My opponent from Peabody voted to override the voter initiative to reduce taxes. Likewise, the Salem City Councillor has voted to increase property taxes, water and sewer rates, increased parking fines and fees, voted for a special meals tax and approves of an Internet sales tax. Very recently she called for a special session of the Salem City Council and voted in favor of the CPA, which had already been rejected by the voters a few years ago. I trust voters' judgment. In these difficult economic times, it is wrong to increase taxes.

Biggest challenges for North Shore

What, in your opinion, are the biggest challenges the North Shore is facing at the moment? How do you propose we fix them?

Mary-Ellen Manning: Thanks Stan. The biggest problems are jobs, the economy, taxes and waste. I propose we attack the waste in the budget, such as duplication of services. The half billion dollar Department of Correction comes to mind. Post-release services are duplicated by the DOC, the Sheriff's Departments, the trial court and parole. We need to attack this overspending and use these savings to address our essential services and decrease taxes. Decreasing taxes and providing small business incentives will boost the economy and give us the jobs we desperately need.

The power plant

J. Curley:
Thanks for being here, Mary-Ellen. Could you share your thoughts on the development of the Salem power plant property as well as the possible wind farm on historic Winter Island?

Mary-Ellen Manning: Thank you J. It is so important for Salem to do what is best for Salem, with an eye toward what is best for the region. We need to work together to make sure that what each of our municipalities does works well with the goals of the region. I think that's one of the roles of the State Senator --having the region pull together. It is so important that the State Senator balance each town's needs against the needs of the district as a whole. State government also try not to override the goals of any city or town. So, while I am a big believer in clean energy, I am most interested in making sure that the residents of Salem are happy with the outcome of very large projects being sited in Salem. It would have been great to have done some economic gardening on the Salem power plant site, to bring in some entrepreneurs, but that was not to be. I am glad that the site is going to be cleaned up. Salem has suffered too long with the pollution from the coal-fired plant.

Affordable housing

Americus Bell:
What is your position on low-income housing, especially in areas that have met their "40B?" All politics being local, I suspect you may be called upon to advocate for/influence funding by, well, local gov'ts.

Mary-Ellen Manning: Affordable housing is a value that most communities feel is important. Some communities do more than their fair share, however. In the communities that are interested in building more affordable housing beyond their 40B quota, I'm all for it and would support their efforts. It is important to note that this is one of those areas that regionalization may be in order: the communities of the district should be able to work together to trade 40B obligations so that, as a region, the 40B quota is met. It's important to work together. That's something that I could assist with as a state senator should more legislation be required to make that happen.

Illegal immigration

Illegal immigration is a growing problem in Salem and Massachusetts and is putting additional stress on the state safety net as well as education systems and job availabilty, have you any thoughts on how this can be addtressed at the state level?

Mary-Ellen Manning: We must hold employers criminally responsible for hiring unauthorized aliens. This odious practice takes jobs away from those here legally, takes advantage of the immigrants, and suppresses wages for everyone in an already depressed economy. We must put a stop to these illegal hiring practices.

Where do you stand?

Mary-Ellen, where do you find yourself in agreement with your Democratic party? And where is there a lot of daylight between you and that platform?

Mary-Ellen Manning: I believe that our government should provide services to those in need, protect us from criminals, educate our children, treat everyone fairly and equally and pull us together as a society. The programs of the Democratic party are ones that I have benefited from, including public education and my Dad getting to go to college on the G.I. Bill. I think we can provide more direct, value-added services by getting rid of the waste in the budget. I am looking to do more with less, because putting more money in everyone's pockets is better for all of us. I hope that answers your question.

For a complete transcript of Thursday's chat, .

Lou Conte August 31, 2012 at 12:44 PM
I agree with her on everything. Independents have to show up on voting day.
Paula Dell August 31, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Mary-Ellen you did a great job on the chat and I want you to know that as an independent conservative and a proud national tea party member I will be voting for you on Sept 6. Please respond to my thoughts here. I am quite troubled at the recent release by the Lovely campaign detailing all the money she has raised from scores of elected officials and democratic insiders. Plus it bothers me that a number of people donated to all the campaigns except for Edward Carroll--and frankly I admire him for not accepting donations. What are your thoughts on the corrupting nature of money on political campaings and can anything be done? Lastly impressed at your endorsement from Howie Carr which I heard Monday--its a big reason I am supporting you!
Saber Walsh September 02, 2012 at 01:13 PM
I have often wondered why she and her sister entered the political circle, but in sharp contrast to our city counselor, Mary-Ellen has come out squarely as the "old fashioned Democrat" willing to actually do the right things, very much like the Democratic candidates that my parents and I ALWAYS used to vote for -- until the socialists took over. I like these answers a lot, and how she spoke out for reform after Officer Jack Maguire was gunned down by a multi-life-sentencer-free-on-parole was brave. Deval Patrick has still not reformed our system to any degree, but at least I guess with Melissa's Law, in Massachusetts, Maguire might still be alive, but you can get at least one life sentence before you're out to do it again (we are so, so screwed). As in independent voter, just a gentle word of political and historical correction here. While the Democrats like to take credit for the GI Bill, it was actually authored by Commander Harry Colmery from the American Legion who took leadership because our Washington politicians couldn't find their way out of their arguments. So while Roosevelt and his ilk voted it in, if it weren't for Commander Colmery, we'd STILL be arguing about what's right for our veterans and many of our parents never would have gotten the "leg up" they did. Because he was a former GOP chairman people seem to credit Roosevelt instead of him for its success, rest his soul.
Mary-Ellen Manning September 02, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Thanks Paula for your support. Certainly money is a corrupting influence, and I have managed for the last 14 years to avoid accepting donations from anyone who expects something in return. I spearheaded reforms to remove the corrupting influence of money on the judicial nomination process. Because the Supreme Court has decided that political contributions are a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment, there doesn't seem to be any constitutional way to eliminate its influence. The important thing is to elect good people...because good people make good government.
Mary-Ellen Manning September 02, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Saber, thanks for the gentle word of correction. I will make sure I include the Commander in any future reference to the origins of the GI Bill.


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