QUESTION OF THE WEEK: State Senate Candidates are Asked for Stance on School Safety and Mental Health Issues

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In an effort to help voters decide which candidate to select in the Nov. 6 election, WestfordCAT News is asking a question each week of those candidates who will represent Westford.  Republican candidate for state Senate John MacDonald and Democratic candidate Edward J. Kennedy, both of Lowell, are vying for the First Middlesex District seat covering Groton, Dunstable, Lowell, Pepperell, Tyngsborough, and Westford.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Communities across the country are struggling for answers on how to make schools safer and how to protect the mental health of students. Finding the funds to back these efforts is a challenge. In Westford, the Town and School Safety Task Force proposed on Oct. 9 an expenditure of $200K toward consultation on what could be done to improve safety inside school buildings. Town Meeting approved the sum on Oct. 15. That dollar amount does not include the cost of any construction work to be done. Do you have thoughts on how communities like Westford could fund these efforts? Should federal dollars be applied? If so, how could that happen and how quickly could it happen?
Democrat Edward J. Kennedy is a candidate for state Senate. COURTESY PHOTO

Democrat Edward J. Kennedy is a candidate for state Senate. COURTESY PHOTO


EDWARD J. KENNEDY – Lowell Democrat

I support the proposals put forth by state Rep. Jim Arciero calling for the creation of a special commission on school safety and allowing retired police officers to serve as school resource officers during the school year. As your state senator, I will join with Rep. Arciero in seeking state or federal funds to increase school safety in Westford and other communities in the First Middlesex State Senate District.

Republican John MacDonald of Lowell. Candidate for state Senate. COURTESY PHOTO

Republican John MacDonald of Lowell. Candidate for state Senate. COURTESY PHOTO

JOHN MACDONALD – Lowell Republican

School safety and mental health is most paramount! Yes, I think there could be financial solutions coming from the federal government, but Massachusetts cannot depend or wait for that as we need immediate solutions.  I have proposed a PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and Mental Health Task Force if elected, which would bring mental health medical professionals together from various hospitals and competing medical centers to enhance the conversation, pertaining to mental health, cures and effective treatments for PTSD. Mental health needs to be a priority in this state, we need someone who will make sure it’s prioritized and that’s me.

The bottom line is that the money is available now. The problem is “priorities” of spending at Beacon Hill. Relative to immediate funding, we need to eliminate $16.9 million per year in EBT fraud, which the state Senate has ignored. That money can be immediately redirected to school safety needs. In addition, Massachusetts spends $2 billion per year on illegal alien benefits obtained illegally. Stopping this funding of illegal activity should be a priority and these tax dollars could also be redirected to helping support school safety. Lack of focus and prioritization is killing Massachusetts. I intend to change that.

 UPDATE – A response from Edward J. Kennedy was added on Oct. 25.

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