Making Democracy Work

Candidates for State Offices

2016 Candidates for State Office

Voter Guide to Candidates for State Offices - 2016

This Voter Guide has been compiled by the League of Women Voters of Andover/North Andover as a service to the community. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization and, as such, does not endorse or oppose candidates for public office.

Note: Candidates were asked to provide biographical information and to answer seven questions. The candidate responses were posted as submitted; the League did not edit statements or answers to questions. If the response exceeded 200 words, we cut the response at the end of the sentence closest to the 200-word limit.

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

The League encourages voters to learn more about the candidates and their positions by clicking through to their online information.

Election Day: Tuesday, November 8. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Early voting in Andover takes place at the Andover Town Clerk's office, 36 Bartlet Street, during regular business hours from October 24 until November 4 - 8:30am-4:30pm. The Town Clerk will be open late (until 8:00pm) on Tuesday, October 24 and Tuesday, November 1 and open on Saturday, October 29 from 10:00am-4:00pm.

Early voting in North Andover takes place at the North Andover Town Clerk's office, 120 Main Street, from October 24 until November 4 during the following hours: 8:00am-4:30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; 8:00am-8:00pm) on Tuesday, October 24 and Tuesday, November 1; 8:00am-Noon on Friday, October 28 and Friday, November 4; and from 8:30am-4:30pm on Saturday, October 29.

Absentee ballots: The last day to apply for an absentee ballot for the Annual Town Election is Monday, November 7 at noon. All absentee ballots must be returned to the Town Clerk's office by the close of the polls on Election Day. If the ballot is to be mailed, voters must allow for adequate mailing time both ways. Voting is permitted in the Clerk's office during regular office hours until noon on Monday, November 7.

Where to vote: Andover voters will vote in three different locations for all 2016 elections as follows:

Precincts 1 and 3 vote at the Senior Center on Whittier Court.
Precincts 4, 5, and 6 vote at Wood Hill Middle School Gymnasium, 333 High Plain Rd.
Precincts 2, 7, 7a, 8, 9, and 9a vote at the Andover High School Field House.

North Andover voters all vote at North Andover High School.

18th Essex - MA House of Representatives

Andover Precincts 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and North Andover Precincts 6, 7, 8 are in this district. To find your precinct, go to http://wheredoivotema.com/bal/MyElectionInfo.aspx.

Oscar Camargo (D)
Address: 22R Hidden Rd. Andover, MA 01845
Occupation: Defense-Intelligence Analyst
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & International Affairs, Northeastern University. Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
Campaign Website: http://www.votecamargo.com

1. What policies, if any, will you propose or support to promote social/racial justice in our communities?

I want to make sure that our laws reflect our community's values and our nation's laws on equality and liberty for all. Making sure that everyone gets the same protections and services from our government is very important to me. I want to make sure that all of the government's services are available for all of our communities and the most vulnerable in them are protected. Specifically, equal access to the law, the right marry who you love, the right to express your identity and personal choices, equality in law, wages, and equal opportunities for all people, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender/sexual preference, identity, or race.

2. The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 requires Massachusetts to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to between 10-25% below statewide 1990 GHG emissions levels by 2020. What actions does the state need to take to reach that goal? What actions do the communities you serve need to take?

The Commonwealth is currently on track to meet the 2020 emission reduction goals. This is mostly because of efforts to move our energy production away from dirty sources such as coal and towards renewables like solar power and hydroelectric power. As a legislator I will do my best to ensure that this effort continues. However, the next goals set in the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 will be a challenge to meet. These are going to require efforts to reduce the emissions from businesses and residential buildings, as well as our transportation sectors. This is going to require nuanced solutions and I certainly don't have all of the answers. However, I would look to implement ways to incentivize new buildings to be built with increased energy efficiency standards as well as help homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient. I would also work with our congressional delegation to identify federal assistance for local businesses and homeowners that want to upgrade the energy efficiency of their home. I want to invest in transportation infrastructure that will make sure our infrastructure is modern, can handle demand from a growing population north of Boston, and can provide a reliable alternative to driving.

3. Would you exempt any basic services for families from significant cuts as the legislature addresses the state's FY17 budget deficit? If so, which ones?

I would exempt cuts to services of the most needy in our communities. Often these services, such as subsidizing health care and child services are what allow people to work and provide for their families. Cuts to these basic services will harm the ability of working families in Massachusetts to go out and make a living for themselves. I would also exempt cuts to education services. Investing in our future is one of the most basic responsibilities of government and I want to be sure to keep services to our children going even as well work to address our budget deficit. Additionally, we need to focus on the opioid crisis. Opioids are a serious problem affecting children and veterans especially. Until this crisis is resolved I would exempt services and offices helping families and communities cope with this situation.

However, I believe a wiser approach to balancing our budget is to identify paths for state and federal assistance to local communities and the Commonwealth as a measure to preserve basic services while balancing our budget. I would also identifying areas of waste in the budget that if cut would not result in a loss of services being provided.

4. OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits) refer to contractual commitments made to public employees for healthcare funding after retirement. Many Massachusetts communities are facing tremendous challenges related to the unfunded liability for OPEB. What suggestions do you have for how municipalities should address this need in their current annual budgets? What, if any, action should the state take?

This is an issue that will be solved in slightly different ways by each town, however I think there is some general advice that all municipalities should follow. They should fund an annual contribution toward their OPEB liabilities that'll reduce them over the long-term, however if they cannot do that they should fund enough annually that the liabilities don't increase too rapidly. I also think that towns should consider all options available to them before they consider increasing retiree contributions. These are people that have served our community and deserve our respect when we consider them in our public policy.

In the legislature, I would support the following policies: First, I would use state resources to aid local communities in paying off their liabilities as the state is better able to handle this burden. I would consider bundling liabilities of multiple communities together to maximize savings. Second, we can support the ongoing effort to drive down healthcare costs. I will support the needs of agencies already working to address these problems. Finally, I want to ensure my district has all the help from the legislature it needs to fix the problem, including access to state resources and tools.

5. Is there is a need to address the impact of corporate and individual contributions on political campaigns? Please explain why or why not. If you believe a change is required, what would you propose or support?

I support efforts to address what I see as undue influence in political campaigns on the part of corporate entities and individuals. I feel that the best way to get meaningful change in our laws is to implement reasonable restrictions on campaign laws, such as what funds can be spent on and the exact nature of who can give to whom. I support existing limits on lobbyist and corporate donations.

I support a constitutional amendment overturning the 2010 Citizens United ruling. I believe Massachusetts is a leader in political financing laws, but more work can be done. Although our regulations governing campaign spending are both rigorous and well enforced, we face similar problems to the rest of the country when it comes to outside expenditures. Unfortunately, there is very little we can do that Massachusetts hasn't done without overturning Citizens United.

6. Do you believe current Massachusetts gun laws adequately protect citizens? Are overly restrictive? Not restrictive enough? What changes would you like to see enacted?

I strongly believe in responsible gun ownership laws. Massachusetts has a very low gun ownership rate and thankfully has one of the lowest gun death rate in the country; however, there are areas we can improve upon. One such area is closing the gun show loophole which would prevent the illegal trafficking and acquisition of firearms by criminals. Another area is increasing the gun purchase waiting period which would help prevent crimes of passion, such as domestic violence. In the end, I believe in a common sense approach to gun laws which ultimately strengthens--not weakens--our constitutional right to bear arms.

7.What are your top three legislative priorities for the coming year and how will you address them?

Education: Preserving the strengths of Massachusetts schools is vital. Our schools have allowed Massachusetts to prosper. I want to increase the allocation of funds to the most underfunded schools so that opportunity is distributed to all communities in Massachusetts. Additionally, we need to treat our teachers with the respect they deserve and give them the tools they require to help their students realize their full potential. We need to address the Chapter 70 funding formula--it's out of date and needs to be reevaluated to consider increased costs in education.

Economic Development: A primary responsibility of the legislature is to facilitate local businesses and the creation of good jobs. I would work towards these goals by lowering the sales tax to be cost-competitive, empowering our small businesses, and promoting economic development initiatives.

Opioid epidemic: Opioids have affected too many of our citizens and helping those struggling with addiction is one of my top priorities. In order to resolve this issue, we must focus on substance-dependence as a public health crisis. Early intervention efforts should be implemented to preempt addiction through management of the prescription of opioids and the message should be clear that those seeking assistance with addiction should not fear prosecution.


James J. Lyons, Jr. (R)
Address: 12 Highvale Ln, Andover, MA
Occupation: Businessman
Education: Brandeis University, BA
Campaign Website: http://www.jimlyons.org

1. What policies, if any, will you propose or support to promote social/racial justice in our communities?

In the area of equal access and justice for all, we should be proud of the four communities in the 18th Essex District: Andover, Boxford, Tewksbury, and North Andover. Out town officials, along with civic, religious, educational, business, and other community leaders, have contributed greatly to a legal and social atmosphere that promotes justice and equality for everyone, without respect to race, religion, ethnicity, economic status, or other characteristics.

This provides an excellent example of an area best left to local leaders and local control, rather than allowing Beacon Hill politicians and insiders to impose their one-size-fits-all policy preferences to our towns. Our communities have made great strides in outreach, in educational efforts, and in fostering a welcoming climate toward all. We should join together and share every confidence that our community leaders will continue to promote and achieve social justice through town government, schools, police departments, public safety, small businesses, and religious and civic organizations. Most importantly, those holding power in state government must never lose sight of this essential point: We will most effectively continue to move forward in perfecting justice for all by first respecting the fairness, goodness, and decency of the citizens of our four towns.

2. The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 requires Massachusetts to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to between 10-25% below statewide 1990 GHG emissions levels by 2020. What actions does the state need to take to reach that goal? What actions do the communities you serve need to take?

The continued and expanded importation of clean, efficient Canadian hydropower is the best way Massachusetts can pursue the goals set forth in the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008. Hydro is currently the most cost effective and reliable option for renewable energy before us, and stands ready to take up the slack as Massachusetts' own power plants are forced to close at an increasingly alarming rate. Our communities can be ready by preparing to take advantage of the incentives offered to utilize solar energy as these opportunities become cost effective and practical.

3.Would you exempt any basic services for families from significant cuts as the legislature addresses the state's FY17 budget deficit? If so, which ones?

First, we must honestly face up to the reason our Commonwealth faces budget challenges currently and perhaps in future years. After eight years of mismanagement, overspending, tax hikes, and malfeasance by Governor Deval Patrick and the power-brokers on Beacon Hill, the Commonwealth faces significant budget problems, despite the fact that the state budget has jumped from $26 billion in 2006 to $40 billion today. That whopping 50% hike is far greater than most working families have seen in their paychecks in those years. The first thing we must do to prevent overburdening working families is to pledge to work against any more Beacon Hill tax hikes.

Since having the honor of being elected your State Representative, I have constantly worked to secure Local Aid increases for our communities. It is within our neighborhoods and communities that families most often have personal interactions with vital government services: Education, libraries, police, fire, public safety, public works, and more. At the same time, Local Aid provides communities with the means of providing those essential services while capping property tax hikes that would further burden our seniors on fixed incomes and families working hard to make ends meet.

4. OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits) refer to contractual commitments made to public employees for healthcare funding after retirement. Many Massachusetts communities are facing tremendous challenges related to the unfunded liability for OPEB. What suggestions do you have for how municipalities should address this need in their current annual budgets? What, if any, action should the state take?

In 2011 the legislature passed a law to give communities the authority to deal with OPEB liabilities. The idea behind the legislation was that, long term, local communities were the entities best suited to deal with the OPEB problem. Included in that law was a 3 year moratorium on rate increases designed to give those affected time to adjust to any changes their local community decided to pursue.

At the time, Speaker DeLeo was quoted as saying "In these difficult fiscal times we have to give cities and towns the tools they need to manage tight budgets. This major reform will provide municipalities with a process to effectively manage rising municipal healthcare costs. And, by spending less on the healthcare costs of municipal employees, our cities and towns will be able to fund vital municipal services like education and public safety."

In the last two budget cycles, the Democrat leadership has inserted amendments that continue to extend this moratorium, preventing our local communities from making any decisions on this issue. I support giving local communities the right to handle these problems, and I support allowing the 2011 law to operate as House leadership originally designed it.

5. Is there is a need to address the impact of corporate and individual contributions on political campaigns? Please explain why or why not. If you believe a change is required, what would you propose or support?

The last thing voters need is another big government bureaucracy micro-managing elections and their outcomes. In general, the best regulations aim for fairness, transparency, equitable treatment, and rules that are easily understood and implemented. As we see time-and-again with a complicated tax code, excessive complexity tends to favor those with large resources, who can "game the system" through a battery of lawyers and accountants taking advantage of technicalities embedded in page-upon-page of regulations.

The goal for any election regulations begins with transparency: Where contributions come from and how they are spent is information that should be readily available to all voters. An equally important principle is that of fairness. This can be achieved only when all parties agree to equitable treatment, rather than seeking special exemptions for their own supporters. For example, Big Labor bosses should not carve out special rules that favor their big money activities over those in modest circumstances such as families, small business owners, or voters in general.

Regardless of party affiliation, we should all agree with this nonpartisan standard: Politicians should never seek to impose government regulations for their own political benefit, or for the benefit of those special interests that support them.

6. Do you believe current Massachusetts gun laws adequately protect citizens? Are overly restrictive? Not restrictive enough? What changes would you like to see enacted?

The First Amendment protects the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. The Second Amendment protects the "right of the people to keep and bear arms." These two amendments are at the beginning of the Ten Amendments called the Bill of Rights, ratified in the earliest years of our nation.

None of these rights is absolute, yet all were cherished by the founding generation of Americans. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to take the greatest care when infringing upon the rights exercised by our fellow citizens.

As your State Representative, I take that burden very seriously. As a general rule, I start with the constitutional principle that "rights are retained by the people." Hence, the burden should not be placed upon citizens to prove that they may exercise this-or-that right; rather the burden should rest upon government and bureaucrats to establish the necessity of limiting or restraining our constitutional rights.

With this in mind, I believe the wisest and most effective laws respecting "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" are those that target criminals and criminal behavior, and any legislation with respect to firearms should begin with the practical idea of controlling crime and punishing criminals.

7. What are your top three legislative priorities for the coming year and how will you address them?

As I have emphasized throughout my campaign, my top priorities are reducing taxes, increasing local aid, and continuing to look at new ways to address the opioid epidemic.

While we have had some success at repealing taxes in recent years (notably, the automatic gas tax increases and the ill-conceived technology services tax), there is still much to be done to ensure our local economies remain competitive with nearby, tax free, Salem, New Hampshire. I will continue my fight to reduce our sales tax back to its 2009 rate of 5%.

Local aid has gone up every year since I first took office in 2011, and I plan to continue my advocacy for a more robust local aid program. I will continue to advocate diverting spending on controversial items, such as state benefits for illegal immigrants, to the local aid program. This will help our local communities pay for the services that matter most to everyday citizens--police, fire, public works, education--while allowing Beacon Hill to put downward pressure on local property taxes.

While we have done much to help our communities deal with the opioid epidemic, we can do more.


2nd Essex & Middlesex - MA State Senate

All Andover precincts are in this district, as well as precincts in Dracut, Lawrence, and Tewksbury.

Susan Laplante (R)
No Response Received


Barbara L'Italien (D)
Address: 5 Harper Circle, Andover MA
Occupation: State Senator
Education: Bachelor's Degree, Merrimack College
Campaign Website: http://www.TeamBarbara.com

1. What policies, if any, will you propose or support to promote social/racial justice in our communities?

As your current State Senator and before that a State Representative and Andover School Committee member, I care deeply about social and racial justice issues. I have been well known for my early support for marriage equality and other LGBTQ civil rights issues long before that was popular. I have also been a champion on behalf of people with disabilities, helping Massachusetts become a leader on autism insurance coverage and other important disability policy issues that families depend on. I will continue that leadership in the State Senate, and will work with my colleagues to advance the important causes of social and racial justice.

2. The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 requires Massachusetts to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to between 10-25% below statewide 1990 GHG emissions levels by 2020. What actions does the state need to take to reach that goal? What actions do the communities you serve need to take?

I am proud to have the endorsement of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, Clean Water Action, and the MA Sierra Club in my campaign for State Senate. These endorsements reflect my values. As a State Senator, I voted for a recently passed renewable energy bill that would lift the solar cap in order to expand solar capacity for individuals, businesses and municipalities in order to help them invest in solar energy. The bill we passed this session is just a start - we have more to do over the coming years to help the state lead by example and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet our goals.

3. Would you exempt any basic services for families from significant cuts as the legislature addresses the state's FY17 budget deficit? If so, which ones?

The state does so much important work - some of which gets headlines and others that don't often get headlines. I believe we must work to prevent budget cuts to programs that help families, kids, seniors, and people with disabilities. These programs, along with other vital safety net programs that combat opiate addiction and homelessness are truly vital. Our state budget is a reflection of our values, and as your State Senator that's why I filed amendments that would expand access to home care for senior citizens, to prioritize Alzheimer's funding and to bring public safety and economic development funding back to Andover, Dracut, Lawrence and Tewksbury.

4. OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits) refer to contractual commitments made to public employees for healthcare funding after retirement. Many Massachusetts communities are facing tremendous challenges related to the unfunded liability for OPEB. What suggestions do you have for how municipalities should address this need in their current annual budgets? What, if any, action should the state take?

The state should lead when it comes to OPEB; we need to find a solution to help cities and towns ease their unfunded pension liabilities while also not shifting the burden entirely to our retired teachers, police officers, firefighters, librarians, and other retired city and town employees. This is an issue I am actively working to find solutions for. I am hopeful that the Senate will convene a working group to help find a state-wide solution to the OPEB cost issue. In the meantime, I believe we should honor the service of our police officers, firefighters, and others by keeping our promise to them. This is a solution where every side should be willing to compromise, and I believe I can help work on this issue to find an equitable solution.

5. Is there is a need to address the impact of corporate and individual contributions on political campaigns? Please explain why or why not. If you believe a change is required, what would you propose or support?

I strongly support efforts to reform the amount of outside spending, especially from unnamed corporate donors, that is allowed to influence our elections. Just this past year as a State Senator, I voted to pass a new reform for Massachusetts where outside groups + no matter their political affiliation - have to disclose on any piece of mail for candidates the identities of their top five donors. While this fix doesn't go nearly far enough on its own, it's the kind of common sense solution that I support to help drive money out of politics. I have also cosponsored he resolution to reverse the Citizens United decision.

6. Do you believe current Massachusetts gun laws adequately protect citizens? Are overly restrictive? Not restrictive enough? What changes would you like to see enacted?

The issue of gun violence has gotten so much attention over the course of the past several years, and rightfully so. It's tragic to see senseless violence that has taken so many lives across the country. I am a legislator who believes that sportsmen and women should have access to firearms, but that we should have common sense protections like background checks and mental health screenings. In light of a recent decision made by Attorney General Maura Healey related to some firearms for sale in Massachusetts, I'm interested in hearing from more advocates and gun owners about what the right balance is here in Massachusetts.

7. What are your top three legislative priorities for the coming year and how will you address them?

1. Expanding Access to Home Care for Seniors: I have worked to educate my colleagues about the importance of investing in and expanding income eligibility to receive home care for seniors over the last two years in the Senate. Home care isn't just important for seniors because it allows them to be independent and age in their homes, it's also really important for familiesThis is a smarter, more cost effective use of Mass Health funding than nursing home placement.

2. Bringing Jobs & Economic Development to Andover, Dracut, Lawrence and Tewksbury: I spent the last two years learning the details about what's important for businesses large and small by touring the businesses and listening to the concerns from the people who own them, manage them, and work in them.

3. Education Reform & Enhancement: I believe we need to do the best for all of our public students and help them learn and grow with a true 21st century innovative education. I plan to work in my capacity as vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Innovative Education to find ways to create real reform that gives our cities and towns the funding they need.