WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Apple is asking weekly questions to the seven candidates running in contested primaries for the Wilmington/Tewksbury State Representative seat (19th Middlesex).Below, in her own words, are the responses to this week’s questions from candidate Judy O’Connell (D-Wilmington).#11a) Do you feel Massachusetts residents are over-taxed?Yes.#11b) How will you balance the need to provide government services to the taxpayers & fund the government with most taxpayers’ desire for no tax increases?There is no easy or short answer to this question as the Massachusetts state budget approaches a total of $41 billion dollars a year. In January 2018, the Baker-Polito administration submitted a FY19 budget proposal that attempted to keep state spending in line with revenue growth, to minimize reliance on non-recurring revenues, and to avoid tax or fee increases to balance the budget, while investing in key areas such as local aid, education, workforce development, substance misuse, mental health, housing, and transportation. Massachusetts has started the next fiscal year without a permanent budget in place after lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement in time. The 2019 fiscal year began July 1 and the Legislature passed an interim budget which will fund the state through the end of July. With the passing of this interim budget, there will be no disruption of any services in Massachusetts. As State Representative and member of the House of Representatives, I would be an active participant in this process and I would be advocating for the 19th Middlesex District with the taxpayers in mind while ensuring Wilmington and Tewksbury receive their fair share and any possible increases if possible in Chapter 70 funding and Unrestricted General Government Aid. These funds are critical to both communities in helping assist local government with providing the suite of services that people and families have come to expect and deserve. I would advocate for any available state grant money for any projects or initiatives that pertain to either community within the District on an annual basis.As a prior elected official on the School Committee and Board of Selectmen for the Town of Wilmington, I have always been fiscally conservative and have attempted to strike a balance in meeting collective bargaining agreements, supporting capital improvement projects, continuing the highest level of municipal services possible, supporting smart economic development within the community, maintaining a strong free cash position as recommended by the town’s financial advisors and supporting the Board of Selectmen annual vote of the maximum tax shift classification to help lessen the tax burden on the resident population. I intend to take this same balanced approach to Beacon Hill while recognizing we need to look at strategic ways to fund current and future services not always on the backs of taxpayers.#11c) Can you point to anywhere in the state budget where you believe there is waste, fraud or abuse? What will you do about it?As State Representative, I would become a scholar of the state budget and would always keep a watchful eye in looking for areas of improvement regarding waste, fraud and abuse. There are documented cases of abuse such as overtime costs, employee benefit cases, etc. for example and one could analyze areas of wasteful spending in every budget which I intend to do on a regular basis. Regarding fraud, I will be reviewing consistently the work done annually by the Office of the Inspector General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which is an independent agency charged with preventing and detecting fraud, waste and abuse in the use of public funds and public property. This Office investigates allegations in these areas at all levels of government; reviews programs and practices in state and local agencies to identify system-wide vulnerabilities and opportunities for improvement; and assists the public and private sectors to help prevent fraud, waste and abuse in government spending. There have been various reports released from the State Auditor’s office. For example, in April 2018, State Auditor Suzanne Bump released the annual report for her office’s Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI), which identified a record $16.9 million in public assistance benefit fraud in FY 2017, a 9% increase over the previous year. This marks the seventh straight year of increased findings according to the report which is not an indication of more fraud in these programs, but rather a reflection of the growing effectiveness of the agency and the expanded use of data analytics to identify fraudulent activities. According to this report, Bump’s office identified over $16 million in fraud, spread over 1,150 completed investigations. The majority of the fraud which was approximately $10.3 million or 61 percent was identified in the Mass Health program. There are other reported areas of fraud and as State Representative, I would do my part in helping to ensure these public benefit programs continue to be designed to provide the needed assistance to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents who truly need the help as many of the beneficiaries of these programs are children, disabled adults, veterans and seniors.#12) Former State Representative Jim Miceli was known through the district for his extraordinary constituent services. Do you pledge to provide a similar level of constituent services if elected? How will you be responsive to requests for help from residents of Wilmington and Tewksbury?Yes, if elected, I do pledge to provide the same extraordinary level of constituent services that State Representative Miceli provided that the people of the Wilmington and Tewksbury are accustomed to while looking for ways to enhance and improve these services provided in any manner possible. State Representative Miceli should be applauded for his hard work, commitment and dedication to constituent services on behalf of the 19th Middlesex District for decades and I would be honored to carry on his legacy in this regard if elected as the next State Representative.As State Representative, there are many ways to be responsive to the communities within the 19th Middlesex District. First, I will hold regular offices hours in both Wilmington and Tewksbury to be available to the public. I would make sure my contact information is widely publicized and my commitment is to be accessible and responsive to anyone within the District at all times. Some constituent service matters are highly sensitive and confidential and must be treated with the proper care and compassion they need and deserve. Sometimes in addition to taking care of the business at hand, people need a leader who listens and one who is trustworthy and provides a level of human service that goes beyond just being an elected official. I am committed to providing this kind of constituent service as I believe it is the right thing to do in taking care of the people and families that make up the fabric of our district that I have been entrusted to serve. Additionally, I intend to be very visible in both Wilmington and Tewksbury by attending as many events, community activities and town meetings as possible. I will be an active listener, a strong voice for the people and I will be willing to assist the residents of the 19th Middlesex District relative to any matter or need that they have. Constituent services can span across many areas and I would use the full weight of the office to be a supporter and advocate for the entire District including residents, local businesses and municipal town government. Providing the highest quality of constituent services as the next State Representative is of critical importance to me and I will work tirelessly on behalf of the 19th Middlesex District every day I am in office.(NOTE: Do you have a question for the candidates? Email email@example.com and it may be asked in a future Q&A or in a debate.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedSTATE REP RACE Q&A: Pina Prinzivalli Discusses Taxes, Being Responsive To ConstituentsIn “Government”STATE REP RACE Q&A: Judy O’Connell Discusses State Rep Pay, Environmental IssuesIn “Government”STATE REP RACE: Judy O’Connell Addresses Allegations Of Federal Tax Liens On Her HomeIn “Government”
Share your voice Music Online Comment Tags Taylor Swift’s Reputation tour lives forever and ever on Netflix How Taylor Swift flipped online fandom on its head for the better Some days social media is a laugh-a-minute whirlwind punctuated by puppy gifs, travel inspo and meme exchanges with your best online friends. Some days it is hell.It’s something global superstar Taylor Swift knows all too well.In an essay on turning 30 for the latest edition of Elle magazine, Swift opens up about how she copes with the massive amount of noise directed at her through social media platforms, and specifically how she deals with negative comments and trolls. Taylor Swift 1 It’s unlikely that any regular human being gets anything like the influx of notifications or comments that celebrities deal with. But as Swift explains, minimizing this is more than just about keeping the constant pinging to a minimum.”Social media can be great, but it can also inundate your brain with images of what you aren’t, how you’re failing, or who is in a cooler locale than you at any given moment,” she said in the essay.”One thing I do to lessen this weird insecurity laser beam is to turn off comments. Yes, I keep comments off on my posts. That way, I’m showing my friends and fans updates on my life, but I’m training my brain to not need the validation of someone telling me I look.”The question of how much of our ego and self-worth is tied up in validation from social media is relatable no matter how many, or how few followers, you might have. Whether you turn off comments and notifications or delete apps altogether for a while, everyone has their own way of getting a handle on those negative feelings — Swift included. “I think it’s healthy for your self-esteem to need less internet praise to appease it, especially when three comments down you could unwittingly see someone telling you that you look like a weasel that got hit by a truck and stitched back together by a drunk taxidermist. An actual comment I received once,” she said.For Swift, a successful woman, abuse and negativity are sad and still unavoidable side effects of putting herself out there. Keeping comments turned off is one way to block out “anyone who might feel the need to tell me to ‘go die in a hole ho’ while I’m having my coffee at nine in the morning,” she said.Swift is in the top 10 most-followed people across multiple platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. But for the reasons she herself has stated, it’s rare to see her engage with people directly through any of these services. Instead she tends to hang out on Tumblr, where she follows many of her fans. She often likes and sometimes comments on or reblogs their posts.But there have been times when Swift has disappeared from the internet altogether. In her essay, she described what it feels like when it feels like the internet turns completely against you.”A few years ago, someone started an online hate campaign by calling me a snake on the internet,” she said. “The fact that so many people jumped on board with it led me to feeling lower than I’ve ever felt in my life, but I can’t tell you how hard I had to keep from laughing every time my 63-foot inflatable cobra named Karyn appeared onstage in front of 60,000 screaming fans.”Unlike the other measures suggested by Swift, this might not be a practical solution for everyone dealing with internet bullying. But the point is to take a stand and make a statement in a way that allows you to laugh rather than feel bad about yourself.”It’s the Stadium Tour equivalent of responding to a troll’s hateful Instagram comment with ‘lol,'” she said. Related stories
The advertorial campaign done by Fusion Advertising on Voluntary Compliance Encouragement scheme (VCES), for the Central Board of Excise and Customs has won two of the most prestigious awards in the Ink Awards for Excellence in Newspaper Advertising viz.The Best Direct Response National Award is for effectiveness in communications . The eminent jury was of the opinion that the engagement campaign got into the shoes of the target audience engaged them and worked wonders. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The Best Copywriting Award which is significant as it is for copywriting across all categories-FMCG, Consumer durables, F & B, I.T, Retail, Telecom, Alok Jha, Additional Commissioner, Directorate of Publicity and Public Relations, CBEC and Shyam Bhargava, Managing Director, Fusion Advertising Services received the awards. They thanked the people and the Service Tax team for going ahead with the unconventional ideas. And added that without their approval, we could not have got the awards.