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Election could have profound effect on Cape and Islands

No Cape and Islands subject has impacted the governor’s race like the controversial proposal by Cape Wind to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound.

Tuesday’s election for governor could have a profound effect on the Cape and Islands, from issues like Cape Wind to immigration to property taxes.

Democrat Deval Patrick and Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey are the clear front-runners, but independent Christy Mihos and Green-Rainbow candidate Grace Ross have livened up the debate.

As the campaign winds down, here are some of the issues that resonated on the Cape and Islands this election season:

The Wind Farm

No Cape and Islands subject has impacted the governor’s race like the controversial proposal by Cape Wind to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound.

Patrick was the first candidate for governor to endorse Cape Wind, announcing his support before he won the Democratic primary in September. Healey made her opposition to the wind farm a centerpiece of her Cape political visits.

Healey appeared at Keyes Memorial Beach in Hyannis last summer, saying the wind farm would “mar” Nantucket Sound and disrupt the Cape’s tourism and fishing industries. On the flip side, she said it would enrich a private developer.

“This project is not about clean air,” she said. “It’s about buckling in to special interests.”

Besides providing clean energy, Patrick... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Tuesday’s election for governor could have a profound effect on the Cape and Islands, from issues like Cape Wind to immigration to property taxes.

Democrat Deval Patrick and Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey are the clear front-runners, but independent Christy Mihos and Green-Rainbow candidate Grace Ross have livened up the debate.

As the campaign winds down, here are some of the issues that resonated on the Cape and Islands this election season:
      

The Wind Farm
 
No Cape and Islands subject has impacted the governor’s race like the controversial proposal by Cape Wind to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound.

Patrick was the first candidate for governor to endorse Cape Wind, announcing his support before he won the Democratic primary in September. Healey made her opposition to the wind farm a centerpiece of her Cape political visits.

Healey appeared at Keyes Memorial Beach in Hyannis last summer, saying the wind farm would “mar” Nantucket Sound and disrupt the Cape’s tourism and fishing industries. On the flip side, she said it would enrich a private developer.

“This project is not about clean air,” she said. “It’s about buckling in to special interests.”

Besides providing clean energy, Patrick said, the wind farm would spark a new industry in Massachusetts.

“I think the next thing for us in Massachusetts is going to be cultivating an industry around alternative and renewable energy – the technology, the products, the services,” Patrick said during an early debate among the Democratic candidates in Cambridge last spring. “If we get that right, the whole world is our customer.”

While the ultimate fate of the wind farm will be decided by federal regulators, the next governor could be a powerful lobbying force, pro or con.
       
Should the wind farm prevail, the governor could seek to kill or slow down the project in court, with the cooperation of the next attorney general.

Ross supports the wind farm, while Mihos opposes it.

“We think it matters,” Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers said of the election. “Mitt Romney was quoted at one time saying he was going to use every power available to him and his office to block the Cape Wind project. Obviously, that’s not helpful. To contrast that, if Deval Patrick is elected, with that a governor that sees great potential in the project, in making Massachusetts a leader in clean offshore energy, that’s a pretty strong contrast.”
      

Immigration

Immigration wasn’t just a national issue in this year’s elections. Healey made it a major part of her platform, opposing in-state tuition and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

Last week, she made a campaign stop in Sandwich with Rep. Jeffrey Davis Perry, R-Sandwich. Perry plans to file an omnibus immigration bill that would deny a host of state benefits to illegal immigrants, including public housing and assistance for higher education.

Patrick supports in-state tuition for immigrants, saying it would affect a small number of high school graduates, many of whom were brought here as young children.
          
While Patrick has supported driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, he says the point is moot. In 2008, the federal government will require all states to check the immigration status of people applying for a driver’s license.
  

Mihos opposes such benefits for illegal immigrants, while Ross has portrayed the issue as a diversion from questions about the economy, education and public safety.

The debate over illegal immigration grew to a crescendo as Sandwich town voters considered, and then indefinitely postponed a vote on a proposal to revoke the license of businesses that are caught employing illegal immigrants.

The controversy also comes at a time when the Cape and Islands have a growing, year-round population of legal and illegal immigrants. Healey called it a matter of fairness to the construction trades on Cape Cod, saying they were being undercut by low wages to illegal immigrants.


Education
 

While Healey and Patrick have sparred over MCAS – Patrick insists he backs it as a graduation requirement, while Healey says he would water down MCAS – the two definitely part ways on charter schools.

Healey said in a recent debate that all schools in the state should become charter schools. Patrick favors keeping a cap on the number of charter schools until the state comes up with a new way to pay for them. Patrick said the current formula is hurting funding for public schools.
      

Crime
 
Healey’s searing television ads against Patrick for his prior support of convicted rapist Benjamin LaGuer dominated the crucial mid-October stretch of the campaign. According to polls, it backfired, with Healey losing support.

Patrick has pledged to put 1,000 new police officers on the street. Healey has highlighted her role in the Romney administration in strengthening drunken driving, sex offender and gang violence laws.

Patrick mocked Healey’s credentials as a criminologist, instead offering his own experience as the chief of the Justice Department’s civil rights division in the Clinton Administration.

While Healey calls him soft on crime, Patrick says he is the only candidate who has ever put someone in prison. But Healey challenged him to name a case he has personally prosecuted in a courtroom. Patrick did not answer the question directly in last week’s final televised debate, saying he made important decisions on charges and sentencing while leading a division of prosecutors.
     
  
Property taxes and state fees

Early on, Patrick tapped into voter frustration over property taxes, school bus and sports fees, and cutbacks in local services. He opposes completing the final stage of the voter-approved income tax rollback, from 5.3 percent to 5 percent, saying it would hurt local funding.

Patrick said he would give local aid incentives to towns that offered property tax relief. He also proposed greater tax breaks to seniors and low- and moderate-income homeowners.

Healey shot back that Patrick’s tax proposal would only save homeowners only $50 a year.

Healey supports the state income tax rollback, saying it will spur the economy and put money back in taxpayers’ pockets. She vowed to offer property tax relief by reforming municipal pensions and putting city and town employees in the state employee health care system.

“When we roll back taxes for working families and small businesses, and many small businesses pay that individual income tax rate, we will get a return on our investment in Massachusetts,” Healey said in their last debate. “We may be taking that money off the table so that the Legislature can’t spend it, but we are not taking it off the table. It will be spent here in Massachusetts. It will create economic growth.”

Patrick said the money belonged to taxpayers, but the rollback would have consequences by costing the state $700 million in lost revenue.

“It is also your broken roads and your overcrowded schools and your broken neighborhoods,” he said.

For election night results, log on to www.ack.net, and for complete local coverage, pick up Thursday's Inquirer and Mirror.


Source: http://www.ack.net/Election...

NOV 5 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/5618-election-could-have-profound-effect-on-cape-and-islands
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