Friday, October 19, 2012

2012 Update: Mass 6th Hampden District Debate, Lincoln Blackie (I-MA) versus Mike Finn (Incumbent-D) – Blackie Hammers Finn On Record and Issues

Lincoln Blackie – Independent Candidate for MA 6th Hampden District - Image:

The Massachusetts State House and Senate, is, for the most part, controlled by the Democrat Party with a stunning majority, although the Commonwealth ‘s party affiliation if made up of over 51% unenrolled, or “Independents”, a fact that is often overlooked or downplayed. The two-party system that exists in most states does not give an Independent a great deal of encouragement to run for public office, however, in Massachustts that may not be the case. Lincoln Blackie, , an independent, and first time candidate, is running for the Massachusetts House, 6th District seat, against incumbent, Michael Finn (Mike Finn) a party line Democrat.

The debate, sponsored by the West of The River Chamber of Commerce, was characterized as a bit contentious by the Springfield Republican (MasssLive)which headlined the debate as follows: “State Rep. Michael Finn, challenger Lincoln Blackie trade knocks in 6th Hampden District debate”. The Blackie campaign issued a press release on the candidates’ positions and issues addressed during the debate -issues facing the 6th Hampden District and the Commonwealth as a whole (excerpts follow):

“Blackie pressed Rep. Finn on jobs, taxes, education, local aid and wasteful spending

Blackie supports cutting taxes, reducing regulations and providing incentives to make Massachusetts more attractive and for businesses to grow and create jobs.

Asked about the impact of a gaming casino on area communities, Finn said voted for it because it would create jobs, and referred to various reports on the impact to crime, demands on infrastructure, services and housing.

Blackie who has a degree in public administration and another in regional planning, cited a case study he did at Westfield University stating, “casinos are not a job creator.” Most of the good jobs are a one-time shot and the jobs created are not middle class jobs. The effect of a casino on area small businesses and jobs over time has a negative impact.

Blackie asked Finn about the unemployment rates in West Springfield, Chicopee and Springfield. Mr. Finn said he did not know. Mr. Blackie told the audience the rate for West Side was 7.1 percent, Chicopee 7.8 percent and Springfield was over 11 percent and that the area had lost 3000 jobs in August. Blackie also cited a local businessman who told him he only needed one license twenty years ago when he started his business, but today needs ten licenses and ten licenses for each of his employees, which is a hurdle to hiring people.

Blackie asked Mr. Finn why he had not filed any legislation after voters in the district overwhelmingly voted for a 2010 ballot question supporting lowering the sales tax to 5%.

On the question of education, Blackie who attended West Side public schools says he supports teachers using their judgment and creativity to adjust to their students and not be forced into a box teaching to a test. Blackie asked Finn why he voted to cut education funding by $70 million while in state tuition rose by $400 a year. Finn stated he did not know where those numbers were coming from. Blackie referred to the state budget.

Blackie also questioned Finn on accepting donations from lobbyists. Finn responded by saying you need money to get your message out to voters and dismissing the notion donations from lobbyists and special interests would affect his voting.

Blackie pressed Finn on the issue of real cuts to education, local aid and claiming to balance the budget after taking into account spending money coming from one-time stimulus funds and withdrawing four hundred million dollars from the stabilization fund.

Blackie questioned the focus of legislators in Boston when spending on transportation and economic development tends to be on projects east of Route 495 including a $49 million bailout of the MBTA. Finn said he was against the bailout before he voted for the final package. Blackie criticized the wasteful spending and abuse of the Authority and said every dollar wasted could have gone to real improvements.”

Lincoln Blackie’s question of Mike Finn on the filing of Legislation in support of the referendum to cut the sales tax, that was widely supported in “Taxachusettts”, was of note – The official Massachusetts Legislature Page for Mike Finn depicts a State Legislator who is not quick to sponsor bills, having sponsored (written) two – the two bills, Finn has written as well as those he has supported (co-sponsored) are available here at

In addition to Blackie’s questioning of Finn’s knowledge and vote on the
FY2013 Budget, (as well as the tendency for State Rep. Finn, to vote the party line – Finn was involved with the budget process throughout, and the roll call (here in PDF) supports Lincoln Blackie’s assertion.

Those who are living in Massachusetts understand the chance is, at times, rare to be able to vote for a non-Democrat, an Independent is more of a rarity, as those Libertarian and Independents tend to run as either Republicans or Democrats in order to take advantage of the party identification. Lincoln Blackie, as an independent, would bring a sense of balance to the Massachusetts State House.

For more information on Lincoln Blackie’s campaign for the Massachusetts Legislature, Hampden 6th District, visit: < a href="">


Dan said...

Lincoln Blackie did a great job at the debate. He was prepared and raised good questions.

On the question of spending priorities, Finn admitted he voted against the $49 million bailout for the MBTA, before he voted FOR it.

Finn did not know the unemployment rates for any of the cities he represents.

Finn cited studies on the impact of gaming casinos on area communities. Blackie, who has a degree in regional planning, actually conducted a study at Westfield University, concluding that the jobs are a one time shot and casinos are not a job creator, eventually having a negative impact on area businesses.

Blackie is a smart, hard working young man. Very impressive.

Maryellen said...

Lincoln Blackie obviously offers Mass. residence's a good choice. Finally, we can support an independent thinker and someone who won't take his marching orders from the democratic party. This is an important time in our State's and Country's history and we have to stop sending the same old mind set to Boston. Blackie has a command of our regions problems and is willing to tackle the tough issues. We need to give him our support!

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