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Hurd, Donnelly Facing Off for 4th District Senate Seat

July 13, 2008

By Jennifer Myers, The Sun, Lowell, Mass.

Jul. 13–BILLERICA — Two Arlington Democrats will face off for the 4th Middlesex District state Senate seat in the Sept. 16 primary.

Jack Hurd, 54, a four-term Arlington selectman, and Ken Donnelly, 57, a retired lieutenant with the Lexington Fire Department, are running for the seat now occupied by Sen. J. James Marzilli.

The 50-year-old Marzilli, of Arlington, faces charges of making lewd comments to four women in Lowell last month and will not seek re-election.

Donnelly has been to this dance before. He ran in last year’s special election to replace Sen. Robert Havern, D-Arlington, who held the seat for 16 years before resigning to take a job with a lobbying firm. Donnelly was pitted against Marzilli, then a state representative,

and two other sitting representatives, Rep. Charley Murphy of Burlington and Rep. Patrick Natale of Woburn.

Marzilli won the November primary, beating second-place Donnelly by 2,193 votes, and went on to win the general election against Billerica Republican Brion Cangiamila and Constitution Party candidate Tom Fallon of Burlington.

The 4th Middlesex District includes Arlington, Billerica, Burlington and parts of Lexington and Woburn.

Hurd, the cousin of former Billerica Selectman Ed Hurd, said he has seen the effects that diminished state aid and ballooning property taxes have had on municipal services and residents.

“The number-one priority is increasing state aid to the district,” he said. “We need to return to the

2002 levels. The lack of state aid really is a major issue with providing core services.”

Donnelly said he jumped into the fray this year because of the economic crisis crunching family budgets in the district and beyond, from gas and home heating oil to rising food prices.

“We have some real serious concerns that need to be addressed and, with my lifetime experience as a public servant, I want to dig in and help people out,” he said. “We need to focus on education so the children are prepared to take on the jobs of the future and we need to attract businesses into these communities to boost the tax base.”

The biggest difference between the two candidates is at the blackjack table. Donnelly supports Gov. Deval Patrick’s plan to bring resort-style casinos to the state as a source of revenue, while Hurd stands in opposition.

“I do not support the governor’s proposal because the numbers seem to be overly optimistic,” Hurd said, adding that he is concerned with how casinos would affect the state Lottery, which cities and towns rely on heavily for revenue.

“It is yet to be determined how they will distribute casino revenue,” Hurd said. “I would be open to additional proposals given the financial situation we are in.”

Donnelly disagrees, saying Patrick’s proposal includes a provision stating that any reduction in lottery revenue will be made up by the casinos.

“The state is projecting a $10 billion to $20 billion shortfall on infrastructure, and we have all these unfunded mandates being passed along to the towns,” he said. “We need revenue. Building casinos is good for jobs and the economy.”

Donnelly added that if the state does not jump on board with casinos, American-Indian tribes will build them and the state will be left empty-handed.

Both Hurd and Donnelly promise they will be a presence in Billerica if elected and have been reading up on the 348-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant proposed for North Billerica.

“At this point, with the knowledge I have, it doesn’t make sense,” Hurd said. “It is not something I would support. The revenue is significant, but there are too many environmental and health concerns that need further investigation before going forward with this type of project.”

Donnelly said he has read about the project and is concerned about safety issues.

“I want to make sure there is no negative impact on the community,” he said. “Concerns of overall safety issues need to be fully addressed.”

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Sun, Lowell, Mass.

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