by Crier Correspondent Dan Hall
TEWKSBURY/WILMINGTON – The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) published a scorecard on Massachusetts legislators on August 27th evaluating their voting records on issues important to employers. This bi-yearly report ranked local Rep. James Miceli the lowest in Massachusetts, coming in with an evaluation of just 50 percent.
The highest scoring legislators achieved scores of 89 percent, and the median score was a 67 in the Senate and a 78 in the House. By contrast, Paul Adams and Jim Lyons both scored 67 and retiring Charles Murphy scored 80 in the report.
AIM evaluated how legislators voted on ten legislative items identified as key economic and public policy issues.
“Before we focus on the scores, it’s important that we look first at the issues – the measures on which legislators cast their votes,” said John R. Regan, AIM’s Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, in a statement accompanying the study. “These are substantive issues, votes that actually make a differences for the business climate and for employment opportunities. We don’t care about designating a state muffin.”
Miceli’s challenger, Tewksbury selectman Doug Sears’ campaign raised the issue, sending out press statements on the scorecard, and Miceli’s score, to local media.
Miceli scored negatively Municipal Health Reform, Child-Care Workers Unionization, Health Care Cost Containment, and Health Insurance Mandates. The issues that AIM scored rep Miceli positively for were Unemployment Insurance Rate Freeze 2011 and 2012, and the State Government Finance Reform proposal. Rep Miceli did not vote on the Fair Share assessment issue, and was not evaluated positively or negatively for it.
When asked to comment on the AIM report, Miceli remarked that he has traditionally been one of the top scorers in the AIM rankings, and that one year should not be indicative of his overall performance as a legislator. Miceli later stated that he had a good relationship with AIM and that if contacted they would say that James Miceli was always a good legislator.
Miceli stated that “What is good for AIM is not always good for everyone.” Miceli said that his loyalties are to his constituents, and the issues that are best for the Associated Industries of Massachusetts would not necessarily be good for the residents of Wilmington and Tewksbury. Concerning the Child-Care Workers Unionization issue, Miceli clarified his point and pointed out that he voted for child care workers to have the option to vote themselves into unionization, not for their express unionization. Miceli stated that he is interested in looking out for the residents of Wilmington and Tewksbury, and feels like his vote on this issue best represents his constituents.
Miceli also stated that the Hospital Bill would be harmful to his constituents and not good for his party, and debated this issue on the floor of the House of Representatives. Miceli stated that the health care bill would have hurt his constituents and that voting for it would have let his supporters and those he represents down.
“My opponent voted against the position of employers in three bills important to AIM,” said Tewksbury Selectman Doug Sears, who is challenging Miceli in the House race this year, in a statement, citing the Municipal Health Reform bill, the Home child-care workers unionization, and the Health Care Cost Containment bill. Sears stated he would have voted ‘yes’ on those items along with the Fair-Share Assessment Reform, which he would have supported. All four items were passed in the House and the Senate and signed into law by the Governor.
In the report, AIM states that the scores for the 2011-12 session are higher than those of 2009-2010, especially in the House, and much better than the results for 2007-2008. “These are the best numbers we have seen in the ten-year history of our Scorecard, along with 2005-2006,” Regan said, adding that there were fewer low scorers than ever before.
Established in 1915, AIM is the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan association of Massachusetts employers. AIM’s mission is to promote the wellbeing of its members and their employees and the prosperity of Massachusetts by working to improve the economic climate of the state, advocating for fair and equitable public policy, and providing relevant information services.
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