LEICESTER, Mass. — On Nov. 6, Leicester residents will decide whether to re-elect longtime incumbent State Rep. John J. Binienda (D-Worcester) or support challenger Bill LeBeau (R-Leicester), but after 26 years representing the 17th Worcester District Binienda aims to continue bringing his experience and serving his constituents.
Who do you support for state representative, John Binienda or William LeBeau?
The Daily Voice spoke with Binienda about his candidacy.
How will you support local business?
By doing what I've done for 26 years. I've given out 20-plus tax breaks to individuals and businesses over the last six years, and I also vote every year to give businesses a sales tax holiday, usually the second or third weekend of August, where the state eats the sales tax, and it ends up costing the state between $18 and $22 million to help the businesses during the slow time.
What would you do to help veterans in this district?
I am the number one state supporter of veterans. I proposed the Lilley Bill, named for Tom Lilley, a resident of Leicester, who was for many years commander of the Cherry Valley Post. That passed, and now we have more and more veterans able to get DAV benefits. I was able to do the Welcome Home Bill, which helped the veterans coming back from Iraq. And I was able to do the Ed Connolly Bill, which provides tax breaks to veterans and their families while they're serving. And this past year we passed the Valor Act.
What can you do as a legislator to create more jobs?
We passed an economic development bill that will provide grants and start-up money for new businesses. Also, veterans coming home can go into that fund to get money to start up businesses that they feel would be a success in their geographic area.
The Accelerate Road and Bridge Construction Act gets all these roads and bridges fixed at a faster pace. I'm very proud to say I was able to get the money to rebuild a bridge that's been under terrible repair in Leicester for the last probably 18 years, the Rawson Street Bridge.
How do you hope to address unfunded mandates?
We in the legislature make it a point not to pass unfunded mandates, because if I do something that cost money to the town or city, I try to pass it with the money to do it as part of the endeavor.
What do you bring to the race that your opponent doesn't?
Number one, experience. I know the job, I've done the job for 26 years and I don't need to be trained on the job and I have passed many pieces of legislation. As an example, when they tried to move the PIP (Persons In Peril) shelter to the Cherry Valley line, I stopped that program, because we did not need alcoholics and drug users in big, big numbers in an area that had five schools.
Experience is something that I have. I've done the job and I know the job, and I'm looking to be re-elected on Nov. 6.