Cyr and Lyons Debate in Democratic Race for Cape and Islands State Senate Seat

debateYARMOUTH – The two Democrats running for the Cape and Islands State Senate seat discussed a number of issues including veterans’ services, homelessness and charter school at their debate on Wednesday night.

The forum was held at Yarmouth Town Hall and was sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

The debate featured Julian Cyr of Truro and Sheila Lyons of Wellfleet.

Cyr, who has a public health background and is leader of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth, said he knows how to get things done at the state level.

“I understand how to navigate the state house, how to navigate the senate, how you get things done with state agencies, how you advocate for a constituent,” said Cyr.

Lyons, a Barnstable County Commissioner and social worker, said she is ready to become state senator on day one.

“I am prepared to do this job, I am prepared to do it 365 days a year and 24 hours a day,” said Lyons. “I will be your senator and I will work hard to make a difference in this community.”

On the issue of the opioid epidemic, both agreed that there is a problem and it needs to be addressed with corrective action.

Lyons said that alcohol addiction is also very important on the Cape and Islands and said that legislators have to take a look at the problem.

Cyr said that there needs to be a more coordinated response and it needs to start with treatment, but he isn’t optimistic that the issue will be resolved until the problem is addressed appropriately.

Both Cyr and Lyons also agreed that the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth needs to be shut down.

Cyr said that he has worked with Provincetown State Representative Sarah Peake and the Cape Downwinders to address Pilgrim and that legislators have to have their eye on the ball on the swift decommissioning of the plant.

Although Pilgrim is scheduled to close by June 2019, Lyons said that action on Pilgrim needs to be taken right away.

“I think it should be closed sooner, it has vapors coming out of it, it is leaking into our water and now it will shut down and now it will shut down because of climate change, not because of the plant itself, but that’s another hazard that’s facing us,” said Lyons.

Increasing living wages on the Cape and Islands was also the topic of discussion during the debate.

Lyons said that wages are stagnant across the country and that it is a national and a tax problem.

Cyr said that it is a critical issue as he is a $15 minimum wage supporter and wants to tie the minimum wage to inflation.

“My friends who own markets, who own restaurants who are hiring people, they’re paying most of their employees $15 an hour anyways because that’s the going rate here and this is an issue that is really important,” said Cyr.

On a question about county government, Cyr said that he wants to move away from partisanship but Lyons said that the county is not partisan, but the problems with the county lie with the 25 year old charter.

The two also fielded questions on algae blooms and legislation they would be interested in introducing in the senate.

Barnstable Town Councilor Jim Crocker and retired Brigadier General Anthony Schiavi are running for the Cape and Islands State Senate seat as Republicans and will face either Cyr or Lyons in the November general election.

The primary is September 8.


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