Local Candidates Focus on Education at Hyannis Forum

hyannis-golf-clubHYANNIS – Almost a dozen candidates in local races participated in a forum yesterday in Hyannis for the Cape and Islands chapter of the Retired Educators Association of Massachusetts.

Candidates running in several races, including State Rep seats, State Senate, County Sheriff and Congress discussed their positions and focused heavily on education.

The chapter’s acting president Marge Burns says she was impressed with all of the candidates.

“Education is the basis for our country and without good, educated people the country will not run well,” said Marge Burns, the acting president of the Cape and Islands chapter of the Retired Educators Association of Massachusetts. “That’s essential.”

Burns said the goal of the forum was to get their members well informed on the candidates and their positions.

“This was our idea to get the candidates to us and hear exactly what they feel because a sign doesn’t tell you a lot,” Burns said.

Several candidates were asked how they would vote on the ballot questions for charter school expansion and the legalization of marijuana. All the candidates that answered, Democrats, Republicans and independents, expressed concerns with the expansion of charter schools and said they would vote no on question 2.

Voting against the legalization of recreational marijuana was also a stance agreed upon from all of the candidates.

Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings and his Democratic opponent Randy Azzato discussed the region’s drug issues and both believed educating youth about the use of drugs would help to keep citizens out of the Barnstable County Correctional facility.

Azzato said he would start a program in elementary schools in the county to educate students on the consequences of drug use.

Cummings discussed current programs to get inmates off drugs with the use of Vivitrol. He also talked about a program where searches are conducted in our schools to search for drugs to get them away from youth.

The two candidates running for the Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket State Representative seat participated.

Democrat Dylan Fernandes said he was for a tax increase on millionaires to help support the state’s schools.

Tobias Glidden, an independent candidate said he was against common core and believes teachers need to focus more teaching critical thinking to students and less teaching to tests.

Current state rep Tim Madden is not running for re-election and no Republicans entered the race.

Democratic candidate for the 2nd Barnstable State Representative seat Aaron Kanzer expressed his concern with expanding charter schools and would vote no on question 2 due to a lack of regulations.

Kanzer’s republican opponent Will Crocker discussed his background as a teacher and discussed recent work to educate inmates at the Barnstable County Correctional Facility to pass their high school equivalency exams.

Current state rep Brian Mannal is not seeking re-election.

Both candidates for the Cape and Islands State Senate, Republican Anthony Schiavi and Democrat Julian Cyr both said they would not vote for the expansion of charter schools or the legalization of marijuana.

Other candidates who participated were Mark Alliegro, a Republican running for Congress, and Republican state representative in the 3rd Barnstable District David Vieira.

The forum was held at the Hyannis Golf Club on Route 132.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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