30 Questions & Answers
from the MA04 Democratic Congressional Candidates
AUGUST 10, 2020: With the Massachusetts primary election in just a few weeks, Senator Rausch collected 30 yes-or-no questions from constituents in the congressional district and posed those questions to the nine Democratic candidates running to represent MA04 in Congress.
Five candidates timely submitted responses: Dave Cavell, Alan Khazei, Natalia Linos, Jesse Mermell, and Ben Sigel.
Jake Auchincloss and Chris Zannetos declined to answer the survey.
Ihssane Leckey indicated an interest in responding but did not complete the survey.
Becky Grossman did not respond.
The yes/no answers are posted below. Candidates were also provided an opportunity to explain any of their answers. Explanations appear beneath the yes/no responses.
Voters, remember you can vote by mail or vote in person! The State Primary is Tuesday, September 1, 2020, and the General Election is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
Please note: the yes/no table responses may be more easily viewed on a laptop or tablet. To view on a mobile device, click the expand arrow next to each number to see the question text and the candidates' responses.
UPDATES SINCE ORIGINAL POSTING:
August 13, 2020 - Dave Cavell withdrew from the race and endorsed Jesse Mermell for Congress.
August 23, 2020 - After a significant number of requests for an endorsement from the people who elected her to lead, Senator Rausch endorsed Jesse Mermell for Congress.
August 26, 2020 - Chris Zannetos withdrew from the race and endorsed Jesse Mermell for Congress.
EXPLANATIONS AND CONTEXT
Q2. Will you actively advocate for debt-free college for all, including undocumented immigrants?
BEN SIGEL: No. I believe in creating a universal income-based federal loan repayment plan, where we cap federal college loans at a small fixed percentage of the student’s post-graduation income - likely in the 5-8% range, free college tuition for low-income students and highly-subsidized tuition for middle-income students to attend 4-year colleges, free tuition for low and middle-income students to attend 2-year community colleges, and DACA and undocumented immigrants get in-state tuition prices
Q3. Will you actively work to shift our mostly-privatized child care industry to a public system, as was done for K-12 education?
BEN SIGEL: Yes. I believe in universal pre-school for 2-5-year-olds and expanding Early Head Start programs for our most vulnerable families.
Q4. Do you believe federal funds should be spent on police in schools?
BEN SIGEL: No. Not as everyday security, but in times of emergency and need.
Q5. Do you believe the practice of military recruitment in schools should be continued?
ALAN KHAZEI: I serve on the bipartisan federal commission on Military, National, and Public Service, the final report of which recommends growing voluntary national service to one million people and returning robust civics education and service-learning to our schools. We should be exposing high school students to a variety of service opportunities both civilian and military, so that young Americans are provided with a complete array of opportunities to serve their community and country, should they wish to.
BEN SIGEL: No. Only if allowed during organized student career and college fairs, and treated similarly to any other higher education institution or employer participating in such a fair. No to unrestricted access at the schools for recruitment.
Q14. Would you support cutting funding for the Department of Defense by 10% and reallocating those funds to Social Security, education, or other benefits or aspects of the social safety net?
BEN SIGEL: No. I am absolutely in favor of potentially cutting funding to the DOD, but we must fully audit the DOD first and base any cuts on analysis and evidence and not a random %. The percentage cut might be even higher at 20 or 25%, but it must be based on data.
Q16. Do you support a Constitutional Convention to overturn Citizens United?
BEN SIGEL: Yes. I am entirely in favor of overturning Citizens United and to use such a constitutional convention to get Congress to act, but I would be very leary that such a convention might allow Republicans to add elements to the convention that could hurt the American people.
Q29. Do you pay your campaign fellows?
ALAN KHAZEI: Young people are not just future leaders, they’re leading today. I’m excited that I have young people leading all aspects of our campaign. To ensure that our fellows have a powerful civic education, change-agent, and activist experience, I worked with my team to design a “Democracy Fellowship” for our college and high school volunteers. We’ve brought in numerous guest speakers including former Gov. Mike Dukakis, State Rep. Jeff Roy, Newton City Councillor Holly Ryan, and so many others.
Q30. Do you pay your campaign staff a minimum of $15 per hour?
NATALIA LINOS: No. We don't have traditional campaign staff. Our leadership team is composed of mid-career professionals, many between jobs having recently completed graduate programs, or working their normal jobs in parallel. We have hired 3 paid consultants for short contracts to provide some discreet technical support that we didn't have among our ~300 volunteers. I am so grateful for our volunteer-based grassroots campaign.