A lot of times we hear from candidates who want to "increase local aid.” In our local race for State Representative, Jim Lyons' actions on Beacon Hill don't back up the claims he makes to his constituents back home.
Last week Mr. Lyons and his opponent, Barbara L'Italien, met for a debate at Memorial Hall Library. Several times during their exchange, Mr. Lyons made the claim that he supports increasing local aid. However, as Ms. L'Italien pointed out multiple times, Lyons’ record does not support this claim.
As our State Representative for the past two years, Lyons was the only State Representative - Democrat or Republican - to vote against a state budget that actually increased local aid to our cities and towns. As Ms. L'Italien pointed out, Jim Lyons filed an amendment to eliminate millions of dollars providing school-based health services. The elimination of these services would dramatically reduce certain programs at our public schools, including those that provide our school nurses.
Mr. Lyons tried to defend his attempt to eliminate these line items because he disagreed with the way some of the other monies in the budget were being used, yet offered little detail. Ms. L'Italien accurately challenged Jim Lyons and said that it is not logical to take a sledgehammer to items in the budget that have nothing to do with what you are protesting. Lyons's narrow agenda does not line up with the priorities of our community.
Jim Lyons has spent two years telling us he supports local aid, but his record suggests that he doesn't understand how programs benefit Merrimack Valley towns. That Lyons would go further and target critical programs for our children in pursuit of his ideological agenda shows he is incapable of truly improving the efficiency of government. Lyons's priorities seem to me to be misguided. We need to elect a candidate who understands what it means to truly advocate for Merrimack Valley communities, and that would be Barbara L’Italien.