STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE -- Gubernatorial candidate Mark Fisher holds up Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as his modern-day role model, and has little esteem for the position of lieutenant governor. Fisher does not believe the South Coast Rail should be built, and is in favor of bringing the Olympics to Massachusetts as long as it "clearly benefits" the citizens.
Fisher and the other candidates for governor responded in January to a series of written questions from the News Service. His answers are presented in full below.
QUESTION: Marijuana activists are seeking to make the drug legal through the 2016 ballot process and want non-binding questions on the 2014 ballot. Do you believe marijuana should be legal and regulated similar to alcohol?
FISHER: No. Certainly, the use of doctor prescribed medical marijuana for the treatment of pain in patients is something altogether different. It is and should remain the prerogative of a doctor and a patient. The widespread use of marijuana is being experimented with in Colorado. Let's see how that plays out. They're running the experiment; let's wait for the results.
QUESTION: Officials in Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford have long sought commuter train access to their cities, while others have argued the $2.2 billion project would be too expensive to build and operate. If elected governor, would you commit to constructing and then operating the South Coast Rail?
FISHER: No. If commuter rail access into these communities was a feasible idea that could run without deficits it would attract the attention of business groups and investors. They would gladly take on a project that promised a return on their investment. However, only Big Government politicians would advocate for a project that while making themselves look good would only add to government deficits and squander taxpayer dollars.
QUESTION: A special commission is looking into the feasibility of making a bid for Massachusetts as a host of the 2024 Summer Olympics. Are you inclined to support an Olympic bid?
FISHER: Yes, but only if it clearly benefits the citizens of the commonwealth and doesn't burden them with additional costs. All too often politicians want the glamour of a big project without mentioning the associated big costs to the taxpayers.
QUESTION: What in your opinion is the most meritorious project in the Commonwealth that has not yet received the attention it deserves?
FISHER: The big step taken by former Lt. Governor Tim Murray to resign. We've learned that the Commonwealth is better off without a ceremonial position which only adds costs to the taxpayers. Now, we need to leverage what we've learned and eliminate similar ceremonial departments and get the savings back to the taxpayers.
QUESTION: Gov. Deval Patrick has taken steps to import more Canadian hydroelectric power, support Cape Wind and other wind and solar projects, while at the same time price has made natural gas a dominant source of electricity, pushing out coal. How would you seek to change the way Massachusetts residents receive electricity as governor?
FISHER: I will eliminate State involvement in this area. Free markets are best at determining the most efficient way of getting the job done. Politicians who impose their pet views are no different than the failed central planning idea of Communism. Haven't we learned from that failure?
QUESTION: The Legislature recently raised the gas tax 3 cents, linking future increases to inflation, and increased tobacco taxes as a way to pay for transportation and other budget priorities. Do you support the new taxes that are on the law books?
FISHER: No. I have signed a "No New Tax Pledge." It is the same pledge signed by former Governor Bill Weld. Massachusetts does not have a revenue problem; it has a massive spending problem.
QUESTION: Who is your political role model?
FISHER: There are too many to choose from: Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Lincoln, Sam Adams, John Adams, Washington. However, to pick a political role model that is dealing with the current problems similar to those here in MA I would have to choose Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker. Governor Walker is a conservative Republican providing conservative solutions to liberal failures in a blue, Democrat state. He is a straight forward, "tell it as it is" common guy who is popular with Democrats because he is unafraid to let them know where he stands on the issues.
QUESTION: What is your impression of how the casino and slot parlor licensing process has gone, and do you support the effort to repeal the gaming law?
FISHER: I am not a fan of Government sponsored gaming whether it be casinos or slot parlors. I think these establishments attract the worst elements in our society. I prefer to make MA a business friendly state so the our citizens can be employed at productive work rather than casinos. To be successful, Casinos must have as their purpose the separation of people from their hard earned money. That being said, is it any wonder why MA politicians like casinos so much?
QUESTION: Governors have in the past restructured the executive branch, consolidating or creating new secretariats. How would you change the executive branch if elected?
FISHER: There has been an overgrowth of new secretariats in the executive branch. A severe pruning is needed to revitalize the branch and make it more cost effective for the taxpayers.
QUESTION: In 2000, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot referendum to reduce the state's income tax from 5.95 percent to 5 percent by 2003, but in 2002, the Legislature froze the income tax at 5.3 percent and conditioned future reductions on economic growth triggers. As of Jan. 1, the income tax is now at 5.2 percent. Do you support the current system of lowering the income tax gradually as the economy grows?
FISHER: No. The current system ignores both the will of the people and the promise made to them that the income tax would be returned to 5%. If we can't trust our Government when it makes promises, then it's no use talking about anything else. So, as Governor I will ensure that the income is rolled back to 5%, where we were promised it would be, because government cannot lie to its citizens!