Mike Franco Has Rappaport Seal of Approval
By Ed Oliver, Massachusetts News, September 2002 Print Edition
Mike Franco (R-Holyoke), 39, and a state co-chairman for the Fatherhood Coalition, is challenging first-term incumbent Michael Kane (D-Holyoke) for State Representative.
"I am running to be sort of a hawk, watching out for violations of people's individual rights and to add balance to the legislature. Right now it is a one party system. Absolute power corrupts. We need to have balance," Franco tells MassNews.
Jim Rappaport agrees. He said on the campaign trail recently in western Mass. that people like Mike Franco are needed to restore integrity and accountability to state government. "We need accountability in government. The best way to ensure balance, and to instill honesty and integrity in the process, is by voting in legislators like Mike Franco."
Franco says, "I want to help make a difference in Massachusetts. The state is out of control with too many laws that violate people's Constitutional rights -- laws that are built along the lines of political correctness and border on tyranny when implemented. That's got to stop." Franco offered as an example the 209A Restraining Order law.
Franco said he was disturbed recently when watching reserve police officers being sworn in at City Hall. "There was nothing in their oath that made them commit to upholding the Constitution of the Commonwealth or the Constitution of the United States government," he observed.
Franco said the hot issues in Holyoke for decades have been the economy, and keeping the streets safe and clean. Attracting small businesses and allowing them to thrive would help the economy, he said, because a lot of large manufacturers have moved out of the area.
Franco seems to be on to something. MassNews noticed that soon after Franco stepped out of his office with his election paraphernalia to campaign on the city streets, an Asian tavern owner came outside to enthusiastically greet him and placed a Franco sign in her window. At the same time, a black contractor stopped his truck and crossed the street to ask Franco if he supports small businesses. Franco spoke with him and the man requested a bumper sticker for his truck. "We have to throw the bum out we have now," said the man.
"Forty-three percent of registered voters in Holyoke are Democrats," says Franco. "But they do respond positively to conservative issues most of the time. Also, we have forty-eight percent independents. That's exactly what they are. They comprise a major swing vote toward a candidate like myself. Nine percent are Republicans, and they are very sure where they stand on the issues."
Franco believes government should be limited to basic functions like providing infrastructure such as roads that help create prosperity. He wants to work towards rolling back income taxes until they are eliminated completely. He applauds the efforts of libertarian Carla Howell in that area.
Franco condemns efforts by the legislature to derail ballot initiatives, whether he agrees with the particular issue or not. He believes the Protection of Marriage Amendment is the right way to go. He is a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment rights, along with responsible exercise of those rights. He thinks abortion is a bad choice, and irresponsible. He believes a father should have a say about whether his child can be aborted. He totally objects to partial birth abortion.
On education, Franco wants to encourage competition, spend education funds more wisely and demand more from teachers, but says teachers should be treated more professionally in return.
Court reform and holding judges accountable is high on Franco's agenda. He pointed out that in the family courts, discrimination against men and fathers is rampant. He supports a shared-parenting law in divorce cases involving minors.
Franco wants to work as a team with the mayor, the new police chief, Anthony R. Scott, who he described as a black conservative Republican, and the new school superintendent, Eduardo Carballo, who he said is a Cuban Republican that supports the Unz Initiative of total English immersion.
"I think we should move toward the Unz initiative, but am not sure we should go the whole way," said Franco.
"Bilingual education is a big issue for the Hispanic population," said Franco. He said Hispanics, who comprise 30 to 40 percent of the population in Holyoke, have had community meetings to discuss it and are split on the issue, but some people are undecided.
Franco said he would support a "two-way" bilingual program that all could benefit from, otherwise it is discriminatory.
"One thing that really bothers me is any government program that appears to discriminate against other races and so forth. For instance, I have a daughter named Victoria. She's four-and-a-half and English-speaking. I think if there is going to be bilingual education it should be offered to English-speaking kids too, to learn Spanish. Because Victoria, only knowing one language is going to be at a disadvantage when she goes out into the work force. I know, I have friends who are bilingual. A good friend from Westfield State College had the advantage because he was bilingual. He had his choice of jobs. He had a larger pool of jobs to choose from than I did because I'm not bilingual."
Franco has been in the Air Force Reserve for twenty years and holds the rank of major. He works as an administrative officer at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee.
"Michael Kane, first off, is not a veteran," says Franco. He has no clue about military service; yet, he has a free office in the basement of the Holyoke Soldiers Home. The Board of Trustees apparently approved it because he is well connected politically in the city of Holyoke.
"Anything that has the appearance of impropriety should be avoided. Apparently he doesn't understand what the appearance of impropriety is. We have some recent examples where Governor Swift was using a state trooper helicopter and was using her aides to watch her kids. Those things have an appearance of impropriety.
"You would think that state officials would have learned from that and reneged on any kind of sweet deal like he's got going at the Soldiers Home. The veterans are outraged because he gets over six hundred dollars a month for a district office here in Holyoke and he takes that office for free, which is down in the basement next to the morgue. Who is going to visit him here? He has no office hours.
"Right away I differentiated myself by establishing an office on High Street in Holyoke paid for out of my own pocket. This state has such a high tolerance for corruption. I think we as a people should be more vigilant of that and vote politicians in who will not sink to that level."
Franco was born in Springfield and grew up nearby in East Longmeadow. He has lived in Holyoke for eight years. He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Management from Westfield State College and a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Texas.
People can go on the web to www.franco2002.org for more information.