BY: BERA DUNAU
Jacob Ventura is running for the Bristol and Norfolk Massachusetts state senate district focused squarely on fiscal conservative priorities.
“My number one priority is making sure that the taxpayers of Massachusetts have an advocate on Beacon Hill,” said Ventura.
And even though he still has a Republican primary to win, he says that his focus is already on the general election.
“I fully intend to be the next senator,” he said.
The Bristol and Norfolk District is currently being contested by Democrats Ted Phillips and Paul Feeney, Independents Joe Shortsleeve and Janet Kennedy and Republicans Mike Berry, Tim Hempton, Harry Brousaides and Ventura. The primary for the seat is schedule for Sept. 19 with the general election set for Oct. 17.
The seat opened up this year after Sen Jim Timilty, D-Walpole, resigned to take the Norfolk County Treasurer’s position.
“I think we’re going to win,” said Ventura. “We have a great team of supporters and staff.”
Ventura, 30, is the youngest candidate in what is already a young field. Yet the Attleboro-based attorney is claiming he is the most qualified candidate in the race.
“I think I am the only candidate with the extent of public and private sector experience,” he said.
Born in New Bedford, Ventura grew up in a working-class family, and is a first-generation college graduate. A 2009 graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth with a degree in finance, Ventura worked at J.P. Morgan Chase before entering public service.
He currently serves as an aide to Rep. Steven Howitt, R-Seekonk, having previously served in this position from 2011-13 before leaving to attend the Washington and Lee University School of Law, which awarded him a degree last year.
Ventura has also done work for U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the Department of Defense and the Department of the Interior. Additionally, he served on Dartmouth’s Finance Committee and in its representative town meeting, and has been active in the political campaigns of a number of Massachusetts Republicans.
Budget reform is a central focus of Ventura’s campaign, and he asserted that cuts can be found in the state budget across the board.
“I’d like to see an independent review, stem to stern of the entire budget,” he said.
He also expressed support for moving people off MassHealth and onto the health plans of employers.
“A quarter of Massachusetts citizens are currently collecting MassHealth,” he said. “That’s not sustainable.”
Ventura did say that local aid was one area where the state could look to spend more.
When it comes to taxes, Ventura has a simple position. “I’m opposed to any new taxes,” he said. “Not a dime.”
As such he is opposed to the so-called “millionaire tax” that will be on the ballot in 2018, as well as the recently passed marijuana compromise that raised the tax rate on recreational marijuana.
“The people voted on a particular tax rate,” said Ventura. “It’s Beacon Hill coming in and not respecting the will of the voters.”
Ethics is another important issue for Ventura, and he is advocating for a one year “cooling off” period between a legislator retiring and taking a job with the state, with exceptions including an appointment by the governor.
When it comes to the issue of the pilot to extend weekday commuter rail service to Foxboro, Ventura has come out in opposition.
“As it stands now I am against the line,” said Ventura. “The numbers just don’t add up.”
Ventura has been endorsed by Howitt, as well as by Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk. He has also garnered the support of Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson.
Hodgson is known as a hardliner on the issue of immigration and, on the immigration issue, Ventura said that he is opposed to the concept of both sanctuary cities and sanctuary states.
Ventura is a member of the Wampanoag Aquinnah Tribe. If elected, he said he would be the first-ever member of a federally recognized tribe to be elected to the Massachusetts legislature. Still, he said this milestone is far from his mind.
“While I realize the historical significance I’m here to do a job and it’s for the people of these communities,” Ventura said.
Ventura’s policy positions can be found on his website, jacobventura.nationbuilder.com.