Many college students are involved in campus politics, but University of Massachusetts Lowell sophomore Jonathan Loya is shooting for Beacon Hill.
The 19-year-old from Holliston, Mass. has announced his decision to run for Massachusetts State Representative of the Middlesex Eighth District. Loya is a political science major at UMass-Lowell and a member of the Libertarian State Committee. He feels he can make an impact as a member of the state legislature.
“I could bring a new infusion of ideas and a new jumpstart of youth to Beacon Hill,” he said. “I can help bring a new face to politics within a state.”
Loya is in the process of completing his nomination papers and obtaining signatures. He hopes to be officially on the ballot within a month, facing off on Nov. 2 against Carolyn Dykema. The incumbent and fellow resident of Holliston is twice Loya’s age.
Loya said he does not believe his age to be a factor against him. He mentioned names such as Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Mozilla Firefox founder Blake Ross as examples of successful individuals who made a large impact at a young age.
“It’s not actually youth that inhibits success,” said Loya. “It’s the policies that people put forth and enact that determine if they sink or swim in the world of politics.”
Loya believes that as an independent candidate, he can bring a new thought process to a two-party-driven Beacon Hill.
“Right now we have two major parties in Beacon Hill, but nothing really productive has come of having the two-party system,” he said. “Running as independent and as a conservative candidate, I feel I can bring a more fiscally responsible candidate to Beacon Hill that can help change our state’s budget shortfall.”
Loya’s plan for reviving the state budget does not involve an increase in taxes. It instead centers around a study released by the Beacon Hill Institute of Suffolk University. The study introduces the concept of TEL, a tax and expenditure limit. Loya said that according to the study, had Massachusetts chosen to adopt TEL in 1999, the state would have an additional $2.5 billion dollars in its budget.
In addition, Loya would push for the creation of private-sector jobs and small businesses because “that’s where most of our business and revenue comes in from.”
Two other issues shape Loya’s campaign. One deals with a revision to education curriculums taught in public schools. A graduate of Holliston public schools, Loya feels that there is too strong an emphasis on test-prep classes.
“Most studies show that students who participate in fine arts actually stat-wise do better on test scores, such as the MCAS or SAT,” he said. “If I went down to Holliston High School right now, there’s maybe one or two music study courses being offered or a couple of drawing classes. But over a course of a year, [there are] maybe 12 to 15 essay writing classes being taught.”
Loya said that he felt these classes were still important to keep in the curriculum, but that they should be balanced with other classes in all subject areas.
“Classes should spend time on different categories that help for the test,” he said. “But they shouldn’t spend a majority of the entire class or a semester studying to prepare for some sort of test. That’s not what a well-rounded education is.”
Loya’s final issue pertained to the need to maintain clean water in Holliston.
“Back in 2005, there were two incidents of E. coli getting into the well water supply,” said Loya. “A recent report came out on Feb. 12 by the Chairman of the Board of Water Commissions which said that out of six wells in Holliston, five have significant problems.”
“If I did get elected, I would propose to make sure that every well that still has issues has some sort of filtration system or some sort of oxidation system,” he said.
Loya offered another solution that involved a “more cost effective” process called sequestration. At the well head or pump intake, chemicals are added to the water before it is exposed to the air. This would get rid of manganese and iron, said Loya.
The candidate transferred to UMass-Lowell for his sophomore year, and commutes there every weekday. Last year, Loya attended Assumption College in Worcester, but said it was not the right fit for him to pursue his interests in political science and music.
Loya has been playing a variety of musical instruments for over 10 years, which include saxophone, tenor sax, clarinet, guitar and piano.
If elected, Loya would continue commuting to UMass-Lowell. He said that the school’s online courses and flexible schedule would allow him to have entire days of the week free from classes.
On his website, the candidate said he plans to attend law school after getting his bachelor’s degree.
Chris Shores can be reached at email@example.com.