In an article on December 24, 2016, The Barnstable Patriot interviews State Representative Elect Will Crocker on getting ready to start his new role.
It is a small class, with only about 16 new legislators, he said, noting that is unusual. “I’ve talked with a number of legislators who said their classes were like 50,” Crocker said.
Being the sole Republican in the class gave him some distinction, but he said everyone was friendly and respectful of one another.
“It’s a very collegial atmosphere but when you’re the only Republican it makes for some interesting conversation,” he said, smiling.
Despite any political differences legislators have, he said, “We’re all working for the common good here. We’re all trying to make sure the people we represent get the best of what we can do.”
The academy was extremely helpful, he said. “They take you through a lot of different topic areas, we had presentations from longstanding lawmakers about what to expect.” Among the topics covered were ethics, political campaign financing, what to expect as a lawmaker and the complex process of filing a bill.
Crocker is hoping to file some bills right off the bat.
“I have some ideas that I want to look at,” he said, one of them being the idea of tax breaks for people who are caregivers for members of their family,” he said. “People spend a lot of time and a lot of money.”
Crocker, who was elected in November, serves on the Barnstable Town Council and intends to keep his seat as councilor until his term expires in a year. Since he has given up his teaching position with the Bristol County House of Corrections, he feels confident he can do both jobs, representing Barnstable’s Precinct 6 on the town council and representing the 2nd Barnstable District in the State House. The district includes most of the town of Barnstable and two Yarmouth precincts.
Crocker, who lives in Centerville, has hired a legislative aide, Erin Buckley of Tewksbury. Out of 20 applicants, he interviewed seven, and “Ultimately chose the first person I interviewed,” he said.
Although he has yet to be sworn in, “We’re already kind of on the job, unofficially,” he said, noting he travels to Boston twice a week.
Crocker said he needs any sort of head start he can get, because once he gets sworn in on Jan. 4, he’ll have a little more than two weeks to file any bills he wants to initiate, as all bills must be filed by Jan. 20.
He also has yet to learn what committees he’ll be assigned to, although he has turned in a list of his preferences. “Transportation was one, because I most definitely want to be involved in the conversation on bridges. We’ve got two very old bridges on the Cape,” he said. He also hopes to serve on committees dealing with mental health and substance abuse; travel and tourism (“That’s key to this area”); and children and family, “because of the homelessness issue.”
Senior lawmakers get first preference, he noted, “But by being a member of the minority party I have a better chance,” he said. “There are 130 of them and only 30 of us.”
Crocker said he is looking forward to meeting with members of the Cape legislative delegation in January. Noting Rep. Sarah Peake, a Democrat from Provincetown, was one of the first people to call with congratulations when he won the election (defeating Democrat Aaron Kanzer), he said the group works together regardless of party affiliation.
“Ultimately we all work together for Cape issues.”