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A blank ballot from the General Election in 2008. A similar ballot will be issued next week for Massachusetts voters. Photo by Tennis-Bargains.com

by Tessa Dinnie

Most Hudson High students don’t have the privilege to vote in this year’s election, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have an opinion on any of the issues. Last week, I did a feature on Physician Assisted Suicide, a question on Massachusetts’ ballot this year. It’s a controversial topic that has many pros and cons to it.

Knowing that several classes have talked about the issue around the school, I decided to do a survey on how they would vote on the issue if they could. The two questions on the survey were “ Do you think that Physician Assisted Suicide should be passed in Massachusetts?” and “Do you believe that it’s ethical for doctors to use their power to prescribe terminally ill patients a lethal dose of drugs to end their life?”

There were a lot of different opinions among the students I surveyed, and it was interesting to see young individuals have such a passionate response to the question.

“In my opinion, physician assisted suicide is very wrong and unneeded in our world,” says sophomore Julia Barry. “‘In an article I read called ‘Should Mass. Voters Approve  Physician Assisted Suicide?’, it says a prognosis of six months to live is an educated guess. Doctors are like weather forecasters: their ability to foresee the future is far from perfect.’ When I read that, I realized that I do not support this because no one really knows when they are going to die, and just because they are a doctor makes them know? It doesn’t make sense to me.”

Many others found that physician assisted suicide is a good thing to bring to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“I am in favor of assisted suicide. If someone has a condition so painful that they want to end their life to not feel the pain, they should be able to,” says sophomore Jason Swain. “My father has Lou Gehrig’s disease, and he says that when he reaches the point where he cannot move, that there is no point in living.”

Some students see it as a private and personal issue.

“I believe that the government has no right to be involved in this area,” says senior Shannon Nugent. “This is our personal life.”

Regardless of whether students believe that physician assisted suicide should be legal, most students aren’t eligible to vote and make a change. As November 6 nears closer and closer, students are going to have to wait for the votes to be counted and see the results.

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Not many people in Massachusetts, or the United States for that matter, haven’t heard of Senator Scott Brown. He just won a seat once thought lost to Republicans such as himself. In fact, the last time a Republican held the seat was in 1972.  His victory caused the downfall of President Obama’s healthcare bill, the bill which Senator Brown’s predecessor Ted Kennedy called, “his reason for living.” He is such a widely known figure due to the weight of his victory, but what do we, the general public, really know about Senator Brown?

Most people I had interviewed know that he was elected into Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat and that he is a Republican. Some people mentioned the fact that he shot down the healthcare bill or that he was on the state senate prior to being elected. Truth is, not many people know a lot about Senator Brown.

The results were pretty close. Scott won with 52% of the votes, but there’s still people in Massachusetts who don’t trust Scott. Reasons for this, according to Erika McGowan, a teacher at Hudson High School, is that Scott was little known before the election and now has gained so much attention that it’s safe to assume his actions are being “micro managed.” In other words, because he has so much pressure on him and media attention, all his words and actions may just be dictated by political strategist. It’s also been said that Senator Brown supports a lot of President Bush’s ideas, although the truth in this rumor isn’t well known.

So what can be said of Senator Brown to dissuade these people who are concerned about his character? A LOT!

Scott Brown was born in Kittery, Maine, in 1959, but lived in Wakefield, Massachusetts, in his early life. He was far from privileged; his mother had to go on welfare for a short period of time. Scott wasn’t always a squeaky clean public figure. He was once a troubled 12 year old who got arrested for shoplifting record albums. After that experience Scott turned his life around. He became a star athlete and graduated from Wakefield High School in 1977. He was a captain of the basketball team and the MVP of that years Middlesex League Championship game.

He went on to Tufts University where he earned a “Bachelor in the Arts” degree for history through the Army‘s ROTC program. Tufts is where he gained the nickname, “Downtown Scotty Brown,” because of his adept jump shot.

During his time at Tufts, he also was voted Cosmopolitan magazine’s, “America Sexiest Man.” In the interview following the photo shoot, twenty-two year-old Scott Brown said he saw himself as a patriot, and explained his ambitions, such as going through the ROTC program and getting is law degree. He also explained he was putting the $1000 he got for the photo shoot towards his tuition. Senator Brown used his modeling career to pay his way through college, along with his Army scholarship.

He graduated Tufts, ”cum laude,” and went on to Boston College Law School where he got his Juris Doctor. Using all the education he got, Scott entered the Judge Advocate General’s office, formerly known as JAG in the Army. In the Army, Scott has been sent to Paraguay and Kazakhstan. As a part of JAG, Scott defended National Guard members who had had disciplinary issues, such as positive drug test or officer disputes, and also dealt with real estate issues for those in the Guard who were on their way overseas.

Scott joined the Massachusetts National Guard when he was 19 and still remains in it even to this day.After the 9/11 attacks, Scott was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his involvement in the organization of a counterattack by U.S forces.

His experience in the Army has made him a huge advocate of veterans benefits. He served on the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee. He also served on the Hidden Wounds of War Commissions, an organization that helps veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Despite all his accomplishments early in his life, hardworking Senator Brown didn’t begin his political career until 1992. The first position he held as a politician was as property assessor in Wrentham, MA. In 1995 he was elected into the Board of Selectman in Wrentham. In 1998, he successfully ran for a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, representing the 9th Norfolk district for three terms.

Brown won a place in the State Senate in 2004 after a special election took place to replace the former state senator. In the Massachusetts Senate, Brown served on committees dealing with consumer protection, professional licensing, education, election laws and public safety as well as veterans affairs.

His voting record was modest, mostly because of his status as one of 5 republicans in the state senate which totals 40 legislators. He voted for what he believed in, even when he and fellow Republicans were hopelessly outnumbered. On a critical issue, healthcare, Brown voted with state Democrats. However, he doesn’t support Obama’s proposed healthcare overhaul.

Other bills included the proposed Life Science bill which Scott voted against in an effort to save money and cut spending. The bill would’ve authorized money to go to a Mass. based organization that would study life sciences. Life Science is the natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms

Scott voted yes for a tax holiday in 2007 and following years to spur the economy. Scott Brown did not cast a vote on the tobacco taxes. He voted no on a bill that would require small businesses to provide healthcare for its employees and said no to a bill giving illegal immigrants healthcare.

Overall, Browns voting history and character would go to show he really is the guy the media portrays him to be. He has voted in all different directions, based on what he thought was right and not party lines. However, that’s for the American people to find out. Here’s to hoping everything works out!