Lt. Gov. Murray gets some tough questions from Weymouth students

Jack Encarnacao

Reshma Chabria knew she had asked a tough question when she saw the lieutenant governor’s reaction.

“He was a little shocked,” said Chabria, a senior at Weymouth High School. “I think it was unexpected, coming from high school kids.”

The question for Timothy Murray: Do you think Governor Patrick will be offered a position in an Obama administration, and do you think he’ll accept it?

Murray, who had just been asked what his own political aspirations were, did not answer in one word or less.

“He’s made it pretty clear that if he is offered, if Sen. Obama wins, then he does not intend to go to Washington,” Murray said of Patrick, who has campaigned several times for Obama. “Based upon my day-to-day interactions with him on a whole range of issues, he’s very focused on his job.”

About 70 of teacher Mike Murphy’s social studies students at Weymouth High submitted questions for Murray, who met with the group and attended a larger assembly on Thursday afternoon.

Murphy said the students spent a month and half honing questions to make sure they were timely and relevant. One concerned how a possible repeal of the state income tax would affect their school.

“Most of my kids are juniors, so they’re thinking, ‘How is this affecting next year?’” Murphy said. “It could affect the courses they can take, their scheduling – all that sort of stuff.”

Murray said he opposes a ballot question that proposed repealing the state income tax.

“Nobody likes to pay taxes; I get that,” Murray said. “If we were to eliminate the income tax, we would wipe out close to half of the state budget.”

There were also queries about what the lieutenant governor does every day and about state ballot Question 2, which would decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana.

Murray, a former lawyer, said he opposes that question because he is concerned about marijuana’s potential as a gateway drug.

Jack Encarnacao may be reached at