Thursday, August 19, 2010

State House Roundup: Prickly debate in 13th Worcester

The six candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 13th Worcester District squared off in a 90-minute debate yesterday at Anna Maria. From the looks of the Telegram photo, the event was a greuling one for the participants. According to the report the dialogue became testy at times, with more than one tart exchange between dueling candidates:
The most heated exchanges came at the end of the session. Ms. [Gina] DiBaro, assistant district attorney in the Worcester district attorney's office on a leave of absence to run for the seat, asked Mr. [Mike] Perotto, who spent 14 years on the Worcester City Council, if he would support a move toward making state legislators part time.

Mr. Perotto did not support such an effort.

“You get what you pay for, Gina,” Mr. Perotto said. He said people need to be paid for the work they're doing.

Ms. DiBaro said states such as New Hampshire and New Jersey use part-time legislators, but Mr. Perotto cut in.

“They have no roads; they have no schools,” Mr. Perotto said, as the audience started clapping and chiming in.
In another exchange, Worcester City Councilor Joff Smith defended his vote to raise his councilor's salary by nearly double in response to a question from John Mahoney (D-Worcester). Smith reminded Mahoney and the audience that Mahoney had run and lost a recent campaign for councilor.

Not discussed last night (or at least not mentioned in the article) was the attendance of retiring Rep. Bob Spellane (D-Worcester). Shaun Sutner reported that Spellane missed 52% of the votes cast in the House this year. Two other retiring representatives, Chris Donelan (D-Orange) in the Second Frankliin District and Bob Rice (D-Gardner) also missed around 10% of the votes cast. It will be interesting to see if attendance at the State House becomes an issue in the last few weeks of the Democratic Primaries for those three seats.

Second Franklin House District
Speaking of the Second Franklin, video of the Tuesday debate in Greenfield has been posted to the Greenfield Community Television Web site.

37th Middlesex House District
Kurt Hayes (R-Boxboro) will be hosting an open forum at the Thayer Memorial Library in Lancaster tonight at 7:00 p.m.

Worcester and Middlesex Senate District
Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster) recently touted her bill to "establish the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association as a Regional Tourism Council."

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