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Attleboro State Rep. Candidates Go on the Attack

The debate between Rep. George Ross and challenger Paul Heroux is not a friendly affair.

State Rep. George Ross and challenger Paul Heroux showed no love for each other in an election debate Thursday night at Attleboro High School. The atmosphere was disagreeable and at times hostile as the two stated their cases for why they should be in the state House representing the 2nd Bristol District, which includes most of Attleboro. 

Ross, a Republican who was elected to the House seat in 2010 after serving seven terms on the City Council, touted his accomplishments, which he said included banning the dangerous drug known as bath salts, naming a bridge after a local couple killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and delivering local aid as well as state surplus money to Attleboro.

Heroux, an administration and policy consultant with several academic degrees, said Ross was "not an effective legislator" and had failed on his 2010 campaign pledge to bring jobs to Attleboro. The first-time candidate said he would offer a fresh perspective to government because he was not a career politician. Heroux also talked about some of his ideas, including a requirement for performance measures to be attached to all spending bills to determine whether programs are running effectively and efficiently.

During the first portion of the debate, candidates answered questions from representatives of The Sun Chronicle and the United Regional Chamber of Commerce, which co-hosted the event. In the next portion, candidates asked each other questions, and that's when the room temperature spiked.

Ross asked Heroux about his testimony at a 2011 council meeting regarding a measure to prohibit high-level sex offenders from entering city-owned buildings and other properties. Heroux neither favored nor opposed the measure, but criticized it.

Heroux said at the debate that the measure was "useless" because it ignored how sex offenders find their victims. He said the offenders know the victims through family or school and violate a trust to commit the crime.

"Parents are the first, best line of defense against sexual predation, not some feel-good measure the City Council passed," said Heroux, who added that he heard the councilors did no significant research before considering and finally approving the measure.

Ross responded, "I can't believe, Paul, that you don't think our City Council did a good job … Even if it saved one kid from being molested, it was worth it."

Heroux cited Ross' 2010 campaign promise to bring jobs to Attleboro. He asked Ross how many jobs he has brought since his term began. The incumbent was unable to provide a number.

"I can't tell you how many jobs I brought," Ross said. "I didn't keep track of it. All I know is the unemployment rate went down in the last two years in Attleboro, not by much, it can come a lot better, but it did come down."

He added that his proposal for Attleboro to become a Gateway City, which would have allowed the city to collect increased funding for education and economic development, would have been a job creator. The measure was approved by both houses of the legislature, but vetoed by Gov. Patrick.

"That vetoing, with that one stroke of the pen, eliminated what could have been thousands of jobs," said Ross, who said he would continue with the effort during his next term.

Heroux said of Ross, "He campaigned on bringing jobs to Attleboro. He did not bring any jobs to Attleboro. He's not an effective legislator."

A moment that received the biggest crowd reaction came during a question from Ross about Heroux's voting record. Attleboro Patch revealed earlier this month that Heroux has not participated in most elections since becoming an eligible voter nearly two decades ago. Ross quoted Heroux's statement from the article that he did not vote between 2004 and 2008 because no race "piqued" his interest. Ross called the statement "flippant and irresponsible."

"You should be ashamed of yourself," Ross said. "What about all the thousands of veterans that you insulted in this city that laid down their lives and put their lives in jeopardy so you could have that opportunity, and you cast it off with some flippant remark? I think you owe every veteran in this city an apology."

This statement was met with a mixture of cheers and jeers. Apparently some of the people who dissented were veterans, based on what Ross said next.

"And if veterans don't understand that, there's something wrong with you because we all took a pledge to support and serve this country as members of the Armed Services," said Ross, as he looked into the audience. "You can go ahead and boo, but the people who are booing really don't care about this country."

This statement triggered another round of boos.

Regarding his spotty voting record, Heroux said, "Am I a perfect voter? No. Am I a regular voter? Yes. And I think the average person can probably identify with that." 

Bear Cat October 28, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Richard, If you think all your post are helping Mr Ross or the Republicans you better take another look. I think you should bow out and let the election happen. Mr Heroux has proven that he is more than worthy of the position of State Rep and I believe that he will be in office soon.
Bear Cat October 28, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Ok, everyone has certainly weighed in on the first debate between George Ross and Paul Heroux. How many would like to see a second debate? We still have time. I think it would be great!
Gretchen Robinson October 28, 2012 at 06:59 PM
@BH. And we need to get the heck out of Afghanistan. We are making the situation worse. As long as they are hating our presence in their country, they can't deal with their stuff until we, the invaders, get out. And the US needs to start dealing with its own 'stuff' and stop going off on foreign "adventures" when we need to be dealing with our own problems.
Daniel F. Devine October 28, 2012 at 09:02 PM
GREAT IDEA Bear Cat ~ I'll donate $500.00 to F.A.A.S. if it happens !
Gretchen Robinson October 28, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Richard: the War in Iraq was started on false 'evidence' of WMD that even Colin Powell got fooled on. There were those of us out here who KNEW that there were NO WMD and were extremely upset to see our country go to war, knowing how many of our good soldiers would be killed and how many civilians there would be killed. (I'm "prolife" in that I care about the lives of innocent civilians who suffer the most in any war). So it is Wrong to say "the wars were necessary." Neither war was necessary. We followed Russia into Afghanistan. The Russian-Afghanistan war was a disaster for Russia and destroyed the morale of the military and of Russia's citizenry. Did our leaders not know this? We are the World's Bully and now we are bankrupting the world with our corrupt banking practices which banks worldwide adopted from us. The wars were NOT necessary. They were started by neocons like Rove, Cheney, and Rumsfeld because Bush II was incompetent in Foreign affairs and they took over foreign policy and did whatever they wanted.
Gretchen Robinson October 28, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Daniel, if you've got $500 to use as a wager, just give it to FAAS and don't be coy.
Richard W. Lunt October 28, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Brian, The Afghanistan war was necessary in order to get the terrorist thugs who were responsible for 9/11, if our troops weren't in Afghanistan, they would never would have had the chance to go into Pakistan and take out Bin Laden, so thank the Bush administration for taking the fight to the enemy, and thank the Obama administration for taking Bin Laden out of the picture.
Richard W. Lunt October 28, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Brian, I take offense to your post here. To even suggest that I don't know any better is a pure lie. My stands are thoughtful and intelligent. What I stand for are Republican values of less taxes, more money in our pockets, less Government intrusion, less spending, less waste, and a strong military and I've always stood by those values and I'm proud of it. Republicans know how to get the economy back on track and it's not through the wasteful spending, high taxes, socialist BS that the tax and spend liberals want you to believe. So Brian Maybe you should stop being a darn LIAR and shut your mouth!!!
Gretchen Robinson October 28, 2012 at 10:30 PM
shaming and blaming are what Republicans do best....
Richard W. Lunt October 28, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Gretchen, Lying is what the liberal socialist Democrats do best.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) October 29, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Alright, this thread has gone way off track. What does the war in Afghanistan have to do with the 2nd Bristol District election? Please refocus the discussion on this race. Thank you.
Brian Hutchinson October 29, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Heroux has the best ideas knowledge and will for this city I dont see Rep Ross naming another bridge anytime soon. I want to see another debate. If I can create jobs in Attleboro why cant Rep Ross? I started my own business employed 3 people before i went to Afghanistan for work. Heroux is the best option for this city int he future.
Brian Hutchinson October 29, 2012 at 02:46 AM
I also want it to be known that I am working in Afghanistan because of no job creation in the Attleboro area something Rep Ross promised he would do in his first term. He held a Job Happening that lead to nothing, I am lucky i suppose to find this job to support my family from abroad.
Gretchen Robinson October 29, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Brian, thank you for your service to our nation. I hope you get to come home soon.
Richard W. Lunt October 29, 2012 at 03:19 AM
There would have been jobs with Attleboro as a Gaateway community if it wasn't for Gov. Patrick's veto, I blame that one on Deval the Democrat, not George Ross.
Gretchen Robinson October 29, 2012 at 03:25 AM
blame, blame, blame....that's all we hear from you Attleboro doesn't meet the parameters set for getting a Gateway grant. End of story. When it's a republican wants an exception, then everyone is supposed to bow down and give it to him. When a democrat wants one, it's open season on democrats. Ross lost. That's it. Deval Patrick is one excellent Governor!!! Fair and frugal with the state's money. Republicans don't like him because he's a democrat who understands financial accountability. And Paul Heroux also understand and wants to institute financial accountability. Can you quit with the black and white, absolutist thinking? Republican good, Democrat bad. It's getting kinda sickening.
Richard W. Lunt October 29, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Cadillac Deval fiscally responsible , fair and frugal??? You have got to be joking... When Mitt Romney was our Governor, he understood financial accountability, George Ross understands that too. The liberal members of your party don't know anything about financial accountability, the MBTA is a great example of this, they are in debt up to their eyeballs and our Governor has failed to rectify this, so much for financial accountability.
Gretchen Robinson October 29, 2012 at 03:41 AM
put it on the Comedy Channel if it's such a joke. Mitt was a disaster and disparaged his time as Governor of Massachusetts for years, only to keep saying 'my State" in the debates. All the Republican in this area have tried repeatedly to over-ride Deval Patrick's vetoes in their rush to get more money for their districts. I don't think you'd know the truth if it ran up behind you and bit you.
Brian Hutchinson October 29, 2012 at 04:56 AM
The MBTA is in debt for 1 reason The Big Dig. Why you ask let me explain. The Big Dig was a joint project with the Federal and State Dept of Transportation. So the Federal was to fund 80% and the state to fund 20%. Well the Fed decided AFTER the project was finished to pull the funding. So the great state of MA under Romneys watch assumed the Debt. The debt went to the MBTA and now were in the mess we are in. I love that Rick "The Truth" Lund points the blame on Devall Patrick but fails to see what really happened or ignores the fact of what happened. This guy is not creditable at all ans spews non sense something that the GOP is known for. Mitt Romney was not fiscally responsible and was only Governor for his own financial gain. So the MBTA is broke why Truth?? Google.......
Richard W. Lunt October 29, 2012 at 11:57 AM
The truth is, the MBTA is in debt partly because of all the greedy union workers wanting more. The take, take and take and then they retire at age 30 with full pensions. The big dig is another reason, which by the way was the brain child of the democrats mainly the administration of then Governor Michael Dukakis, as well as our congressional delegation all Democrats and two U.S. Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, or don't both of you read and understand history?
Brian Hutchinson October 29, 2012 at 12:09 PM
When it comes to Lies Rick you take the cake. You are an unreasonable uneducated GOP Blowhart. Your arguments are so off base i think baseless would be a better word. Face it you Like Ross for some reason other that results and dont like Paul Heroux because he will being results. Claiming you are an educated man is silly and foolish with the comments you make about the Big Dig. GW Killed the funding for it because Kennedy and Kerry wouldn't vote on a bill that would kill America. so The GOP stuck it to Ma. This is a fact. unlike what ever you spew.
Bear Cat October 29, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Hey everybody, Let's get back on track. This is about George Ross and Paul Heroux. I have heard Paul defend himself against the accusations of Richard Lunt. How about hearing from Representative George Ross. Where are you? Don't you have anything to add to these post. Get in the game and let us hear what you have to say. Defend yourself or just let Paul Heroux run away with this race. And bye the way, I heard you say at the debate that Paul owed every veteran in this city an apology, Don't you think you owe them one after the display you put on publicly. Come on George, stop hiding.
Richard W. Lunt October 29, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Brian, That statement is just plain rude. The bridge that was named, it was named for two people who were killed at the hands muslim terrorist thugs on 9/11/2001, have a little more respect!!!
Richard W. Lunt October 29, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Brian, You're wrong on the uneducated part, I have two college degrees from Northeastern University and I'm proud of it. You want to talk about lies?? How about the lies that Paul Heroux has made in the debate and in other forums that claim Representative Ross is ineffective. Representative George Ross brought over 348 thousand dollars in funding for Attleboro. In addition, Representative Ross also managed to bring to Attleboro over a million dollars in funding for road and bridge repairs, these are examples of an EFFECTIVE legislator.
Mac October 29, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I second that!
Brian Hutchinson October 29, 2012 at 04:07 PM
I know who it was named after I went to High School with them but touting as it is some accomplishment is just foolish. Using 9/11 victims to get elected and re elected is a shame of the GOP and they still hold on to it as an "effective" measure for holding office. But when you effectivle done nothing at all as a Rep why not right??
Mac October 29, 2012 at 05:06 PM
@Wendy C. And you said I'm an EMBARRASSMENT? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx-wJik6eC8&feature=plcp
Gretchen Robinson October 29, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Republicans are now attacking the Post Office by forcing the PO to "pre-fund" employee benefits. So what you say about the Big Dig/MBTA makes sense. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/opinion/nocera-its-d-day-for-the-post-office.html?_r=0 I look forward to Paul Heroux getting his mind around this and other issues. He has a good mind, works very hard (as you can see from his campaign and door to door visiting), and goes out of his way to find a variety of views. Then he listens. It will be SO great to have a State Rep. who listens and really cares!!!
Ellen October 30, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Rep Ross didn't bring in anything! Local Aid is a formula. Road & Bridge projects are negotiated by the city (Mayor Dumas), not Ross.
Gretchen Robinson October 30, 2012 at 02:13 AM
the truth is: that Weld/Cellucci saddled the MBTA with the debt from the Big Dig. Rather than pay for it in real time, they dumped the Big Dig debt onto the MBTA and onto the next governors to deal with. (Kind of like how Republicans neglected the infrastructure to make themselves look thrifty). Check this out. “This practice changed in 2000, when Paul Cellucci was Governor, and the legislature passed a “forward funding” bill that required the MBTA to operate on a balanced budget – a sound idea, right? MBTA got a dedicated revenue stream from the state – 20 percent of sales tax revenues, or one penny out of each five cents of taxable dollars spent – which was the rate at the time. But as part of the deal, the MBTA had to assume about $3 billion in existing transportation debt, more than half of which was from the Big Dig.” http://bostinno.com/all-series/mbta-troubles-just-a-symptom-of-systemic-crisis/

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