About 200 people crowded into the American Legion Wednesday night to meet candidates running for office in Attleboro’s November elections.
The Attleboro Republican City Committee, spearheaded by Chairman Howard Bibeault and vice chairwoman Susan Blais, sponsored for the third year, a non- partisan evening in which the citizens of Attleboro could meet the candidates in an informal setting.
Candidates wearing bright colored ribbons were not only easily identifiable, they were easily approachable throughout the first hour of “meet and greet.”
Attorney George Spatcher moderated the second half of the event, devoted to short personal introductions of the candidates. Due to the large number of candidates participating, each was allowed only one and a half minutes for an introduction and then a few more minutes to answer one of seven questions drawn randomly from a hat.
School Committee candidates
The first to speak were nine candidates running for school committee, who spoke of their visions and goals for the Attleboro public schools.
A newcomer to Attleboro politics, Christopher O’Neill, running in Ward 3, said, “Education makes life better. I am running to return the many gifts the school system has afforded me. I hope to accomplish a full-day kindergarten free for all of Attleboro’s children. Giving our children a head start adds value to our city.”
James Stors of Ward 2 spoke of the Attleboro track, which has been deemed unsafe, as an important place not only for the schools but also for the entire community. He is looking forward to being reelected and focusing on repairs or rebuilding the track.
Ward 6’s Michael Levinson echoed O’Neill and Stors by hoping that something can be done to enable Attleboro to provide full-day kindergarten to all children at no cost and that repairs be made at the Attleboro High School track. He went on to talk about his vision to challenge all students by increasing Advanced Placement courses or Stretch courses for students at all levels.
Many of the candidates spoke about wanting to “repay the debt” to the Attleboro schools by serving on the school committee. One of them was political newcomer David Murphy, running at large. He said, “The high quality of education we have in the Attleboro public schools is poised to become the cornerstone of Attleboro.”
Newcomer Kenneth Parent, running in Ward 6, newcomer Barbara Craw (at-large), Brenda Furtado (Ward 4) and Robert Hill (Ward 3), all parents, spoke about working for success for all of the children of Attleboro.
Fran Zito (Ward 5) commented on the excellent school system and dedicated teachers here in Attleboro.
City Council candidates
Seventeen City Council candidates introduced themselves and also spoke about the city’s goals and challenges.
Newcomer James DiLisio, running at-large, said, “I have lived in Attleboro with my family for seven years. I want the city to become part of the fabric of our lives and for my children to want to stay here. In order to do that I would encourage small businesses to build and invest here in Attleboro.”
At-large candidate seeking reelection, Brian Kirby, commented, “I believe that in the next five years Attleboro will be on the list of the best places to live in the country!” He continued to say Attleboro’s challenges are two-fold. First, getting the Attleboro Redevelopment Authority up and running, and second, to continue to provide Attleboro the services that people have come to expect.”
Ward 4 candidate William Bergevine echoed Kirby, saying “Maintaining a balanced budget and services and getting the Industrial Business Park on firm financial standing are major challenges for the city.”
Newcomer Jeremy Denlea (Ward 5) said he wants to make an even better Attleboro. He would mandate transparency in the dissemination of information from City Hall.
Sara-Lyn Reynolds (At-large) has a background in social policy and is very interested in looking at the indirect fees involved in water and sewer services.
Jerry Chase (Ward 5) said his goal is to preserve the good quality of life in Attleboro and to exercise restraint in public spending.
Political newcomers Bert Buckley (At-large), Jonathan Weydt (Ward 4) and Mark Cooper (Ward 2), all parents, count themselves as unwavering in their commitment to being independent voices on the City Council.
Cherie Felos (At-large), Frank Cook (Ward 3), Howard Levine (Ward 5), Shannon Heagney (Ward 6), Kimberly Allard (At-large), Richard Conti (At-large), Peter Blais (At-large) and Walter Thibodeau (Ward 1) all spoke of their continued dedication and desire to serve the City of Attleboro.
Clerk, Mayor and others
City Collector Debora Marcoccio, Clerk Betty Shockroo and Treasurer Ethel Sandbach also spoke of their willingness to continue in their endeavors making City Hall more efficient.
Finally, incumbent Mayor Kevin Dumas remarked that he was proud of his accomplishments and especially now of Attleboro being a community that has not reduced services.
Mayoral challenger Ron Churchill commented, “I am running for the people of Attleboro. No one who runs for public office should be unchallenged.”