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Challenger Eyes Ward 3 School Committee Seat

Jessica Bessell will face incumbent Chris O'Neil, who is seeking a second term.

Ward 3 School Committee representative Chris O'Neil will have at least one challenger in his attempt to win a second term. Mayhew Road resident Jessica Bessell pulled papers Tuesday, and she told Attleboro Patch she was "100 percent committed" to running.

Bessell is a mother of two young boys, including one who is in kindergarten at Willett Elementary School. The other child will attend kindergarten at Willett next year.

"I have a personal interest in the school committee, my children," wrote Bessell in an email to Patch. "I have formed great relationships with parents, teachers and, most of all, the children through volunteering, PTO and being involved in the community. With this background, I want to run for the Ward 3 seat to represent everybody's best interests. I know I would be a great candidate for the position as I am dedicated to our schools."

In an email to Patch, O'Neil congratulated Bessell on her decision to run. 

"Her willingness to serve is commendable and she has my gratitude," he wrote. "Every citizen in our community has a stake in our school system. I remain fully committed to Attleboro Schools and continuing to objectively represent the residents of Ward 3 on our school committee."

He continued, "We have accomplished a great deal in this term with more to come. The next term will also present serious challenges, including negotiation with our unions, which I hope to complete professionally and successfully. I look forward to a clean and robust discussion about our school system in the coming months."

O'Neil defeated three-term incumbent Bob Hill in the 2011 election. He has one son.

Editor's Note: Jessica Bessell is a former Attleboro Patch writer.

Jerry Chase February 20, 2013 at 05:42 PM
May I wish her well, and encourage her to run for the post. I suspect that she is just the sort that Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he envisioned "citizen-legislators".
Jonathan Friedman February 20, 2013 at 06:20 PM
I have received an email from Chris O'Neil and updated the story with his comments.
Henry February 20, 2013 at 10:31 PM
I believe that anyone that has an interest in public service should run. It is what make this country the greatest in the world. Jessica you state: "I have a personal interest in the school committee, my children,". Please do not make the mistake of some current and past School Committee Members and remember that the as a School Committee member your personal interest must include my children and every child in the district. I believe both you and Chris understand this and wish you the best of luck in this election season.
Jessica Bessell February 20, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Henry, I thank you for your comments. To clarify the initial reason I became interested in the school committee is because my children are in the school system. However, I am additionally quoted as saying I want to represent everyone's best interests, which is the truth. I have personally met Mr. O'Neil and he is a well respected and educated individual. This run has nothing to do with him personally, it is something I am passionate about and would be honored to take on.
Jessica Bessell February 20, 2013 at 10:52 PM
Thank you Jerry, I plan on running for the seat.

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