News & Media Coverage

State representative candidates meet for final forum in Brockton before primary

September 5, 2014  |  The Enterprise

By Ed Donga
BROCKTON – With less than a week before the primary elections, candidates in the 10th Plymouth District race met at St. Edith Stein Parish on Thursday for their last candidate’s forum before voters cast their ballots on Tuesday.

Democrats Paul Beckner, Peggy Curtis and Michelle DuBois were all in attendance, as well as Republican Colleen Maloney.

John Cruz, the other Republican on Tuesday’s ballot, did not attend the forum. Cruz held the 10th Plymouth District seat from 1990 to 1992 when he was defeated by state Rep. Christine Canavan, D-Brockton.

In January, Canavan announced that she would not seek another term in the Legislature in order to follow a religious calling in the Methodist ministry.

During the forum on Thursday, which was organized by Brockton Interfaith Community, the Cape Verdean Association and Haitian Community Partners, each of the candidates took turns responding to a series of five questions ranging from education funding to substance abuse treatment.

The first topic candidates addressed was earned sick time for employees, which will come before voters in November as a ballot question.

While all three Democrats support the ballot initiative, which would provide employees with five days of earned sick time per year, Maloney, the chairwoman of the Southeastern
Regional School District opposed the proposed legislation.

Although Maloney said she supports the decision to bring the issue before voters on the ballot, she thought that it would have a negative impact on the state economy.

“This legislation is not going to lead to a job increase, but lead to layoffs, especially at small businesses,” Maloney said.

In her response, Curtis, who currently serves as the Ward 6 chair on the Brockton Democratic City Committee, said she agreed with the ballot initiative and focused on the public health benefits it would have by allowing parents to stay home if they or their children are sick.

“We all know if a child goes to school sick, they can infect other children or teachers and start an epidemic,” Curtis said.

While responding to the same question, Ward 6 City Councilor DuBois also voiced her support for the ballot question, citing her commitment to working families trying to take care of their children.

“Too often parents lose jobs just because they are being a good parent,” Dubois said, in reference to parents who take a day off to tend to a sick child.

Another issue candidates addressed during the forum was whether the candidates would support legislation that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.

Beckner, a former City Council candidate and member of Brocktonians for Limited Taxation, said he would support legislation that “promotes safer driving on the road.”

“If they (illegal immigrants) are going to be here, let’s stop playing games, give them a license, document them and make them part of our society,” Beckner added.

He was joined in his support by DuBois, who also said she would support the legislation.

While Curtis said she supported the idea of anyone being able to take a driving course, she added that she has problems with the legislation as written, citing concerns that Massachusetts IDs would not provide proof of citizenship.

Maloney also said she would oppose the legislation.

Edward Donga may be reached at edonga@enterprisenews.com.