WEST BRIDGEWATER – A shared commitment but opposing visions were clear at the debate between the candidates for state representative seat for the 10th Plymouth District on Thursday.
The event, held at the West Bridgewater Middle-Senior High School, was organized by Town Administrator David Gagne and hosted by West Bridgewater Cable Access TV.
Candidates Michelle DuBois, a Democrat, and John Cruz, a Republican, took turns addressing community-authored questions delivered by moderator Jim Benson. DuBois and Cruz differed in their views on term limits, government priorities, drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants and the ballot questions.
“Beacon Hill is broken,” said Cruz. “The budget’s quadrupled since I left office 22 years ago, and I don’t know about you, but my income hasn’t quadrupled since then.”
Cruz said he believes in a three-term limit for the position of state representative.
“I believe in term limits,” said Cruz, “that’s why we have the problems of spending on Beacon Hill.”
“I don’t have a plan for how many terms I will serve,” said DuBois. “I want to serve until my effectiveness or my needs change.”
DuBois said her priorities are public safety and education.
“Two firefighting unions endorsed me because I’ve been there for public safety,” said DuBois. “I see a need for workforce development because there will be an explosion in jobs and the skill level needed for those jobs is not there.”
Both agreed that the road repairs are needed in Brockton but they split views on ballot question one, which automatically ties the gas tax to inflation rates.
“I’m voting no on question one,” said DuBois. “I’m a pragmatist and I know the roads need repair. Allowing the state to have additional funds to repair our roads is critical, not just for us today but for development down the road.”
“I’m opposed to the way they did it,” said Cruz. “I’m going to vote yes on question one … the state doesn’t have a revenue problem – it has a spending problem. The roads in Brockton are deplorable. We pay taxes and I want it to come back to us – it’s our money not the state’s money.”
Cruz opposed the expansion of the bottle bill (ballot question two) while DuBois supported it.
“Let’s charge another nickel,” said Cruz. “Our transfer station has a high rate of recycling, but it’s a revenue stream for the government, which doesn’t come back to towns as local aid.”
“Jobs will be created by expanding the bottle bill,” said DuBois, “and 80 percent of the bottles and cans that have redemption are recycled, but only 20 percent of those that don’t have redemption are recycled.”
DuBois said drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants are not a priority for her but she supports them.
“It is not used for identification or to get a job,” said DuBois. “It is used to get these folks car insurance, and Brockton has a lot of illegal immigrants, so it makes the job of the police officers harder to find out who they are and where they live.”
“I don’t think illegals should be allowed to drive,” said Cruz. “When will it end? We give them licenses, we give them validity in the state, and I can’t believe we’re talking about giving 15 million illegal immigrants licenses.”
Both supported casinos in the state and both acknowledged fraud in the welfare system.
“I’m really proud of Democrat Suzanne Bump, who took on that fight and did find fraud and is routing it out, ” said DuBois. “I want to make sure that our district uses money that it was meant for.”
“EBT shouldn’t be an area you continue to receive for a lifetime,” said Cruz. “If someone is down on their luck, that’s what we’re here for, but I’m opposed to the fraud that exists.”
The election is Tuesday.