MILFORD – If elected state representative from the 8th Worcester District, Bellingham resident Joseph Hall said he hopes to help reform the local aid formula to fund local schools.
Hall, a Democrat, is challenging incumbent Republican Kevin Kuros in the Nov. 4 state election.
“We need a strong voice for the district,” he said. “We need someone who will speak up and make sure our schools are being taken care of.”
The Legislature has increased education funding by 5.5 percent over the past two years, but local school districts haven’t seen that, Hall said in an interview Thursday with the Daily News.
Bellingham has seen an increase of 1.5 percent, Uxbridge an increase of 1 percent and Blackstone-Millville an increase of 0.8 percent, he said.
“All three are struggling financially,” Hall added.
If elected, Hall hopes to be appointed to the Joint Committee on Education.
The 8th District represents Uxbridge, Millville, Blackstone and Bellingham.
Hall also expressed concern with the district’s unemployment rate – while the state holds a 6 percent unemployment rate, Bellingham’s is 7 percent, Blacsktone’s is 8.1 and Millville’s is 8.2.
The solution is to create industry in the area, he said.
“We need industries that provide jobs that can put kids through college,” he said.
One such industry is manufacturing, especially given the district is home to Blackstone Valley Technical High School, Hall said.
Hall, an attorney, has served on the Blackstone Valley Tech School Committee and as Bellingham’s Housing Authority Commissioner.
“Being a freshman doesn’t prevent you from being effective,” he said, citing state Rep. Jeff Roy’s (D- Franklin) work on the Southern New England Trunk Trail during his first term in office. “Anything can be done as long as you’re able to work for it,” he said.
Bill Shaner can be reached at 508-634-7582 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bshaner_MDN.