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Primary Voter’s Guide

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

 

Massachusetts will hold its first Thursday primary in over 20 years this week. Brush up on the candidates and key issues before heading to the ballot box.

2nd Worcester District Republican Primary

The two Republican candidates in Worcester's 2nd District are in a run-off to see who will face Democratic hopeful Jonathan Zlotnik in November.

Incumbent Rich Bastien is running for a second term at the State House.

A Navy veteran with a History teacher's license, Bastien's three biggest issues this election are supporting local businesses to create jobs, rolling back the state income and sales tax rates to a flat 5 percent, and advocating for quality public education that remains affordable.

His opponent Scott Graves, an attorney and four-term City Councilor in Gardner, has made the economy a top priority. While he takes a liberal economic view, he is in favor of closing corporate tax loopholes.

Safety is another key issue for Graves, who also serves as Chairman of the Public Safety Committee on the Gardner City Council.

15th Worcester District Democratic Primary

Five Democratic candidates are vying to represent the 15th, Worcester's first minority-majority district, and the winner will face Republican Brian O'Malley on Election Day.

All six candidates are competing for the open seat of former Rep. Vincent Pedone, who resigned his office in January of this year after nearly two decades on Beacon Hill.

Frank A. Beshai, who previously ran as a a Republican for the office of Worcester County Sheriff, has billed himself as the business-minded candidate among the field of five.

Beshai has a long history as a private businessman and over 20 years involvement with Straight Ahead, a Christian organization dedicated to helping juvenile offenders re-enter society after being incarcerated.

Dianna Biancheria has served on the Worcester School Committee and as Chief of Staff for former Mayor Raymond Mariano.

She has also served as an Assistant Director at the Worcester Housing Authority, and she is a life-long resident of the 15th Worcester District.

Political newcomer Mary Keefe has served as Director of the Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center for the past 10 years.

Keefe is a founding member of the Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts and the Worcester Labor Coalition, running on a platform of quality public schools, affordable healthcare and preserving the city's public places.

Ralph Perez is an apprentice plumber and a Worcester native.

During recent candidate forums, Perez has laid out a campaign that identifies poverty and poor public education as the root of the 15th District's issues with violence and homelessness.

City Councilor Kate Toomey, who also served on the School Committee, has outlined a three-part plan for economic development in Worcester entitled "Trains, Planes and Automobiles."

With the CSX rail project in the works, as well as the potential deal to bring JetBlue to the Worcester Airport, Toomey has pointed to infrastructure improvements as the third area where the city can create jobs and improve the quality of life for residents. 

 

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