Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 11-08-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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4 THE VALLEY NOVEMBER 8-14, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION BLACKSTONE – Voters in Massachusetts' 8th Worcester and Worcester and Norfolk Districts elect- ed two Republicans in Tuesday's elec- tions, returning Sen. Ryan Fattman to the state Senate and electing Michael Soter to his first term as a state representa- tive. Soter, who currently serves as chairman of the Bellingham Board of Selectman, announced on Facebook Wednesday morning his oppo- nent, Democrat Patrick Malone, had called to concede the race for the 8th Worcester District, which includes the towns of Bellingham, Blackstone, Millville and Uxbridge. While unoffi- cial vote counts were still being tallied on Wednesday, preliminary results showed Soter ahead in the towns of Bellingham, Blackstone and Millville, while Malone retained a small lead in his hometown of Uxbridge. Soter thanked his support- ers and said he hopes to unify the district moving forward. "I personally want to thank Pat Malone for running a fabu- lous campaign," he wrote. "In today's political climate, I feel that Pat and I set an example on how campaigns should be run. I asked Pat to sit down next week so that we can discuss his ideas for the district so that I can bring two great agendas to Boston." Malone, a 22-year-old first-time can- didate, also noted the lack of negativ- ity in the campaign and congratulated his supporter during a phone inter- view with The Breeze on Wednesday. "I think we ran a great campaign, I think we put together a very good coalition of people who are really invested in these communities and wanted to make positive change," he said. In the Worcester and Norfolk District, which represents several towns stretching across southern Mass. and the Rhode Island border, Sen. Ryan Fattman defeated Democrat Thomas Merolli to win a third term. Fattman, a Sutton resident, announced the win via his campaign's Facebook page Tuesday night, claiming a 63 percent win over his opponent. "So far our vote total has exceeded every town and every precinct over 2014's election, and looks like a 63-37 victory! I look forward to serving you for the next two years," he said. Merolli, a Mendon resident, con- ceded the race via social media on Wednesday, encouraging supporters to continue to fight for the issues that were central to his campaign, includ- ing school funding and environmental concerns. "Last night may not have gone as we had hoped, but today I woke up more inspired than ever," he wrote. "Over the past several months, we Fattman, Soter claim victories in Worcester districts By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com FATTMAN SOTER Continues on next page Murray, de la Cruz win open General Assembly seats Democrat Melissa Murray and Republican Jessica de la Cruz came away from Tuesday's election with two General Assembly seats, both of which were up for grabs after sitting state senators announced they would not seek re-election earlier this year. Murray, a sitting Woonsocket city councilor, won 58.9 percent of the vote in Senate District 24, cover- ing parts of Woonsocket and North Smithfield, according to unofficial results from the State Board of Elections. Murray defeated inde- pendents Glenn Dusablon, a retired electrical inspector and former union president who secured 21.9 percent of the vote, and Richard Garrepy, a Marine Corps veteran and self- described "moderate conservative" who secured 13.9 percent of the vote. Michael Disney, a perennial independent candidate who has run in several elections, also secured 5 percent of the vote. Murray could not immediately be reached for comment after her win. De la Cruz, a first-time candidate and stay-at-home mom from North Smithfield, defeated Burrillville Democratic Town Committee mem- ber and attorney Kevin Heitke with 55.5 percent of the vote in Senate District 23. Speaking to The Breeze Tuesday night, she attributed her win to many hours spent walking the district and her ability to meet voters of all parties and backgrounds where they were at. "I had a good feeling going into today. I wouldn't say that I was cer- tain I was going to win, but I just had a really good feeling. I know that I put the work into it," she said. De la Cruz ran on a platform that included tax cuts and reform of the state Energy Facility Siting Act in a district where residents of Burrillville, Glocester and North Smithfield have expressed strong opposition to the proposed Invenergy power plant. She told The Breeze she thought vot- ers were looking for better represen- tation and a new face in state office. "I know I seem to be an uncon- ventional candidate, but as people would say, you're a breath of fresh air, we're tired of the same old," she said. Incumbent candidates held onto their seats in other Senate and House races throughout Woonsocket and North Smithfield. In House District 49, Rep. Robert Phillips, a Democrat, defeated Moderate Party candidate Rufus Bailey, Jr. with 72 percent of the vote, while in Senate District 20, Sen. Roger Picard, a Democrat, defeated Republican can- didate Michael Veri with 61.6 percent of the vote. Veri, who had previously expressed confidence in his chances of unseating the longtime senator, congratulated his opponent in a Facebook post Tuesday night and said he looked forward to a rematch in 2020. Incumbent Sen. Thomas Paolino, a Republican, also held onto his seat in Senate District 17, where he defeated Democratic challenger Dennis Lavallee by a margin of 1.2 percent. According to unofficial results from the State Board of Elections, Paolino secured 5,967 votes in the three-town district to Lavallee's 5,828. Several state representatives run- ning unopposed also reclaimed seats on Tuesday, including Republican Rep. Brian Newberry (District 48, North Smithfield), Democratic Rep. Michael Morin (District 49, Woonsocket) and Democratic Rep. Stephen Casey (District 50, Woonsocket). Newberry, who campaigned with de la Cruz and Paolino, noted that de la Cruz became the first person from North Smithfield elected to the Senate since 2002 and the first Republican seat since about the 1950s. By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com BREEZE PHOTO BY LAUREN CLEM MELISSA MURRAY, a current Woonsocket city councilor and Democratic candidate who won the seat for Senate District 24, cam- paigns outside Fairmont Heights in Woonsocket on Tuesday. Incumbents hold seats in other districts ABOUT US The Valley Breeze is a locally owned newspaper Office location: 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite #204, Lincoln, RI 02865 Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Closed weekends and holidays. Call us: 401-334-9555 Fax: 401-334-9994 Online: www.valleybreeze.com READER SERVICES DO YOU HAVE A STORY IDEA? Contact News Editor Pat Erickson at news@valleybreeze.com or call 401-334- 9555, ext. 139. 24-hour, 7-day voice mail. 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