Local, state Democratic candidates speak with residents over breakfast

Jul 31, 2022

The future of the MBTA, a proposed horse-racing facility in Plymouth and concerns over recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court were all topics of discussion during a Democratic candidate forum breakfast on Sunday morning.

The event, hosted by the Wareham Democratic Town Committee and the Plymouth County Democratic League, attracted several local and state candidates running for positions across the ballot. All three attorney general candidates made appearances at the Dudley Brown VFW Post, along with candidates running for a seat on the Plymouth County Commission, Office of the State Auditor, Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office and State Senate.

A few dozen people showed up Sunday morning to listen to the candidates over breakfast.

In talking about the work of the Wareham Democratic Town Committee, member Sandy Cormier said part of the group’s importance is introducing voters to the candidates.

“Some people don’t even know who the candidates are,” she said before the event got underway.

The first candidate to address residents was State Sen. Marc Pacheco, who is running unopposed in the primary.

Sen. Pacheco started the morning emphasizing the importance of getting mail-in ballots to residents, especially seniors in the community. He also spent time railing against problems within the state’s transit authority, which he partially attributed to privatization.

“The issue of privatization of public service, as you know, has been a key issue for me over the years,” he said. “One only has to look at the MBTA.”

“We can all witness now: What the hell is going on with that service, right?” Pacheco said to “Mm-hmms” from the crowd. “It’s privatized, it’s about the bottom line. They’re not reinvesting in the system.”

The MBTA has come under fire in recent months as incident after incident, including a fire on the Orange Line, have highlighted issues within the transit system. The Federal Transit Administration ordered changes to the MBTA in June to improve safety within the transit authority.

Asked about the MBTA’s future in Wareham and the South Coast, Pacheco said the state just needs an administration willing to “roll up their sleeves” and get to work on the T.

“It should be easy to get the extension from Middleboro to Wareham,” he said, “and even down to Hyannis, because you have the CapeFLYER that comes through here now. It’s just a matter of upgrading the rail system to meet higher speeds of rail.”

Pacheco said part of the answer lies in using federal funds from recent infrastructure legislation to make statewide public transportation happen.

The three Democratic candidates for Massachusetts attorney general are Andrea Campbell, Shannon Liss-Riordan and Quentin Palfrey, and all three spoke to attendees during Sunday’s event.

Each brandished their various endorsements to the crowd: Planned Parenthood, Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Ayanna Pressley for Campbell, the state Democratic Party for Palfrey and many labor unions and statewide municipal leaders for Liss-Riordan.

The attorney general candidates touched on national issues in their speeches, ranging from recent decisions by the Supreme Court to roll back Roe v. Wade to the proliferation of gun violence across the nation.

Liss-Riordan billed herself as a “private attorney general” for her years as a labor attorney. Palfrey described American democracy as “under attack” as he referenced the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Campbell voiced frustrations residents have about their government in handling issues like the cost of living in Massachusetts and housing.

Contending Plymouth County Commissioners candidates Alex Bezanson and Carlos Da Silva also spoke, honing in on more local issues.

Da Silva, a Hingham resident, and Bezanson, an Abington resident, both talked to Wareham Week after their speeches about the possibilities of regional answers to towns’ problems with water and sewer capacity.

Bezanson said he’s seen many towns encounter issues maintaining water access, and he sees a possibility of forming a regional water project in partnership with Brockton, he said.

Da Silva pointed to one of the key points of his campaign, a plan to involve college students in county government through internships, as a possible solution for getting grants written and funds for the region. He also spoke against the proposed horse-racing track that’s generated controversy in Plymouth in recent months.

State auditor candidate Diana DiZoglio, Plymouth District Attorney candidate Rahsaan Hall  and Lt. Governor candidate Kim Driscoll also attended the breakfast forum.

The Massachusetts State Primary is Sept. 6, and Election Day is Nov. 8. For more information about voter registration and who’s on your ballot, visit www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elevoterresources.htm.