, Salem, MA

Local News

February 28, 2013

Rep candidates field questions in forum


Candidates at the forum did not address each other directly, and the event lacked anything that could be construed as an attack.

Questions from the audience brought a little information about the candidates’ positions, however, particularly one asking where they would get the money to accomplish the things they want done.

Gravel pointed to inefficiencies in government that might produce revenue, adding, “You don’t want a tax increase if you don’t feel the money is being used wisely and properly.”

Answering a question about the homeless, Bunn urged government to “make sure we’re funding the most important programs.” He decried $37 million spent “on tax credits for Hollywood last year.” He urged bringing a halt to “spending money on things we don’t need.”

Griffin Dunne responded to the same query on homelessness, telling the questioner, “I would be willing to serve as a voice for your cause.”

Citing work she’s done with homeless U.S. Navy vets — her husband is a reservist who has served in Iraq — she said, “This is the United States of America, and no one should be living in a cardboard box or sleeping under a bridge.”

Cole lamented recent reports of letters to welfare recipients that have come back to the state unopened. The benefits cards, however, continue to be distributed.

“This money is being wasted,” she said, giving a figure of $91 million as the cost. “There’s something wrong up there,” she said of Beacon Hill.

Both Gravel and Griffin Dunne have long experience in Peabody politics, while the two Republicans are relative newcomers. Cole, with the shortest résumé, was given 15 minutes to speak but took less than five. Bunn was slightly more long-winded, and Griffin Dunne talked still longer. Gravel spoke until the 15 minutes ran out and an alarm went off.

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