Candidates line up for House race
Two Democrats and three Republicans are seeking the state representative seat formerly held by James Vallee, who resigned last month.
In the Sept. 6 primaries, Jeffrey Roy, a member of the Franklin Town Council, and Peter Padula, a criminal defense lawyer, will face off for the Democratic Party’s nomination, while the Republican race will have John Jewell, a member of the Franklin School Committee; lawyer Rich Eustis; and C. Stolle Singleton, who works as a policy adviser to the 33-member House Republican Caucus.
The 10th Norfolk District, which consists of Franklin and part of Medway, had been represented by Vallee, a Democrat, for 18 years, and is considered to be conservative leaning.
US Senator Scott Brown, a Republican, won handily in both towns in 2010, beating Democratic opponent Martha Coakley by much larger margins than in the state as a whole. But some of that could be attributed to familiarity and geographic proximity — Brown is from Wrentham, next door to Franklin, which he also represented as a state senator.
Still, two Democrats, presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008, and US Representative Jim McGovern in 2010, earned majorities, though smaller, in the two towns.
McGovern, considered a solid liberal, beat Republican opponent Martin Lamb by only 77 votes in Medway, 2,624 to 2,547, although he had an easier win in Franklin.
Overall, the area’s residents are worried about many of the same issues as the rest of the country, according to the candidates for the 10th Norfolk seat.
“I have been going door to door in the district every day talking to voters, and without exception, the number one concern that the voters have is the economy,” said Eustis, who is a lawyer in private practice and works part time as a supervisor for Bar Advocates of Worcester County, which finds assigns lawyers to low-income clients.
“Many of the voters I have spoken to have described what they say is an arrogance toward business, and that the legislators haven’t done enough to develop jobs locally,” said Eustis, 45, who is the only Medway resident in the race.
Small-business owners are frustrated with the high cost of payroll taxes and health insurance for employees, he said. And legislators need to help attract and keep jobs for businesses both big and small, said Eustis, who served four years in the US Navy.
With children in the public schools and his own business, Eustis said his interests run parallel with the interests of voters. He also said he is committed to public service, and has volunteered in Haiti and helped launch a toy drive in the area.
Jewell, who has been on the Franklin School Committee a little over a year, agreed that it’s important to attract new business.
Jewell, who declined to reveal his age, described himself as a fiscal conservative, “which means I can spend only the money I take in,” he said.
“I feel we need more Republican representation on Beacon Hill, so we have a true two-party system that will function in checking each other, not in road blocking each other,” said Jewell.
Part of the problem with state government is the inconsistent information about how much aid towns can expect to receive, which makes it difficult to plan, said Jewell, who is a past chairman of the Franklin Republican Town Committee.
Trained as a toxicologist chemist, Jewell works as a manager for Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics. He retired from the US Army with the rank of colonel in 1993. He said during his military career he helped set up a DNA identification program so there would never be another unknown soldier to bury.
Singleton said she has the most relevant experience in the race via her role as a policy adviser to the 33-member House Republican Caucus, where the Franklin resident has served the last two years.
She said she helped draft two of the central provisions of the VALOR Act, signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick in May. Among other things, the law requires public colleges to grant veterans academic credit for military education, training, and experience. Singleton said she also helped write the jobs package proposed by Republicans. Singleton said she drafted more than 17 pieces of legislation and many amendments to bills and state budgets during this legislative session.
“I know how to get things done from day one,” she said.
Singleton praised Vallee, a former House majority leader, who stepped down to concentrate on his new job with a Boston law firm. She said she hopes to continue in his footsteps as a strong advocate for the two towns.
At 24, she said she expects her age to come up in the race, but added that her energetic leadership would be right for the district.
“My generation, we’re the ones inheriting these problems, so I feel like it’s time someone my age stood up and did something,” Singleton said.
Democrat Peter Padula, a criminal defense lawyer in private practice, said he’s running because he likes being involved.
He said he has been a member for about six years of the Norfolk County Advisory Board, which reviews and approves county budgets and appropriations. Padula, 52, is also a member of the Franklin Democratic Town Committee, and has coached soccer, baseball, and basketball in town.
“What makes me different is I grew up here in Franklin, my businesses are in Franklin,” he said, referring to his law practice, which he said takes up most of his time, and an insurance business he also owns.
He said he enjoys helping out and has met a lot of new people while campaigning.
“What people are telling us is . . . the issues are: keeping up our local aid; keeping our taxes level; and good schools, police and fire departments,” said Padula.
Jeffrey Roy, who was elected to Franklin’s Town Council last fall after serving 10 years on the School Committee, said his three issues are jobs and the economy, quality education to strengthen the economy, and civility in government.
“People just can’t seem to get along and do things that are good for everybody,” said Roy, a 50-year-old trial lawyer. “I’ve proven in my work in local government that I can work with people I don’t necessarily agree with. I don’t view compromise as a bad word.”
Roy is chairman of the Franklin Democratic Town Committee, the town’s Master Plan Committee, and the Anti-Bullying Task Force.
“What differentiates me not only from my opponents in the Democratic race but my Republican opponents too is the breadth and depth of experience I have in local government,” he said.