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Candidates face election forum Sunday

Spinelli, Fontaine to square off on issues

January 27, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — With the Special Town Council Election, the political season is heating up early this year.

This Sunday, Jan. 30, local voters will get a chance to see the two candidates — long-time Planning Board member Larry Spinelli and former police officer Gary Fontaine — face off in a candidates' forum at Town Hall at 6 p.m. (It will be broadcast live on the local cable access station's "Eye on Southbridge" program.)

"We want the candidates to develop the issues, state their views and give them the latitude to expand them as they see fit," said forum organizer John Gatti " We all know what the issues are. The most important thing now is to have a good councilor because of the economy and the budget issues coming out of Boston."

The candidate winning the race on Feb. 15 will fill the seat vacated by the November death of Laurent McDonald for the remainder of his term — until June 2012. With the fact three more council seats — those currently occupied by Steven Lazo, Catherine Nikolla and Richard Logan — are also up for grabs during the regular election later this spring, 2011 could be a significant year for the direction of the town's highest governing body (nomination papers for that race became available this week).

Fellow organizer Larry Beinema said he didn't think this election will really say anything about what the voters are likely to do in June. He hopes Fontaine and Spinelli can articulate clear points of view on key issues, including economic development, the town government itself, how to motivate youth to participate, and how to encourage professionals to want to live here.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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