WILMINGTON, MA — At Tuesday night’s Selectmen debate, Selectman Mike Champoux asked his challenger, outspoken town critic Kevin MacDonald, a question that many residents have always wanted to ask him: Why don’t you just move?
“You have demonstrated strong criticisms of myself, my colleagues on the Board of Selectmen, and virtually everyone else in town government,” Champoux said to MacDonald. “You have lobbed out insinuations of conspiracies. You have made numerous fruitless efforts to seek elective office, and to garner support for your motions at Town Meetings, and you have never gotten any support. My question is very simple: With your vast knowledge of everything (sarcasm), wouldn’t you be better suited living a community that would be more to your liking and less filled with conspiracies?”
MacDonald didn’t directly answer the question, instead pivoting to his frequent lines of attack against the purchase the Ristuccia Arena and the “disaster to come” at the new Wilmington High School.
During questioning from the local media panel, Selectman Mike Champoux made clear that he:
- opposes the current New England Transrail proposal at the Olin site
- supports demolishing the Whitefield School
- opposes the Kinder Morgan Pipeline’s current proposed routes
- will be receptive to hearing a proposal for a new fire substation and new Town Hall/School Administration building in the future
- supports the town’s recent purchases of the Yentile Farm, the land behind St. Dorothy’s and – hopefully soon – the Ristuccia Arena
- gives Town Hall a B+ in communicating with residents; would like to see the Town Hall engage more on social media and expand its virtual presence
In answering those same questions, Selectman candidate Kevin MacDonald made it clear that he:
- opposes the current New England Transrail proposal at the Olin site; believes Selectmen aren’t doing enough to oppose it
- is “neutral” on demolishing the Whitefield School; would like to offer a $2,500 scholarship to a student who can put forth a design to do something with the school without knocking it down.”
- opposes the Kinder Morgan Pipeline’s current proposed routes; believes Selectmen should “bend over backwards” to find another route
- against any new construction for a fire substation; would like to move the Highway Department to the Recycling Center and use the old Highway Department building to house a fire truck, ambulance and police car
- against the town’s recent purchases of the Yentile Farm and Ristuccia Arena
- gives Town Hall a failing grade in communicating with residents; notes he’s getting “stonewalled” with his public record requests
“Working for the people of Wilmington is what gives me joy,” said Selectman Champoux in his closing remarks. “I go to work, do my job and it pays the bills, but it’s really working for the people of Wilmington and giving back that is truly my passion and truly my joy. I relish the opportunity to continue to serve you.” Champoux urged voters to send a message on April 25th that they expect professionalism from their Selectmen.
MacDonald stressed throughout the debate that Wilmington residents are purposely being overtaxed so the town can “build up its bank accounts.” MacDonald complained that the 30-minute debate was a “drive-by debate.” He further complained that Champoux being on the Board of Directors of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, a sponsor of the debate, was “somewhat of a conflict of interest.” MacDonald challenged Champoux to two more debates before Election Day on Saturday, April 25, 8am-8pm.
This race is a rematch from 2012, when Champoux crushed MacDonald, 1,476 votes to 290 votes.
The debate, which emanated from WCTV studios, was sponsored by Wilmington Community Television, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, Wilmington Town Crier and Reading Cooperative Bank. Moderated by Town Crier News Editor Jayne Miller, the debate featured a local media panel consisting of Bruce Coulter (Wilmington Advocate), Tom Zuppa (Lowell Sun), and Lisa Kennedy-Cox (Town Crier).