WILMINGTON, MA — According to Wilmington Republican Town Committee Chair Rob Fasulo, his Committee attempted to organize a debate between State Representative challenger Alec DiFruscia (R-Tewksbury) and incumbent Dave Robertson (D-Tewksbury). Robertson’s campaign, however, did not wish to participate in a second debate.
(Watch the only and only DiFruscia-Robertson debate — organized by the Tewksbury Republican Town Committee & Tewksbury Democratic Town Committee — HERE.)
Absent a second debate, Fasulo decided to solicit questions from the public and submitted them to DiFruscia. DiFruscia’s answers can be read below.
1.) As you know Wilmington is ground zero for one of if not the biggest superfund site in the State Of MA. In the EPA’s own words Wilmington is worse than Woburn was at the time the facts of the movie “A civil action” occurred. While currently the site sits on Eames St which is out of your legislative district currently. Ultimately this site however has far reaching ramifications for constituents well within your districts borders. Over the past 20 years, the town has been fighting for Olin to come up with a plan to remediate the site however the process has been proceeding at a snails pace. In the same time frame multiple corporate entities have proposed development at the site in one form or another. In its current state, do you support in any manner, development of the site? Please be detailed in your answer as this is a complex problem.
The first priority should be to ensure that the Olin site is cleaned up. That needs to happen before any development occurs. I’ll continue working with Wilmington’s elected officials at both the state and local level, as well as with officials in the federal government to get the site remediated.
2.) Keeping focus on the Olin issue one of the matters that does effect your district is the level of groundwater contamination in and around former drinking water aquifers. In the 1990s Wilmington had a high number of cancer cases in the Kelly Hill and surrounding area of town. Many believe that these cases were a result of contamination from the site being pulled into the towns drinking water through its wells on Butters Row. In the early 2000’s at the urging of some concerned citizens the town conducted tests and found the carcinogen NDMA at high levels prompting the town to turn off a number of its wells. Speaking to residents whom lived in town during that time, most have stories of someone being diagnosed with mysterious cancers. In the late 1990s at the request of residents the state began conducting a study of the cancer cluster in Wilmington and here we are 20 years later, that study has not been released. Will you make a promise to the town to pressure the MA DPH into releasing the results of the study no matter its findings?
Yes. This is a matter of public health and we have kept the families of Wilmington in the dark for too long. I will work with my legislative colleagues to push for the release of the study from the MA DPH.
3.) As you know this past August Governor Baker’s administration surprised residents with a change in the vaccination requirements for students attending schools in MA requiring that they receive the yearly flu shot. Do you support this change in protocol and would you support a requirement for any portion of the population to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if and when one is available?
I do not support the government mandating the flu vaccine or any COVID-19 vaccine mandate. I believe this is an issue of government overreach. I support efforts by Sen. Tarr and the Senate Republican caucus to hold a public hearing on this issue, and I will always support policies that put the power in the hands of parents, not government bureaucrats.
4.) As you know Wilmington as well as Tewksbury has been hit hard by the requirements of 40B. 40B is a state mandate that if a municipality has less than 10% of its housing stock designated “low income” that those towns face loosely regulated development that are able to skirt zoning ordinances. Do you support the 40B language as it currently stands or would you like to see its language reworked in some manner?
My focus will be ensuring that our towns have a say in any 40B development. It’s important to provide housing for seniors and working families so they can stay in our communities. However, local officials and residents should have input into the kind of housing being built so we can work to retain the character of our towns.
5.) Do you support the plastic bag ban?
No, the decision about what kind of bags can and cannot be used should be left up to the retailers and small business owners.
6.) As we all know the Massachusetts Legislature is predominantly Democrat. How will you work to represent both sides better than your opponent?
I will always work with my legislative colleagues to get the best results for our communities. I’m not afraid to reach across the aisle to get good work done for the families of our district, while standing firm on our principles.
7.) Do you support calls for term limits for state legislators?
No, I do not support calls for term limits on state legislators. What we need in Massachusetts is more competitive elections. When politicians run consistently unopposed, they become complacent. Having a strong competition in all of our races will get the best outcome for voters.
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