EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

February 22, 2013

Salem candidates back casino, school renovations

Voters, candidates talk gambling, other topics at forum

(Continued)

Hargreaves, the board’s chairman, seeks re-election to his three-year seat and is running against Stephen Kelly, whose name will be on the ballot even though he has asked to withdraw from the race.

Other candidates who said they support a casino include Stephan Coufos, who is running for one of two three-year terms on the Budget Committee.

“The money coming in definitely would be great,” Coufos said. “I think it would be something positive, something different.”

One of his opponents, Martha Spalding, said she’s indifferent to whether a casino should be established in Salem, saying she would support whatever voters decide.

“I hope if they do choose one, it is Rockingham Park,” she said.

A nonbinding question will go before voters March 12 to measure their support for a casino.

Last night, Planning Board candidate Linda Harvey was also vocal in her backing of a casino.

“I’m really hoping the voters out there support the casino,” she said.

Harvey also said a casino would not create as much traffic congestion as people think, since there was not a lot of traffic when The Rock operated as a racetrack.

“That’s one of the things people are worried about,” Harvey said. “I don’t think it’s (a traffic problem) going to happen.”

School Board incumbent Peter Morgan refused to answer whether he supports casino gambling.

“I don’t think that is a question that is very germane to my responsibilities on the School Board,” Morgan said.

Morgan was one of the candidates who said he supported the plan to renovate the Haigh, Fisk and Soule elementary schools.

“It will make the students safer and make the buildings more safe and secure,” he said.

Spalding agreed.

“It is a situation that is affecting the health and safety of the children,’’ she said, “and we have no choice.”

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