EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

October 12, 2012

Candidates back gambling at Plaistow forum

PLAISTOW — Atkinson and Plaistow candidates for the state Senate and House of Representatives found they actually agree on some issues.

A public forum Wednesday night at Town Hall gave each of the 10 candidates a chance to express their views on key topics such as expanded gambling and the addition of a commuter rail line through town.

They were also asked how they would help lower the unemployment rate, ensure the state’s budget woes don’t affect town finances, and whether they would continue to use the district courthouse on Elm Street.

The candidates represent Senate District 22 and House Districts 14 and 34.

On most issues, the candidates were in agreement and differed only when giving additional details.

“All I can see, up and down the table, is that we’re agreeing on everything tonight,” said Democrat Kay Galloway of House District 14. “Maybe we’ve made a beginning on being conciliatory in Concord. That would be a welcome change.”

Though, in some cases, there was disagreement on issues such as whether a commuter rail line should run from Boston to Plaistow.

Senate District 22 candidate Victoria Czaia of Atkinson, a Democrat, said “commuter rail needs to happen.”

“I say this simply because I’ve spoken with many students, many people in Massachusetts who would love to come this way,” she said.

Others, including Republican Jack Hayes of House District 14, said concerns raised by area residents made officials hesitant to pursue the plan.

“Some of the people I’ve talked to (at a recent forum) had their concerns,” Hayes said. “A major study should be done to check out all the aspects before a final decision can be made.”

The discussions focused heavily on money. When asked what they would do to ensure budget shortfalls at the state level don’t affect town budgets, the candidates said a downshifting of costs to town governments was unavoidable.

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