Candidates make last push with voters in final days before primary

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BURRILLVILLE – Candidates for state offices ramped up their efforts to secure votes in next Wednesday’s primary election over the past week, but for those running for seats on Burrillville’s elected boards, the real work begins later this month.

Only one municipal contest will appear on the primary ballot – Republican candidates for Town Council – and the list of five includes a contender who has stated he does not want the job if he wins.

Robert Woods announced the end his campaign for Town Council in August, but missed the deadline to have his name removed from the ballot. As of this week, he had not officially withdrawn his name with the town clerk.

Woods told NRI NOW this week that he still intends to make the withdrawal official, but has not had the time to visit town offices.

If he has not done so by the time voters hit the polls on Wednesday, Sept. 12, and somehow still secures more votes than the other four Republicans running for a seat, that means the Burrillville Republican Town Committee will get to choose who will replace his name on the General Election ballot November 6. Incumbents Stephen Rawson and Donald Fox are also running for one of the four spots, along with Republican hopefuls Dennis Anderson and Justin Batalon.

Woods said that unexpected family obligations made him decide to drop out of the race.

“It’s just not the right time for me,” he said, adding that he felt comfortable ending his campaign because many other good candidates are seeking a position on the board. “There’s good people running on both sides. I think this is going to be unique council.”

A member of the Planning Board and vocal opponent of Invenergy’s power plant proposal, Woods said he would consider running in a future year.

“I like how the town runs and being involved,” he said. “I always thought when my kids grew up I would be more involved in the town, but life threw a curve ball.”

On Wednesday, the Republican ballots will also include choices for Senator in Congress – Robert Flanders or Roque De La Fuente; and gubernatorial candidates Allan Fung, Giovanni Feroze and Patricia Morgan.

Fung has made stops several stops in Burrillville since announcing his campaign, including a visit last Tuesday. Woods and power plant opponent Bill Parson brought the candidate on a tour of the site where Invenergy hopes to build the facility, and Fung has said he also plans to schedule a town hall meeting with Burrillville residents.

The Republican ballot will also include a choice between Burrillville Town Council President John Pacheco and Jessica de la Cruz, who are both running for Sen. Paul Fogarty’s District 23 seat.

That race has a primary contest for Burrillville Democrats as well. Paul Roselli, president of the Burrillville Land Trust will run as a progressive Democrat, and former Burrillville Town Councilor and Municipal Court Judge Kevin Heitke will run with endorsement of the Burrillville Town Committee.

Both candidates have had well-financed campaigns and according to reports provided to the Board of Elections this week, Heitke recently received $500 from Fogarty himself – the Democrat who has held the seat for the past two decades.

Roselli, meanwhile, released a video documenting his long-standing opposition to the power plant and work against the controversial proposal.

He also got the endorsement of Climate Action RI, an organization that said they choose candidates that have made “protecting the environment against climate change one of their top priorities.”

The group also weighed in on the Democratic race for lieutenant governor, endorsing challenger Aaron Regunberg over incumbent Daniel McKee.

In the gubernatorial race on the Democratic primary ballot, Climate Action endorsed Matt Brown, who will run against Gov. Gina Raimondo and Spencer Dickson on September 12.

Candidates for all local races are invited to announce their platform on NRI NOW. For more information, contact sandy@nrinow.news.