Batalon joins incumbents securing election wins in Burrillville

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BURRILLVILLE – It was another election victory this week for Republicans in Burrillville, with wins for all but one of the right-leaning candidates over their Democratic opponents.

And Councilor Jeremy Bailey, one of just two Democrats on the town’s seven member board, has secured a second term.

Bailey was one of six candidates for three open seats on the council, with current board President John Pacheco opting not to run in 2020. With most ballots counted as of Wednesday morning, he had secured 3,610 votes, with the next runner up, Mary Gauvin, placing fourth with 2,765 votes.

“I am deeply humbled and honored that my fellow neighbors and friends here in Burrillville have decided to choose me help set the direction of our town over the next four years,” Bailey told NRI NOW Wednesday morning. “My promise to everyone is that I will continue to help run our town as if I were running my own household.”

The town’s top vote-getter in the council race, two-term board member Raymond Trinque, noted that the Republicans in Burrillville ran as a team, distributing mailers and other advertisements encouraging voters to pick the party slate – including members of the state General Assembly.

“We ran as a team and the three of us came through,” said Trinque on Tuesday, pointing to wins by incumbent Sen. Jessica de la Cruz and council candidate Justin Batalon.

Challengers Michael Puyuna, a Republican and Matthew Zanni, a Democrat, failed to secure seats, with 2,672 and 2,663 votes respectively as of Wednesday.

A longtime public servant with 18 years on the School Committee and several as moderator for both the Pascoag Fire District and Pascoag Utility District, Trinque had secured 3,954 votes in the early tally, with only a small number of provisional ballots and last-minute drop box submissions left to be counted.

A 62-year-old married father of three grown children and active member of the Burrillville Republican Town Committee, Trinque is the current commander of American Legion Post 88.

Newcomer Batalon noted that the Republican council hopefuls’ joint campaign focused in part on voter turnout.

“We’ve been trying to get people out to vote,” said Batalon. “I always tell people, ‘If you don’t vote, you won’t be heard.'”

And vote they did, in high numbers. According to Board of Election results, around 8,000 Burrillville voters cast ballots in 2020, up roughly 900 from the last presidential election in 2016.

Batalon had secured some 19 percent of those votes by Wednesday, coming in second with 3,709 as of the latest count.

He said he believes Burrillville is ready for a new perspective in town government. Batalon lost a previous bid in 2018, coming in eighth out of 11 candidates that year.

“I think voters in Burrillville wanted a fresh voice and a fresh name,” Batalon told NRI NOW Tuesday night.

A 40-year-old Pawtucket native, Batalon worked in varying municipal departments in his home city for some 15 years before moving to Burrillville in 2013.

“I feel with my previous experience as a municipal employee, I can bring perspective from both sides,” he said. “I can balance what the people need with what the town can afford.”

It will be an important skill in the upcoming term, as councilors face hurdles caused by COVID-19, from potential cuts to state aid, to businesses struggling to survive after loss of income.

“In the short term we will have some uncertainty with the budget that will hopefully be passed very soon,” said Bailey. “Down the road we need to rally the troops and demand that our state better fund our schools.”

The victors will join Republican Councilors Dennis Anderson, Donald Fox and Stephen Rawson and Democrat Amanda Gingell, who were not up for reelection in 2020, on the municipal board.

Bailey said his additional goals for the term include protecting senior citizens with a property tax freeze and demanding that state leaders, “adequately reform the Energy Facility Siting Act.”

“We need to work with the League of Cities and Towns as well as our state leaders to protect our second amendment rights from being slowly eroded away,” Bailey said. “We need to continue to protect the rural character of our town.”

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