AUBURN, Mass. – With less than a week before that much-anticipated Election Day, almost every candidate on the November ballot had the opportunity to speak to Auburn residents at the Senior Center on Thursday.
All candidates on the Auburn ballot --or their representatives -- had five minutes to persuade residents to vote for them at the Candidates’ Forum, sponsored by the Auburn Council on Aging.
President Barack Obama was represented by Anthony Vigliotti, Register of Deeds for the Worcester district.
“Obama has encouraged more private businesses to develop and become strong in this country,” said Vigliotti, a Democrat. “And do you want the continuation and improvement on the cost saving measures that Obama has proposed for Medicare or do you want to go to a voucher system? That’s an important choice.”
State Rep. Paul Frost, R-Auburn, spoke for Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
“I strongly believe that America needs to change its course,” Frost said. “Mitt Romney knows how to create private sector jobs because he has. Our national deficit is growing, not shrinking like President Obama said he would do. And people who are getting jobs now are getting low-wage jobs. Gov. Romney can change that direction.”
There were also representatives for candidates in the hotly contested U.S. Senate race. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., was represented by his legislative director, Nathaniel Hoopes.
“Scott Brown brings people together in the middle to solve problems,” Hoopes said. “There’s no one else who is pushing both sides of the aisle to do it better. He has been that independent voice for Massachusetts and brings people together.”
Vigliotti then came up to speak again, making the case for Brown's Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren.
“When it comes to women’s rights and the right to choose, Elizabeth Warren makes a big difference for you,” Vigliotti said. “When it comes to Medicare and voting against a voucher program, the Democratic Party makes a difference and Elizabeth Warren makes a difference.”
Another notable election on Nov. 6 is the state senate race between four-year incumbent Michael Moore, D-Millbury, and Republican challenger Steve Simonian.
“When I ran four years ago, I told you I would work hard for you and be accessible and always represent your needs at the Statehouse, and I have done that,” Moore said. “One of the things I’m most proud of my reputation is the fact that people see me everywhere. That’s what it’s about, and it’s how I learn what your issues are.”
Simonian, an Auburn Selectman, could not make it on Thursday, so he was represented by Nicholas Hammond.
“I was a supporter of Mike Moore for the first two election cycles. He’s taken some good votes, but he’s taken some bad votes, too,” Hammond said. “He said he voted to restore Medicaid funding for a 10-day bed hold, but he actually voted to eliminate this three months earlier. He told you half the story and has flip-flopped on issues.”
Frost also spoke for his own candidacy at the forum. Frost is running unopposed on Tuesday.
“I have maintained for 16 years a 100 percent voting attendance record, and I have never missed a roll-call vote in the House of Representatives since I first took office on Jan. 1, 1997,” Frost said. “It is the second longest active streak in the House, and I’m very proud of that. I will continue to work for you to get our economy going again.”
There are other uncontested races on Auburn’s ballot. U.S. Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., is running unopposed; Moore represented him on Thursday. Vigliotti, who also spoke for his own candidacy at the forum, is running unopposed for Register of Deeds.
Jennie Caissie, a Republican, is running unopposed for Governor’s Council, and Dennis McManus, a Democratic, has no opponent for Clerk of Courts. Neither of them made it to Thursday’s forum.
Residents who were not in attendance on Thursday will be able to watch the Candidates’ Forum prior to the Nov. 6 election on the town’s local cable access channel.