You might say that the voters of Attleboro have been twice blessed.
As we’ve noted before on these pages, people who balk at taking part in local elections usually complain that there’s no good reason to head to the polls on Election Day.
That has not been true this year.
Recently, there was a lively election campaign for a vacant state Senate seat that brought out not just two, but three candidates, all of whom had widely different backgrounds and views.
Now Attleboro voters are facing another genuine choice, this time for the corner office at City Hall.
The contenders are two young men, both barely into their 40s, who are passionate about the future of the city in which they grew up.
Mayor Kevin J. Dumas — who become the city’s youngest chief executive 14 years ago in an upset victory that surprised even him — is seeking a record-tying eighth term in office.
His challenger, state Rep. Paul Heroux, D-Attleboro, has both bucked the Democratic powers that be on Beacon Hill and been the target of a Republican-inspired mail campaign – neither of which have managed to keep him from winning three terms in the Statehouse.
And while the campaign has not been quite as freewheeling as some observers expected at first, it’s been a tough-fought battle over the past several weeks, mostly — but not entirely — within the bounds of political civility.
Personalities aside, the question facing Attleboro voters Nov. 7 is which of these two is better equipped to lead their city though the fiscally perilous times ahead over the next two years.
We think that person is the incumbent, Kevin Dumas.
Over the last 14 years, Dumas has compiled what we think is a solid — although not unblemished — record of achievement and progress — through good financial and political times and bad.
There have certainly been missteps along the way. The turmoil over the Attleboro Redevelopment Authority reflected poorly on the city and last year’s school fiscal crisis still rankles with the city’s parents and teachers.
But, we think that Dumas has shown a capacity to grow in office and learn from his mistakes.
For example, would his new school financing plan have evolved had the issue not become a political minefield? Perhaps not. But it was a response to a real problem, and the kind of thing a competent manager does.
And, while we note that the revitalization of the city’s downtown is still a work very much in progress, we agree with the mayor that Attleboro is on the verge of good things. And that there’s a sense of pride in the city that was not there 14 years ago.
Paul Heroux has been a good representative for Attleboro and its citizens on Beacon Hill and, no matter what happens on Tuesday, we think he has a solid future in public service.
But Kevin Dumas and Attleboro started on a journey together 14 years ago. We think he has earned an opportunity to see it through to completion.
Paul Connors / The Sun Chronicle
November 5, 2017