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GOP Senate Candidates Clash Over Experience, Beating Finegold

The two candidates running for the Second Essex and Middlesex Senate seat participated in a forum Thursday night in Andover.

State Rep. Paul Adams and Selectman Alex Vispoli, the two candidates fighting for the Republican nomination for the Second Essex and Middlesex Senate seat, discussed private sector job growth, healthcare and personal experience during the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum Thursday.

Both Vispoli and Adams also traded barbs during the forum, with Adams criticizing Vispoli's record of voting Democrat and Vispoli calling out Adams' lack of private sector job experience and

The two candidates are hoping to garner the votes during thein order to win the Republican nomination and face the incumbent, Sen. Barry Finegold.  

The forum, which was sponsored by the Andover/North Andover League of Women Voters, was held at in Andover Thursday night, Aug. 30.

Both candidates answered questions on several of the pivotal issues that have defined this year's election atmosphere.

Vispoli commented on ObamaCare and why it will be too expensive for residents and the government.

"It is a job-killing program," said Vispoli. "Everywhere you look."

Vispoli said that the program defines a toothbrush as a medical device and therefore taxes them.

Adams also commented on the federal healthcare plan and the costs associated.

"There are more fees and fines and taxes and mandates that are unaffordable for average income America families," said Adams. "Unless we fundamentally revisit how we offer healthcare in this state, and I've put forward a bunch of those reforms, things aren't going to fundamentally change. And I hope it's repealed."

Both candidates also agreed on rolling back both the state income tax and sales tax.

Vispoli explained how his 25 years of experience working in the private sector has helped him learn how to effectively sell an idea. And he said that this is a skill necessary for any Republican in the state legislature that wants to be heard.

"You have to work and build consensus. I believe that's really how you become effective," said Vispoli. "It's a real life skill that I bring to the table as a business leader....My opponent does not have that experience."

Vispoli also talked about his experience on the Board of Selectmen and his involvement in the early stages of the I-93 Interchange.

On several instances, Adams touted his conservative values and noted how Vispoli, who is running as a Republican now, has voted Democrat on a number of occasions.

"The problem, as seen with my opponent, is someone that votes more Democrat than Republican. We can't depend on someone that acts like them and looks like them," said Adams.

Adams also talked about unnecessary spending in state government, saying that Governor Deval Patrick should be focusing more on providing funding for local community initiatives rather than worrying about funding Patrick's 2,000 state public employees.

"That's what's dragging on the budget. That's what leads to higher taxes and that's what leads to high debt," said Adams.

During the closing arguments, Vispoli said that, in order to beat Barry Finegold, the republicans need a "clean" candidate and not one that has been involved with any scandals, referring to Adams campaign finance debacle.

"We need someone who is squeaky clean to beat the incumbent Democrat. I am that candidate," said Vispoli.

Adams felt his exposure throughout the communities in the Second Essex and Middlesex district in recent years will garner the votes needed to defeat Finegold.

"I believe that I'm the only candidate that can beat Barry Finegold," said Adams.

The State Primary is Thursday, Sept. 6 and residents in Andover will either vote at or the

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