Local Politics Heating Up in Roy / Casey Debate

Adam McMorrow

This Monday, the 29th of October, the state representative debate was held at the senior center. It was between our state representative, Jeffery Roy, and his opposing candidate, Patrick Casey. The debate started with a simple coin flip to determine who would speak first. Roy called heads, winning the toss and electing to speak first. The format of the debate was each candidate had timed segments where they would either answer questions or confront their opponent.

Being our state representative since 2012, Roy’s knowledge and experience were clear. Casey, on the other hand, seemed nervous and didn’t speak as fluently as Roy. He often paused while speaking, saying “Um” a lot. An immediate take away as an audience member was Casey wasn’t as well-prepared as Roy. The majority of the room were fans of Roy, which didn’t help Casey’s case.

This debate surprised me a lot. My first thoughts were this was going to be a friendly debate, at the senior center, between two men running for a rather less powerful position (for lack of a better term). I assumed Roy respected the young, daring Casey. After all, Roy hasn’t been challenged in the past two elections. Instead, it was the complete opposite. Roy often came off as very demeaning telling Casey to, “enlighten him [Roy]” and often referring to Casey’s lack of experience. This made me uncomfortable, partially because Roy is 57 and Casey is 28, but in a way but was also interesting. I was amazed this was our political system. For example, it was Casey’s turn to talk and he was explaining to the audience his plan for the Safe Coalition (organization against opioid abuse). According to Roy, Roy already presented that idea in a debate a couple years ago and knew Casey was in the audience. Roy said “he’s glad [Casey] took good notes during that debate.” I knew Trump did this on a national stage, but it was the last thing I expected at the little Franklin Senior Center.     Unfortunately, this is our current political system. I’m not blaming the candidates for doing this because it’s the best way to win. I would be shocked if I saw a debate where the candidates were respectful of each other and explained why they’re the better choice. That could be far stretched.

My political opinions did not change after this debate. Although I was very surprised, my interest in politics and personal opinions weren’t affected. If anything, this made me more interested in political debate. In retrospect, a future visit to another debate isn’t unlikely. I love hearing political leaders tell me that they’re my voice and they do what benefits me. It makes me feel secure.  Ultimately, through all the arguments, that is the message I received from both candidates.

Prior to the debate, my political efficacy was average. I honestly wasn’t even sure what Jeff Roy’s job was. Following the debate, my political efficacy increased. I now know what political leaders go through to get elected. I have a lot of respect for their passion because this is an extremely challenging and stressful process. On top of all that, these men work full-time jobs and volunteer in their communities.

This also highlighted the number of access points in our government. We have a Franklin and Medway representative, a congressional district representative, all the way to the supreme court. It amazes me how many opportunities there are to make a change. Surprisingly, the debate between Pat Casey and Jeffery Roy was a very enlightening experience.