Democrat launches Poirier challenge

Matt Trowbridge announces his candidacy at Box Seats in North Attleboro Thursday. (Staff photo by Tom Magurie)

NORTH ATTLEBORO - Democrat Matt Trowbridge says if he is elected state representative he would be more pro-active on issues like the closing of the local Registry of Motor Vehicles office than incumbent Rep. Betty Poirier has been.

"A service was cut and jobs were lost," Trowbridge, said Thursday in formally announcing he is running against Poirier, R-North Attleboro.

As a result of the closing, local residents have to travel to places like Taunton and wait in line three hours to renew a license, he said.

Trowbridge made his announcement in front of about 30 supporters at Box Seats, a restaurant in Tower Square off Route 1.

In a separate interview, Trowbridge said he would have handled the issue differently than Poirier.

He said he would have stayed in touch with registry officials before they made a decision to close the North Attleboro branch office so he could fight to protect the local service.

He also said Poirier caused her district to be "severed" from the service by attacking state officials instead of working with them.

After closing the office in North Attleboro, the registry agreed to open a smaller branch in downtown Attleboro at the urging of state Rep. Bill Bowles, D-Attleboro.

Trowbridge, 23, said he knows he is taking on a well-entrenched incumbent, but added he hopes to raise $40,000 to fund his campaign.

The challenger said jobs will be the top issue in the campaign. If elected, he said he would meet with industry leaders to entice them to local in the district.

He said unemployment is too high and many other workers are "underemployed" at jobs that do not match their qualifications.

"It's time to put people back to work," he said.

Several supporters spoke at the event to vouch for Trowbridge's character and work ethic.

The Rev. Carole Baker of Central Congregational Church in Attleboro Falls said she has known Trowbridge since "he was knee-high to a grasshopper."

She said even as a child, he was asking difficult theological questions and wanted to attend adult services rather than Sunday school for children.

He became a junior deacon as a child and is now an adult deacon and Sunday school teacher at the church, she said.

Claire Naughton of Foxboro, a Democratic State Committee member, said she knows Trowbridge from working on campaigns with him and through their involvement with the Stonewall Democrats, a gay rights group.

She said he is diligent, hardworking and can always be counted on to complete a task on time.

Eliza Beringhause, another state committee member, said Trowbridge reflects community values of the district.

The election is not until November of next year, but Trowbridge said he wanted to get an early start on campaigning.

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