Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Voices of Franklin: Paul DeBaggis - Thoughts on the current election

While I love the give and take of Franklin politics, the current special town council election seems headed toward creating a thorny precedent. Can the town uphold its reputation as having a “nice, small-town atmosphere?”  Will an average gal or guy have the money needed to run for office, or to contribute to a candidate?  To me, these questions are as essential to our local character as our views on housing, water supply, or education.

The Cobi Frongillo campaign website advertises, that along with lesser amounts, it encourages donations of $250 and $500 or more. This seems to contradict that candidate’s talking points of service, caring, community, and vision. Communities shifting to big-time politics generally create an era in which party politics rather than individual merit become dominant. I, for one, frown on this.

Where is the caring or the service when a local election becomes a case of “to he or she with the most money goes the victory”? How does the average voter preserve an equal standing with the one who can easily drop a $500 check into a particular campaign coffer?

Next year, at the Franklin regular town election, will multiple candidates seek large, disproportionate campaign contributions? If so, big money campaigns and less recognition of the individual voter will inevitably follow. This election may set that stage. Elections for the privileged—that’s no future Franklin Dream.

Paul DeBaggis
100 Milliken Avenue 


  1. Mr. DeBaggis, I 'd like to point out that with respect to “to he or she with the most money goes the victory” one of the candidates has repeatedly mentioned how much money they have, the investments they have made in town and specifically made mention to a "big fat check" that was written to the new high school and all the other programs they have funded. Do you not think that this also constitutes privilege?

  2. I don't think that there is anything untoward about a candidate fresh out of school with limited resources asking for campaign donations to support his campaign, particularly when he is running against more senior and "well-heeled" candidates. People can choose accordingly.

  3. When we decided to start our campaign, the team set out to engage more voices in Franklin’s political process. We strongly believe in inclusive and participatory democracy, which relies heavily on the sharing of information and experiences. We were encouraged when the campaign received a kind message from a new Franklin resident last week. The individual had moved to Franklin during the pandemic and was discouraged by the often divisive nature of town discussion on social media. She said that it was the energy she saw from our campaign - among other social movements - that lent her family their first sense of community pride and encouraged them to participate in the special election.

    This campaign “energy” has manifested itself in many ways. Our team proudly welcomed all forms and sources of contribution to help engage Franklin voices in this year’s election.

    More than 60 volunteers of all ages have contributed their time and enthusiasm to our campaign. Over the past few months, our volunteers have:

    -Hand delivered letters to over 5,000 Franklin residents,
    -Written over 1,000 postcards to neighbors,
    -Walked and cleaned up the Rail Trail,
    -Raised money for the Franklin Food Pantry,
    -Helped decorate the Downtown,
    -Attended dozens of online community conversations,
    -Assisted a high school club in capturing local experiences with race,
    -Promoted and patronized local businesses, and
    -Continued to call thousands of Franklin residents to inform them of the Special Election.

    The pandemic has made it particularly challenging for volunteers excited to get involved in the election to go door-to-door spreading the word. Thus, our campaign has relied on the generosity of individuals to develop mixed media to engage even more residents in the town political process. To date, more than 80 individuals of all socioeconomic backgrounds have contributed to the campaign, with a median donation of $50.

    Our campaign has proudly stayed true to our values of making politics more inclusive. I am confident that these efforts will help Franklin far exceed the minimal voter participation of the previous December Special Election (2014) and elect a representative that best reflects the interests of Franklin residents.

    We welcome any residents with further thoughts or questions to reach us at!