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VIDEO: Finegold, Espinola Spotlight Their Differences In Spirited Debate

Oct 26, 2018 11:58AM ● By Bill Gilman
If any voters were confused about the differences between the two candidates for State Senate in the 2nd Essex-Middlesex District, they had their questions answered when Republican Joe Espinola and Democrat Barry Finegold met on Oct. 23 at Harmony Hall in Dracut.
The candidates come from decidedly different backgrounds. Finegold is an Andover attorney who has served, previously, as a member of the Andover Board of Selectmen, a state representative and state senator. Espinola, who lives in Dracut, is a retired Lowell Police officer and is a member of the Greater Lowell Tech School Committee.
Finegold touted his experience on Beacon Hill and his ability to work with Republican legislators and a Republican governor.
"As a member of the Senate, I'm ready to go from Day 1 and I know how to get things done," he said. "I may be a Democrat but I can work effectively in a bi-partisan manner."
Espinola spoke passionately about the opiate epidemic, something he has dealt with on a firsthand basis as a police officer. He said a better job needs to be done when it comes to educating young people about the dangers of drug use. He said there is a risk of teens believing they can take heroin and other opiates without fatal consequences.
"My brother died of (an) opiate overdose. This is nothing new to me," he said. "Right now we are enabling people to take heroin and (then) NARCAN them and they're 'all set.' My thing would be this, (right how) you tell the kids in school that if you take heroin, we have NARCAN for you. No! If you do heroin, you're gonna die. That's what we need to start telling people."
Finegold agreed with Espinola that a mandatory detox, as is being presented by Gov. Baker, is a good idea, but said 72 hours may not be enough for someone who has overdosed. He also said more needs to be done to attack the root causes of opiate addiction, including over prescription of addictive pain meds.
"One of the things that really concerns me is over-prescription to young people. We have all these people getting hurt in sports and they're being prescribed 20-25 pills of Oxycontin and I just don't believe that's necessary," he said. "I think we have a to take a serious look at why there is such over-prescribing in our society."
Espinola also blasted the current Legislature for what he said are mistaken priorities.
"Nothing happens in Boston. Everything has to be legislated by ballot," he said "Why idoes it take less than a month to give themselves a 40 percent pay raise and then taken so long that the people have specifically voted for," he asked. "It's a slow process out there at the State House and I think they can do better."
Chris Scott of the Lowell Sun moderated the debate.
The debate was broadcast live on DATV. It can be viewed, in its entirety, on the video below, starting at the 58:00 mark. 

State Senate Debate Between Republican Joe Espinola and Democrat Barry Finegold (begins at 58:00 mark)

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