With former Democratic State Rep. Thomas Calter leaving Beacon Hill to serve as Kingston’s town administrator, a freshman representative will take his place. Democrat Kathy LaNatra, of Kingston will square off against Republican Joe Truschelli, of Plymouth for the 12th Plymouth District seat.Both Truschelli and LaNatra have experience in municipal government.
LaNatra is the Vice-chairman of the Kingston Board of Selectmen and a trustee of the Affordable Housing Trust. She previously served as Recreation Commissioner for eight years and was also a member of the Community Preservation Committee. Outside of municipal government, Lanatra owned her own small retail business for 10 years and is a licensed realtor.
Truschelli is a town meeting representative in Plymouth and a veteran of the war in Iraq. He served in the Air Force for almost two decades, both as an enlisted NCO and as a commissioned officer. After his time in Iraq, Truschelli now serves at the Joint Force Headquarters for the Massachusetts National Guard as a public affairs officer.
Truschelli’s campaign touted his fiscal responsibility and transparency as a town meeting representative in Plymouth.“In his time as a town meeting representative he has worked with his colleagues to ensure the funding of our schools and first responders are protected and that we position the community to be ready for any fiscal challenge we may be faced with,” he said on his campaign website.
LaNatra’s campaign highlighted her experience as a small business owner and said her successes there will allow her to have a bipartisan approach when it comes to economic policy.
“Drawing on her success in business, Kathy will embrace a pragmatic approach to the most pressing issues in our community, according to her website. “As the structure of our economy changes and our property taxes increase, Kathy is committed to sustainable economic growth to reduce the tax burden on homeowners and create sustainable jobs.”
As far as policy, both candidates have expressed a desire to focus on local issues, rather than national issues. Both LaNatra and Truschelli have said they’d prioritize supporting local law enforcement, taking care of local veterans and facing the opioid crisis in the 12th Plymouth District communities. Plymouth Area Community Television held political forum on public access on Oct. 4, where both candidates spoke to these issues.
LaNatra said, “My husband Mike has served as a Kingston Police Officer for 12 years and was with the New York Police Department during the 9/11 terrorist attack and its aftermath. I understand firsthand the sacrifices of those who devote their lives to protecting our communities.”
She added that the state has a responsibility to properly fund public safety training and fund healthcare for work-related injuries. In the forum, Truschelli agreed that more funding is needed for first responders. During the campaign he has also spoken of his work with the Baker-Polito administration on veterans’ issues. “Joe spearheaded programs focused on ending homelessness among veterans, veteran employment, and suicide prevention … He has been a tireless advocate working on behalf of our state’s veteran population.”
Where the two have publicly differed most, is on Question 1 of the statewide referendum on nurse to patient ratios. During the candidate forum, LaNatra expressed her support for Question 1, to limit the number of patients assigned to a registered nurse at a hospital.
LaNatra shared a story of a nurse who was attacked at an understaffed hospital and had no one to help him and the former nurse who had a patient die from complications with a pulled wisdom tooth. She said situations like these are why she is voting yes.
Truschelli is voting no, citing a concern for seniors potentially receiving less attention than they need. He said he has spoken with nurses and hospital administrators and would rather a middle ground solution be made.