|Kuros is First Republican Rep in Many Years|
Thursday, November 18, 2010
There weren’t any statewide surprises in the midterm elections, but returns in the 8th Worcester District race for state representative raised quite a few eyebrows hereabouts.
Rep. Paul Kujawski, seeking his ninth consecutive stint in the House, lost to Kevin J. Kuros, a former Uxbridge selectman.
Mr. Kuros, a Republican, took Democrat Kujawski rather easily, with straight-out victories in Douglas, Dudley, Oxford and Uxbridge, losing Webster by 182 of the 8,808 votes cast.
So, what happened?
Mr. Kujawski didn’t roll over and surrender. He put out signs — small ones, medium-size ones and some pretty big ones, all in green and white — on just about every street and at many intersections in Webster and Dudley, the 8th District towns I travel.
Mr. Kujawski and his aides worked hard, bringing his campaign to constituents throughout the district. It might have been the Tea Party, active in this area, or the newly organized Republican Town Committees in Dudley and Webster, or some crazy little thing that no one can put a finger on, but he lost his bid for re-election.
Give Kevin Kuros and his campaign committee credit. They formed alliances in our end of the 8th District. Sidetracking Mr. Kujawski was no simple task. The net result is Webster and Dudley have a Republican state representative for the first time in a great many elections.
Webster and Dudley were in a double district with Auburn, Oxford and Leicester into the early 1930s, and subsequently formed a standalone representative district for maybe 25 years, until the House membership was sliced roughly in half.
Webster-Dudley were in different ridings for awhile, and got gerrymandered together again, voting with parts of the Blackstone Valley. Political tribute flows now to Uxbridge, home to our new representative and state Sen. Richard T. Moore.
A reverse survey to Democratic representation for Webster and Dudley goes: Mr. Kujawski; Richard T. Moore, before he joined the Clinton administration and subsequently advanced to the state Senate; A. James Whitney; William A. Starzec; John Peter Ivascyn; and Charles J. Skladzien. Memory says I’m back to the post-World War II era, or specifically 1946, without sight of a Republican state rep.
Rep. Skladzien, a lawyer, gained Statehouse standing around 1938, when the double district with Auburn, Leicester and Oxford was divided, eliminating the possibility that a pair of reps from one of the towns might capture both offices.
The double district worked quite well for Dudley’s Joseph N. O’Kane, a Democrat, who shared district honors with several others, including Frederick J. McGuinness of Webster, also a Democrat.
So, who was the last Republican representative with a Webster or Dudley address? Research endows the late Wilfred P. Bazinet, a dentist and later clerk of the Southbridge-Webster District Court, with the honor.
Dr. Bazinet gained status as an incumbent in 1932, and carried the Republican banner to re-election in ’34 and ’36. He moved on to the state Senate in 1938, and was the GOP candidate for the U.S. Congress in 1944.
So, state Rep.-elect Kuros, just 45, wasn’t even born when the representative seat he just gained was last held by a Webster or Dudley Republican. To be fair, the other towns in the old double district, Oxford, Leicester and Auburn, had Republican representatives in earlier years, including Manford R. Spaulding of Auburn.
Plans to tear down Webster’s Chester C. Corbin Public Library, built around 1921, and said to have historical standing, are progressing.
The idea is to build a new library on the site. Size-wise, the 2 Lake St. property really doesn’t have a great deal to recommend it — except that it’s town-owned.
Schematics call for a new pancake-type building, a short stack out near the curb. But parking looms as a problem. The existing off-street lot — drive in, park; reverse, and out — served off a single driveway, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Why not build a bigger library on a bigger piece of land, and sell the existing facility?
Our little Honey Dew coffee klatch lost one of its principals at the turn to November. Death claimed Mary C. Morway of Oxford.
Mrs. Morway was a delightful person, a true believer who didn’t emphasize or deny her faith. It was what she believed — period. And there wasn’t any pretense to her daily doings. She contributed to coffee wisdom, actually over chocolate milk with ice, mostly with brief summaries. She was the conscience to deliberations, and our evening census will surely miss her. God bless sweet Mary!
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