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Miceli, Sears Exchange Accusations During Debate At Tewksbury High

From a Tewksbury Hospital land deal to credit for local projects, rivals revealed longstanding animosity.

If anyone believed Tewksbury Selectman Doug Sears and state Rep. Jim Miceli might be exchanging Christmas cards this holiday season, those thoughts were dispelled after Wednesday night's debate at Tewksbury High School.

The two candidates for the 19th Middlesex District (Tewksbury and Wilmington) seat, traded barbs and accusations throughout the debate, which was sponsored by the Lowell Sun, along with media partners, the Town Crier, Wilmington Patch and Tewksbury Patch.

Miceli, D-Wilmington, displayed the familiar campaign ferocity that has helped him win 18 terms in the State Legislature. But Sears, the GOP challenger making his first run for state office, gave as good as he got and the exchanges prompted several warnings from moderator Tom Zuppa for the men to keep the precedings civil.

Sears, a former member of the Tewksbury Hospital Board of Trustees, blasted Miceli for his role in a land deal in 2001 which allowed Tewksbury developer John Sullivan take possession of 19 acres of hospital land to build an apartment complex.

Miceli shot back that he was acting at the behest of the five-member hospital board.

"It had nothing to do with me other than acting on the request of the Board of Trustees," saidd Miceli. "See, the vote was 4-1. He (Sears) opposed it. But I was doing what the board asked me to do. He (Sears) has a hard time with the truth. He's treading on very thin ice questioning my integrity."

For his part, Miceli made an effort to place blame for Tewksbury's high water and sewer rates at the feet of Sears. He pointed out that Sears was on the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen at the time the $100 million project to bring sewer to the entire town was passed. He called the actions of the selectmen in not bringing the project to a ballot vote "sheer skullduggery."

"That (project) was approved by a town meeting vote," replied Sears. "Apparently, he (Miceli) doesn't understand how Town Meeting works."

Ironically, Jerry Selissen, who was chairman of the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen at the time of the sewer project approval, recently endorsed Miceli in a Letter to the Editor.

Sears also accused Miceli of spending more time in Tewksbury than Wilmington because Tewksbury has more voters, a charge Miceli vehemently denied.

One issue the two men did agree on was the protests and appeals by residents that have stalled the new Wilmington High School project. Miceli called the appeals "frivolous" and were costing the town money. Sears said he respected the right of citizens to protest but that it was important for the project to move forward.

When not attacking each other, the two men repeated familiar campaign themes. Miceli touted his record for constituent service and availability to members of the community. He noted his involvement with Tewksbury projects such as the library and the new high school.

Sears said he was running because the economy and the Legislature are broken and need to be fixed.

"My major goals are jobs, the economy and increasing local aid," he said.

The media panel asking questions of the candidates included Lowell Sun Editor Jim Campanini, Town Crier Editor Jayne Miller and Wilmington Patch Editor Matt Schooley.

Lennie Malvone October 26, 2012 at 01:16 PM
I want to vouch for Jim Miceli. When my wife and I took sick and Saints medical center in Lowell felt that becouse of my Illness i could no longer work for them, tI was left with out any medical insurance.I had had a stroke and My wife Diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung cancer that had spread to the Brain and Liver . If it was not for the Hard work of Jim Miceli and his wonderful staff Margaret and Nancy, I dont know where i would have been. when initally rejected by Mass health Jim and his office went to the mat to fight for my wife and my self to get the coverage and help we needed. And when my wife Lost her very brave fight JIm and His staff helped this family with many expressions of sympathy. Tip Oneil once said all politics is local Jim Miceli has lived that addage. Jims help to his constituents regardless of political leanings to me shows what public service is so this is one very grateful constituent, who will continue to support Jim Miceli
Douglas W. Sears November 04, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Lennie: You make your point well -- however -- . Important as constituents are to Jim and to me there are other aspects to being a representative that are important too. One of them is to tell the people the truth. Look how at the debate he tried to throw me under the bus -- plus all the others on the BOS, many of whom are his supporters in a print ad this past week in the Town Crier. Please read this article from today's SUN about our Representative in action. http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_21926570/02-sewer-vote-resurrected-issue-rep-race?IADID=Search-www.lowellsun.com-www.lowellsun.com#ixzz2BGV6GcRC If he will do that to me, he will do that to any one. As a constituent, I can't take this BS on Jim's part any longer. Jim can still be an effective community helper as a volunteer if what he truly likes is helping people like you and your wife. As your Representative, I will help all who ask. I respectfully ask for your vote. http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_21926570/02-sewer-vote-resurrected-issue-rep-race?IADID=Search-www.lowellsun.com-www.lowellsun.com#ixzz2BGV6GcRC

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