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Democrat Paul Heroux Makes His Case for the Fourth District

A Patch interview with Paul Heroux, who says his experience in public policy and his ability to accurately represent the middle class will help him win the seat.

Name: Paul Heroux

Age: 35

Address: Attleboro

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Family info: Engaged to Rebecca Katz (second grade teacher)

Education: Master's in Public Administration from Harvard University JFK School of Government; Master's in International Relations from London School of Economics; Master's in Criminology from University of Pennsylvania; Bachelor's in Psychology and Neuroscience from University of Southern California; several courses at a local community college; and a
diploma from Attleboro High School.

Current occupation: Public administration consultant; public policy writer for the Huffington Post; guest speaker on various radio stations in New York City and Washington, D.C.

What made you decide to run for office?

Running for elected office is a natural step and was an anticipated step. I am from the middle class and have middle class roots in this district; I get it. But too many members of Congress have sold out to the big moneyed interests and forgot who they are supposed to serve. Fifty-percent of the Congress are millionaires. Ten members are worth over $100 million. How can this body understand what it is like to be the people they represent? I know what it is like to struggle to stretch a dollar; to apply for a job not knowing if I am going to get an interview. I know who I am and what I stand for and I have an impeccable reputation for integrity among people who know me. I know who I am going to be fighting for the day I walk into the US Capitol - the middle class and the working poor. Public service is not about those who serve, it is about those who would be served. I will not accept any pension plan or health care plan offered to Congress not offered to the general public.

Washington is filled with ideologues on both sides of the aisle who have created a stalemate in Washington and caved to special interests. I have worked in government. I have personally seen the games that go on, and I know how to stop them. Transparency and accountability are going to mean something for the first time when I am in Washington.

The new 4th District is a moderate, Democrat-leaning district and I am an independent Democrat. I will support the President when he is right, but I will oppose him when he is wrong. I am not a rubber stamp.

What do you offer the residents of Attleboro & the Fourth District that the other candidates do not?

I get it. I know what it is like to come from this community. We need someone in Washington who comes from the middle class to represent the middle class. I know the challenges that we face because my friend, family and neighbors face these challenges. I know what it is like to work with families and their children in this community - I did it for seven years.  I know what it is like to stretch a dollar. I know how hard it is to find a job even with a very good education. We need someone in Washington who knows who he is fighting for and the experience of those people. I am fighting for this community; I am fighting for my neighbors and their friends. I am fighting for the people and their families who I previously worked with. The thought of fighting for the right cause is inspiring, it is exciting, and it is not to be forgotten.

Equally as important, the other candidates don't have the same level of experience and education as I do with respect to a broad range of expertise in economic analysis, international relations, crime policy and youth development. No other candidate can offer as much expertise in as many important areas of public policy. 

I have lived in Saudi Arabia [in 2003 for six months because that is where 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers came from so I wanted to learn about the culture, religion, region and language first hand] in a time of war and terror attacks on westerners. I know what smell of poverty is, what drug addiction looks like, and the importance of rehabilitation from working in jail and prison. I understand our national security threats from working in a national security think tank. I know the games that go on in government agencies from my time working in them and fighting the bureaucracy. I know what is important to families, their children and their seniors.

A member of Congress can't show up on day one and get on the job training on what is going on in Iran, China, or Pakistan, or the national economy or Social Security - areas I have written about and been invited to talk about as a guest expert on the radio in New York City and Washington, D.C. A new member can't show up in Washington not knowing about military defense spending, something I know a lot about having worked for a national security think tank.

A new member can't show up in D.C. not knowing what the smell of poverty is or what drug addiction looks like. They can't show up not knowing how frustrating it is to apply for a job and not get an interview. A member can't show up not knowing what it is like to work with children and their families as well as elders and their needs. These are all things that I have professional work experience with and also have an education that prepared me for these experiences. I have worked with difficult populations; I am ready to take on work in Congress!

Lastly, I care about the direction of the dialogue of public policy in our new 4th district community, which is why I have been active in newspapers that cover 75-percent of the new 4th District for 18 months, well before the new district lines were ever drafted. Having an objective local voice to distill the partisan bickering coming out of Washington is important for an informed and engaged public. I always provided my contact information for feedback. Engaging the community as a member of the community is a sign of respect to people of different points of view and to the members of this community.

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