The divisiveness between Republicans and Democrats in the United States has now reached all the way to the New Bedford Ward 3 City Council special election.

There will be a Candidate Forum Tuesday night in advance of the March 28 special preliminary election, which will whittle the race down to two people for the April 25 special election. However, only five of the six candidates were invited to the Forum. Because it is being put on by the New Bedford Democratic City Committee, they only invited the Democratic and un-enrolled candidates, and did not invite Jill Marie Ussach.

Ussach, a former School Committee member, is also a member of the Republican state committee.

Richard Drolet, chairperson of the Democratic City Committee, said Ussach does have a right to speak her mind, but that his organization isn't going to help give her that opportunity because of her party affiliation.

"I mean, anybody is allowed to go," he said. "If the Republican candidate wants to go and say what she wants to do, that's fine. But I don't think the Democratic party should be doing anything to promote a Republican candidate, particularly in this day and age."

Drolet is speaking about the dividing lines between the Republicans--and most notably the Trump Administration--and Democrats. He said for that reason, he doesn't think Ussach is a viable candidate for the Ward 3 seat.

"And not because of her personally, but because of the party she is representing right now, that is trying to destroy everything in this country right now, all that I have worked for all my life," Drolet said.

Ussach called the decision to not invite her "nasty" and "not a very nice thing to do," because she doesn't see the city along party lines.

"When it comes to my community where I live, I'm a citizen of New Bedford first," she said. "I'm concerned about the same issues like taxes, infrastructure, everything that affects everybody in my ward and even across my whole city."

"Republican issues don't come into play here. This is a community issue oriented area," she said.

Even though Drolet has said Ussach is welcome to attend, she says she has decided not to go where she wasn't invited.

The Candidate Forum will take place Tuesday night, March 7, from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Painters/Greater Southeastern Massachusetts Labor Council Office, located at 560 Pleasant Street.


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