Fall River mayoral candidates make their cases ahead of election day

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Tuesday is election day in campaign 2015 and residents of Fall River are getting ready to elect a mayor.

Incumbent Mayor Sam Sutter is seeking a full two-year term, while City Councilor Jasiel Correia is looking to unseat him.

Eyewitness News sat down with both candidates Monday.

Correia’s campaign office in Fall River is sparse, but has big posters laying out his plans for the city if he is elected mayor.

“I think there are certain elements that we’re missing,” Correia said. “Take our downtown and our waterfront – we don’t have a hotel. So you don’t have an influx of new dollars in the local economy.”

Correia will face off Tuesday against Sutter, a fellow Democrat, whose mayorship is less than 10 months old. He was elected after former Mayor William Flanagan was recalled.

“The most exciting results for the people of Fall River have been the economic development projects that we’ve delivered,” Sutter said of his tenure so far.

Sutter helped clinch several large projects this year, including an Amazon distribution center.

“The digging has started, there’s going to be 1,000 jobs for people from Fall River and this area,” he said.

But for Correia, that isn’t enough.

“It’s great to go for the big companies, the Amazons of the world. But what about the backbone of the community? The small businesses,” Correia said.

The councilor said he wants to open a new center for small businesses offering tax incentives.

At a debate last week, garbage was an interesting topic of disagreement. Correia said the pay-as-you-throw program, which Sutter inherited, is too expensive.

“That’s not fair,” he said of the costs to families to throw away trash.

But Sutter said the program can be built and improved upon, while the contract for the program runs its course.

“For the time being, we’re stuck with it. But it can be improved and I intend to improve it,” he said.

If elected, Correia would be the youngest mayor in Fall River’s history. At 23, he is four decades younger than Sutter, 63. Correia, who turns 24 in December, said the race is about more than age.

“There’s no reason why I can’t,” he said. “You have people that are successful at so many different ages and stages of their life and it’s really about the ability to do the job, not necessarily the chronological number.”

Sutter, who previously served as Bristol County District Attorney, said it’s about experience.

“I think it’s more his lack of experience and I think it’s more his lack of leadership,” he said, noting his own “proven track record of delivering results.”

Polls open at 7 a.m. in the city Tuesday.

Stay with Eyewitness News and WPRI.com for coverage and results of this election.

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