Cape Cod Times: Will Crocker Announces 2nd District Bid

Cape Cod Times coverage of Will's Announcement:  HYANNIS — Barnstable Town Councilor Will Crocker announced Tuesday he will run for state representative from the 2nd Barnstable District against incumbent Democrat Brian Mannal.

Will Crocker announces 2nd District bid

Barnstable town councilor seeks Mannal's House seat
Barnstable town councilor will challenge incumbent state Rep. Brian Mannal.

Cape Cod Times
February 3, 2016
By Madeleine List

HYANNIS — Barnstable Town Councilor Will Crocker announced Tuesday he will run for state representative from the 2nd Barnstable District against incumbent Democrat Brian Mannal.

Crocker, 59, a Republican from Centerville, said he wants to expand the impact he has had as the Precinct 6 councilor.
“I very much enjoy helping people out with the problems that they’re having, and I just want to go on and make a bigger difference,” he said.

Dealing with the opioid crisis is a priority for Crocker, who said his experience as a teacher at the Bristol County House of Correction helping inmates earn their high school diplomas gives him a unique perspective on the issue.

“I see these guys every day, and I know that the majority of these guys are in there because of drugs,” he said. “It’s a social issue, but it’s also a criminal issue. We need to find a balance there. We need to make sure that our streets are safe, our neighborhoods are safe, but we also need to make sure that these people get the help that they need.”

Crocker was born in Barnstable and attended Cape Cod Community College for two years before moving on to graduate from the University of Maine with a degree in journalism. He worked for many years as a radio reporter at various local stations, including Ocean 104.7, WQRC and WXTK, according to a statement from his campaign committee.

Mannal, 40, also of Centerville, said he and Crocker have starkly different views on many issues, such as abortion and gay marriage. Mannal said he supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and is pro-choice on abortion.
Crocker said he is not setting an agenda to change state laws but “we need to have an open discussion about (LGBT issues).”

“I believe that Mr. Crocker’s position on a variety of important issues is sufficiently distinguishable from mine so that the voters in the 2nd Barnstable District will have a clear choice for state representative this November,” Mannal said.

He also said he hoped Crocker’s campaign would be based on the issues and not on negative ads.

Mannal filed a criminal complaint against a conservative political action committee in 2014 for distributing a mailer that he said deliberately spread false information to cast him as a corrupt politician when he was running for re-election against Republican Adam Chaprales. He said he hoped Crocker would denounce such methods of campaigning if conservative PACs attempt them again.

“It’s a sad state of affairs for our democracy when campaigns rely on the communication of false information to win an election," he said. “I’m hoping he does the honorable thing, and that is to have a campaign that’s not affected by outside political organizations.”

Although Crocker said he can’t control what separate entities say, he doesn’t plan to engage in attack ads himself.
“I’m looking forward to a very clean campaign,” he said. “I will not be sending out negative ads.”

Aaron Kanzer, a 21-year-old college student from Cotuit, also is considering a challenge to Mannal and created a campaign finance committee in November. Kanzer, who is a member of the Barnstable Housing Committee and a former policy aide for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, has not yet made his plans official.