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After finally unseating incumbent, Rigby looks to what’s next

November 9, 2018

ROXBURY — Hunkered at a table amid the postelection delirium at his Franklin Street headquarters, Jim Rigby politely interrupted his interview to accept a phone call.

“Thank you. It means the world to me, Bryan,” he said to the man who’d been his opponent until an hour earlier.

After three previous unsuccessful bids, Rigby was finally accepting a concession and congratulations from state Rep. Bryan Barbin. He bested Barbin in the commonwealth’s 71st Legislative District by a tally of 11,255 to 10,279 — a 4-percentage-point margin.

“It’s been a 10-year journey,” he said. “It didn’t happen as quick as I wanted it to.”

Rigby is set to become the first Republican to represent this district in nearly 40 years. His victory over Barbin, a Democrat, comes after a primary in which he topped Stonycreek Township resident Justin Capouellez and Geistown Borough Council President Matt Sernell.

The grind of the campaign finally behind him, he offered few explanations for his eventual success against Barbin. Maybe it was the “Trump factor,” he offered.

Perhaps the support of a few former Democrats stumping for him put him over the top.

“Maybe people just liked me better 10 years later,” he said in exasperation. “Who knows?”

During the conversation Rigby acknowledged Barbin’s accomplishments. He said he’s been effective in a lot of ways for the region.

“I thank Bryan Barbin for his 10 years of service. I know I’ve been a thorn in his side for four races,” he said.

“He brought a lot of money into town for a lot of groups, did a lot for the inner city. We’re going to continue that.”

But he also acknowledged all the work that’s yet to be done, citing the county’s chronic crime problems, blight and lack of opportunities.

“The bottom line is, over the last 10 years the numbers have declined,” he said. “We need to address it.”

Rigby added that the old days are gone. and he seemed to have no illusions about the gravity of the long-coveted role that awaits him at last.

“Now we need to deliver.”

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