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Outgoing Selectman Rips Critics, Thanks Backers

Nine-year Selectman John Whelan gives an emotional speech during his final board meeting.

Outgoing Seekonk Selectman John Whelan said he had been "knocked down as low as I can go," but promised that he will persevere and be vindicated. He made the comments while holding back tears at his final selectmen meeting on Wednesday.

The nine-year selectman was arrested last month for allegedly shoving his estranged wife. He has pleaded innocent to a charge of assault and battery domestic. The case is pending.

"There have been a lot of lies said about me lately and I will be vindicated," Whelan said. "Twenty years I've given to this community. For those of you who know me, don't ever forget what you know about me. For those who don't know me that want to assume what they think about me, you know where you can go. And I'll be there right with you one day. I've danced with the devil. I've paid the piper."

Whelan was first elected to the board in 2003. He was re-elected twice, including as a write-in candidate in 2006. Whelan announced last fall that he would not seek a fourth term. The 42-year-old Seekonk native got involved in local politics 20 years ago as a representative at Town Meeting.

"I've given all I could to this community and I've been honest," Whelan said. "Anybody who thinks otherwise, you don't know me and I don't want to know you."

Whelan thanked his supporters, who he said are the majority in Seekonk. He added that he is not asking for any sympathy, but rather "some goddamn respect."

He concluded with a commentary on why few people run for office in Seekonk and other nearby municipalities.

"There's a damn good reason why you have the same candidates over and over and over … only so many can take it and get pushed until they are pushed over the edge," Whelan said. "And then you realize once you push them over the edge that they were damn good people."

Jack March 30, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Everyone is INNOCENT until proven guilty in this country still, best of luck John
deb of see-attleboro March 30, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Has it been just a year? I noticed gradual, subtle changes going back to when he lost the race for state rep.. I have not heard a single person EVER accuse John Whelan of being dishonest or of having anything but the best interest of the town at heart. Opting out of another term is the best thing he could do under the circumstances. Some people could learn alot from this man. I'm kinda glad I missed his apparently bitter rant.
paul March 31, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I think John always had the best in mind for Seekonk. In the end, his personal problems got in the way of town business. Thank you for your years of service Mr. Whelan, I hope your lawyer is a good one.
Ernie M March 31, 2012 at 04:15 PM
My family has known John since he was a kid. Just another ploy for the , please feel sorry for me, campaign. Anyone knowing his wife and family would know the honesty from them. Stop the lying john and stand up like a man for once. You should be ashamed of yourself for putting your family through these ordeals.
William B Smith March 31, 2012 at 05:38 PM
John, in a world where most politicians are only in office for their own personal gain, you were and are a breath of fresh air. I have known you for quite a few years now and will always have the utmost respect for you. I value your friendship.

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