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Huff and Mann Talk Small Business in Northborough

The spouses of the candidates for U.S. senate both visited Northborough on Wednesday.

They didn't plan it that way.

But opposing forces campaigned on the same turf, as Gail Huff and Bruce Mann both talked to small business owners on Wednesday in Northborough.

Spouses of Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, who are on the home stretch to battle for the U.S. Senate seat, visited small businesses less than a mile, and within less than an hour, from one another.

Mann held a small business roundtable of sorts at Cocobeni Confections on West Main Street, while Huff met with the owners of Epiphany Children's Boutique, followed by a stop at Davidian Brothers Farm.

Paul Reilly, who canvases for Warren and also owns Pajato Systems Group, visited Cocobeni Confections hoping to talk with Mann.

"I strongly support Warren," said Reilly. "I get asked questions from small business owners who think Scott is more effective, and I think it would be a good chance to find out more from Mann why Warren is more effective, which I think she is."

At Cocobeni Confections, small business owners gathered around a table (filled with confections, indeed) and discussed with Mann their concerns. Championing his wife as a longtime friend to the small business owner, Mann said "she's always wanted to open a small business."

"Elizabeth knows these things better than anyone else," said Mann, addressing the group of around 15 people. "A number of years ago, she wanted to find out why people file for bankruptcy. And these are people who did all the right things, but lost their jobs, lost medical care and so on. What happened is it is a world where people are running against forces beyond their control."

The business owners, which included a quilt maker and web designer, brought up concerns about loans as well as the increasing cost of health insurance.

"Elizabeth is a woman who believes in markets," said Mann, "but in markets with enough regulation and rules, and she recognizes the differences between large businesses and small businesses."

Mann said that Warren has 700 small businesses "supporting her in the race."

Less than a mile away, at Epiphany Children's Boutique, Huff talked with small business owners Jen Maggiolino and Chris Williams, sisters who have owned the business together for years.

They told Huff their biggest concern, so far, is the inability to secure small business loans as well as high taxes.

"I talk to a lot of small business owners," said Huff, "and I hear again and again complaints about getting credit. This is something Scott is working really hard at. The number one issues I hear about are with credit as well as the regulations constantly changing. They are feeling barraged. It can be overwhelming. And taxes—Scott wants to get the tax rate lower."

Maggiolino said they are in fact "bombarded with taxes."

"We'd like to be able to hire somebody," said Maggiolino, "but we can't afford to hire anyone because the taxes are so high. You want to grow but you just can't."

Huff also visited Davidian Brothers farm later in the day.

Earlier, Mann made a stop at Dean's Pizza and the Wellness Corporation in Shrewsbury.

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