EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Fall River voters will head to the polls in a little over a week to decide whether their current mayor deserves another term or if they should put one of his predecessors back in office.

Incumbent Mayor Paul Coogan is facing a challenge from former mayor and Bristol County district attorney Sam Sutter. The winner of the Nov. 7 municipal election will serve a two-year term.

The two candidates took part in a debate Friday moderated by Newsmakers hosts Tim White and Ted Nesi, sparring over issues ranging from education and housing to campaign spending. It was their third and final debate of the campaign.

Watch the full debate here, and see below for some key moments.

Printing business payment

Sutter responded to claims from Coogan that Sutter still owes $6,500 to a local printing business that did work on his 2015 campaign.

How to use ARPA funding

The city has received nearly $70 million in federal relief money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and reports indicate that roughly $18 million remains. Coogan and Sutter discussed what they’ll do with the remaining funds and how it could affect the city budget.

Affordable housing

The two were at odds over how to address this pressing issue, specifically when it came to the availability of market-rate apartments.


More than 30% of Fall River students were proficient in English and math in 2019, but the most recent MCAS scores show scores have fallen to around 20%. Coogan and Sutter outlined what they believe must be done to improve education.

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