Looking at the News: Nomination Papers Spark Interest in What Could Be an Interesting Council, School Committee Election

The availability of Nomination Papers always brings about the first surprises of a Municipal Election season, and on April 28, that season will start in earnest when potential candidates can begin “pulling papers” at the City Clerk’s office.

This year’s election will not include the mayor, nor will it include state or federal offices. However, there is great interest in who might be or might not be running for School Committee and City Council.

The beginning of the Nomination Papers season is less than two weeks away, and it comes at a time when great change is taking place, and it about to take place in Everett.

The multi-billion dollar casino project on Lower Broadway is likely to open in only a few months, making elected office more important than ever as new challenges will surface that will require a new type of problem solving.

Already, at the School Committee level, the School Department is in turmoil at the moment, and with former Supt. Fred Foresteire no longer leading the schools, it opens up a door for many potential candidates. Some of them include teacher advocates and community organizers who helped to draw attention to the situation now unfolding in the School Department.

For some, the solution might be to stick with the current Committee as they see through many important initiatives – such as keeping the place together as criminal charges and investigations play out. There’s also the matter of choosing a new superintendent to lead the district. It could be advantageous

But for others, this election could be one of accountability to a Committee that – in its own words – failed to oversee things like employment contracts and questionable behavior. After all, if the Committee didn’t know it was signing off on things that weren’t in the best interests of the taxpayers, then one much ask what it is they were doing twice a month on a Monday.

For many years, a challenge to the School Committee just didn’t happen.

That’s more than likely to change now that the door has been opened.

On the City Council, we’ve heard rumors that some on the School Committee are looking to make a jump to the Council.

It’s more than possible, as there are a number of good leaders on the Committee – and who could blame anyone for wanting to exit the School Department right now?

We do know that many incumbents are already in the race.

For the at-large races, it’s almost a given that Councilors John Hanlon, Michael Marchese, Wayne Matewsky, Peter Napolitano and Council President Rich Dell Isola will be in it for re-election.

Rev. Renee Solanos, who has been active in several Council demonstrations over the last few years, has announced she is running at-large already.

Others are still a mystery, though the talk has already started.

In the ward seats, Councilor Michael McLaughlin has already announced he is running again and is preparing to knock on doors throughout Ward 6.

Councilors Fred Capone (Ward 1), Leo McKinnon (Ward 4), and Rosa DiFlorio (Ward 5) are also expected to run again.

In Ward 2, there has been some concern expressed that Councilor Stephen Simonelli no longer lives in the district but has moved. That would – if true – disqualify him from that race. It remains to be seen if that is the case, but one can expect him to be challenged either way by former Ward 2 candidate Stephanie Martins. The two had a spirited race the last time around and should have another this time. It cannot be forgotten that Simonelli found himself on the wrong end of an ethnic and racial shakeup via Facebook since the last election, and it will be interesting if his largely-immigrant ward will remember that fracas come voting time.

A big question mark is Councilor Anthony DiPierro.

DiPierro seemingly loves being the Ward 3 councilor, but he’s young, capable and ambitious. He might have his sights set on higher office, or even some other post. Time will tell, but if he’s in, then he’s probably a lock for another term in Ward 3.

In Everett, under the somewhat-new charter, one only needs 250 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot. That includes Councilor-at-large, councilor, School Committee at-large, and School Committee wards.

The Preliminary Election, if need be, is on Sept. 17, while the Municipal Election is on Nov. 5.

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