The Everett School Committee has historically been less than competitive over the years in political races, but the cap has seemingly been removed from the bottle this year, and not only are there several contested races, but as of this week there will be at least one Preliminary Election contest for School Committee, and likely two.
On Monday, Ward 6 School Committee was assured a Preliminary on Sept. 21 when incumbent Member Tom Abruzzese and current Ward 6 City Councilor Michael McLaughlin were certified for the ballot – joining already-certified Catherine Tomassi Hicks.
“That’s the way it should be,” said Abruzzese. “I’ve been on and off the School Committee for 20 years and it’s the first time I’ve been involved in a Preliminary. I can’t even recall there being a Mayoral Preliminary and I remember back to George McCarthy and Mayor Plunkett. It’s exciting and it will be new and different. Hopefully my record speaks for itself. I’d like to think I had a big part in our new superintendent being chosen. If that’s the legacy, that’s fine with me.”
It was questionable whether or not Abruzzese would turn in signatures due to the fact that his long-time colleague, Chair Frank Parker, decided last month to not run for re-election. However, Abruzzese said he is running for re-election and wants to focus on continuing to help the school kids.
“There’s still work to be done,” he said. “All my kids went through Everett Public Schools and now my grandchildren are there. My goal is to keep doing things for the kids. There’s still history to be made.”
His re-election will certainly be no walk in the park as there are two big players in Ward 6 running, with Councilor Michael McLaughlin being certified for the ballot on Monday as well. McLaughlin has been the councilor for Ward 6 over a period of many years, but decided to make the switch to School Committee this time around. He’ll be a formidable force in a race where one essentially has two ward incumbents squaring off.
“I am officially on the ballot for School Committee Ward Six,” he said this week. “I look forward to a strong, clean and positive campaign. I will be out knocking on doors, putting lawn signs up and working hard every day to ID my vote as I always have. This race is not personal between myself and anyone else. It’s about my strong desire to help continue building the foundation of children’s lives, which is education. I hope to serve every administrator, teacher, employee, parent and student of the Everett Public School Systems with dedication, commitment, listening and devotion in January as their School Committee member from Ward Six.”
One cannot forget political veteran Catherine Tomassi Hicks, who was the only person certified for the ballot until Monday. Hicks has been in public office before and will bring a chunk of Ward 6 voters to the table with her. Just what her campaign means in a new, ward-only electorate remains to be seen – as it also does with McLaughlin and Abruzzese.
•SCHOOL COMMITTEE AT-LARGE LIKELY HEADED TO PRELIM
For the at-large School Committee race, as of Monday, there were an unprecedented six candidates certified for the ballot vying for three seats. If incumbent School Committeewoman Samantha Lambert if certified before the cutoff this week, which is more than likely, there will be a Preliminary in that race as well.
There are seven candidates with Nomination Papers out, and as of Monday, six of them have been certified for the ballot. Only Lambert continues to have Papers out, and she is expected to turn them in and be certified before the end of the week.
That would trigger the Committee’s second Preliminary, which has been unheard of in recent times.
Those certified as of Monday are:
•Margaret Cornelio, Luke Road.
•School Committeewoman Cynthia Sarnie, Forest Avenue.
•Robert Santacroce, Englewood Avenue.
•Berardino D’Onofrio, Kelvin Street.
•School Committeeman Joe LaMonica, Lawrence Street.
•Jenny Montresor, Harley Avenue.
An interesting twist is that only two incumbents (likely to be three soon) are vying for the three seats, and one of them – LaMonica – is stepping up from the Ward 2 seat to run for at-large.
The ward races for School Committee will feature a lively contest in a Ward 2 open seat between Cady Steinberg and Jason Marcus. In Ward 1, only current at-large School Committeewoman Millie Cardello is certified, and in Ward 3 only Jeanne Cristiano is certified, though Samantha Hurley continues to work towards getting on the ballot there.
Ward 4 incumbent Dana Murray was certified late last week, and Michael Mangan still has his Papers out, and this week Ward 5 Committeeman Marcony Almeida Barros seems to be the only one competing for his seat.
•PRELIM IN WARD 4 COUNCIL, MAYBE AT-LARGE
Not much has changed in the at-large Council race this week, after a busy week last week when Councilor Rich Dell Isola, Councilor John Hanlon, Challenger Irene Cardillo and Challenger Guerline Alcy were all certified for the ballot.
That leaves 10 candidates, and if James Mastrocola were to return Nomination Papers for the seat, that would trigger a very busy Preliminary Election. Only time will tell if that transpired, but the deadline for it comes this week.
In Ward 4 Council, Benjamin Murray turned in his Nomination Papers last Thursday and made his way to the ballot, joining Challenger Holly Garcia and Councilor Jimmy Tri Le. That will be a very interesting Preliminary Election, with three very good candidates. Councilor Le has distinguished himself over the past two years and has held great attendance through the pandemic – with his shining moment coming during the AAPI Rally earlier this year. However, Garcia is very popular in the city and has been very active in almost all organizations and volunteer activities for some time – currently the chair of the Everett Citizens Foundation. Meanwhile, Murray is the husband of School Committeewoman Dana Murray and has been very active in politics over the past few years in Ward 4.
Councilor Wayne Matewsky looks to be uncontested in Ward 1, and the same for Councilor Stephanie Martins in Ward 2. Ward 3 Councilor Anthony DiPierro looked to be uncontested, but Darren Costa of Elm Street took out Papers last week, and could make a race out of it if he turns them in.
In Ward 5 Councilor Rosa DiFlorio has been certified for the ballot, and Challenger Vivian Nguyen still has her Papers out. She ran a spirited campaign two years ago, but it isn’t certain if she’ll complete the process this year.
In Ward 6, an open seat has brought Challengers Al Lattanzi and Ross Pietrantonio up against one another in a race that was solidified almost a month ago.