Lawrence’s Payano Runs for Senate, Methuen’s Hamilton Seeks Rep. Seat—Both Affect Haverhill

One of Haverhill’s two Senate districts is shaped like a “dragon.”

The new state Senate district, that includes a few Haverhill precincts, now has a second candidate vying for election.

Lawrence City Councilor Pavel Payano, a Democrat, launched his campaign Friday for the seat comprised of Lawrence, Methuen and a piece of Haverhill, connected only by a skinny land bridge to the rest of the district. As WHAV reported first, he joins Methuen City Councilor Eunice Zeigler for the reconstituted 1st Essex District that added Lawrence, but lopped off most of Haverhill and all downriver communities.

“For 11 years it’s been my honor serving the residents of Lawrence as their city councilor at-large and as a member of the Lawrence School Committee. As a city councilor, I have fought for resources and policies that address and improve public safety, the environment, government transparency and accountability and economic growth.,” Pavano said in a statement.

Meanwhile, former Methuen City Councilor Ryan Hamilton said he plans to seek the state representative seat being vacated this year by Rep. Linda Dean Campbell. The seat will have a larger footprint in Haverhill. Hamilton currently works as executive assistant to Methuen Mayor Neil Perry and previously worked as an aide to Congresswoman Lori Trahan.

Payano noted he started his campaign with $30,000 in the bank and the endorsements of Lawrence state Rep. Frank A. Moran, Lawrence Mayor Brian DePeña, and Lawrence School Committee member Patricia Mariano.

Payano joined Boston-based Social Innovation Forum a year ago as director of community mobilization. His electoral history includes seven years on the Lawrence School Committee, including two-years as vice chair; work as deputy campaign manager for the Juana B. Matias for Congress campaign in 2018 and campaign manager for Matias’ 2016 successful run for state representative; and special assistant and immigration specialist to Congresswoman Niki Tsongas between 2007 and 2009.

“In the Senate, I will represent the residents of the First Essex District with the same passion, integrity and resolve that has characterized my 11 years of public service in the City of Lawrence,” he said.

His family immigrated to Lawrence in the late 1980s. For the past three decades, his parents Pedro and Maria Payano, have served as Lawrence Public School teachers and civic leaders.

Pavel received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UMass Amherst, master’s in Public Affairs from UMass Boston and a law degree from Suffolk University Law School.

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