Campaign Notebook: Most Haverhill Races Remain Uncontested, No Candidates Yet in Some Wards

City Councilor Melissa J. Lewandowski takes out nomination papers from Assistant City Clerk Rose Leonard-Flynn. (Courtesy photograph.)

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Haverhill’s city election season appears to be warming a little, but there are only five officially contested races so far, no candidates at all in some wards and all candidates still subject to returning their completed nomination papers.

Candidates taking out nomination papers to succeed Mayor James J. Fiorentini are City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett, George Eleftheriou and former mayoral candidate Debra Campanile. Although, as of news deadline, School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. has not taken out nomination papers from the Haverhill city clerk’s office, but he has declared he will be a candidate for mayor. (See separate story.)

For the newly configured City Council, to be composed of seven city councilors elected by ward with four others elected at-large, there are only three contests at this early stage. For Ward 4, City Councilor Melissa J. Lewandowski and former City Councilor Kenneth E. Quimby have taken out papers. In competition for Ward 5 city councilor are incumbent Shaun P. Toohey and Planning Board member Michael Morales. In Ward 6, newcomer Oliver Aguilo is in a contest with incumbent Michael S. McGonagle. Each of the candidates has taken nomination papers.

Haverhill School Committee, so far, has only one contest and that is in Ward 5. Newcomers Lynette Hickey and Jill Story both have pulled nomination papers.

There will be no election of at-large School Committee members this year only as those elected to four-year terms in 2021— Paul A. Magliocchetti, Maura L. Ryan-Ciardiello and Richard J. Rosa—are permitted to complete their terms of office. The school Committee will have seven ward members, three citywide representatives and the mayor as tiebreaker. Legislation also reduces School Committee terms from four to two years.

So far, there are no candidates at all for Ward 3 city councilor or for School Committee seats in wards 1, 3, 4 or 7.

For a running list of candidates, updated regularly, visit the Election Central section of Others have until Friday, July 21 to take out papers. Candidates for city office have until Tuesday, July 25, to return nomination papers with at least 50 valid signatures to the city’s Board of Registrars of Voters.

In a press release, Lewandowski said Ward 4 is “a neighborhood where she grew up and has lived her entire life.” She describes herself as a lifelong Haverhill resident and attorney and eager to, in her words, “continue advocating for the constituents of Haverhill and promoting the policy goals she has championed, which include empowering the voices of residents, promoting public safety, improving Haverhill schools and preserving the city’s environmental resources.”

Incumbent Catherine Price Rogers, who is seeking re-election as the Ward 7 councilor, said this week in a statement that she is “excited about our accomplishments of acquiring and preserving our open space and the redevelopment of our community.” Rogers added she wants to “make sure the city is running as efficiently as possible while at the same time keeping the residential tax rates as low as we can.” She also expressed support for meeting students’ mental health needs, improving the city’s aging infrastructure.

Incumbent City Council President Timothy J. Jordan is having his campaign kickoff next Wednesday, May 24, from 5-7 p.m., at the Peddler’s Daughter, 45 Wingate St., Haverhill.

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