Haverhill and Methuen Voters Choose Candidates and Answer Ballot Questions Today

Voters in Haverhill and Methuen who didn’t vote by mail or participate in early voting, go to the polls today. In Haverhill, Mayor James J. Fiorentini and City Council Vice President Colin F. LePage are contenders for the corner office or City Hall, while there are 17 candidates for nine City Council seats and four for three School Committee seats. No matter what happens, there will be three new faces on the City Council in January because of vacancies. Incumbent councilors, as ranked by ballot position, are City Council President Melinda E. Barrett and Councilors Timothy J. Jordan, John A. Michitson, Thomas J. Sullivan, Michael S. McGonagle and Joseph J. Bevilacqua. Challengers are Melissa Lewandowski, William Taylor, Catherine Rogers, former School Committee member Shaun P. Toohey, Kenneth Stevenson, Tomas Michel, Dee Jacobs O’Neil, Fred Simmons, Josiah Morrow, Katrina Hobbs-Everett and former Councilor Kenneth E. Quimby.

Analysis: Face of Haverhill Politics to Change with Tuesday Election; Council Upheaval Coming

No matter the final counts, the face of Haverhill politics changes with tomorrow’s local election. Voters will replace at least a third of the City Council and consider changes to the corner office and school representation. Long-term change is also on the horizon as voters are asked to completely upend the Council and School Committee with a pair of ballot questions. Even if voters reject electing those bodies by wards or districts, the changes could still be imposed on the city. (See separate story.)

In the mayor’s race, City Council Vice President Colin F. LePage is working to prevent incumbent Mayor James J. Fiorentini from being elected to what would be the latter’s 10th term.

Analysis: Haverhill Voters to Consider Long-Term Changes to How Balloting Takes Place

(See related story.)

Haverhill voters are being offered a chance to voice their opinions on whether they should choose the City Council by ward or the School Committee by district. Whatever the majority chooses Tuesday, it amounts only to an opinion since the outcome isn’t binding. One question asks whether Haverhill should elect one city councilor from each of the city’s seven wards and four at large. The second asks voters whether they agree with electing a nine-member School Committee with five members elected from districts to be defined by the City Council and mayor and three more from across the city. Earlier this year, under threat of legal action to create potentially minority majority regions, councilors placed the questions on the ballot.

Campaign Notes: Fiorentini Receives Backing of Former Mayoral Opponents

A former mayor and two other well-known residents who previously ran against Mayor James J. Fiorentini are backing his re-election Tuesday, Nov. 2. Former four-term Mayor James Rurak this week joined former City Council President Mike Bresnahan and Tyler Kimball, retired firefighter, former Firefighters Union president and former mayoral candidate in endorsing the incumbent mayor. Bresnahan, who ran for mayor against Fiorentini in 2003, said he is backing Fiorentini for his experience and record. “Since Jim has become mayor, I’ve enjoyed watching the revitalization of downtown, the investment in our public schools, investment in our water department, our police and fire departments and the investment in all Haverhill’s beautiful parks.

Sen. Warren Endorses Vasquez in Lawrence Mayoral Contest

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is supporting former Lawrence City Council President and Mayor Kendrys Vasquez in next week’s election. Vasquez, who took over for Mayor Daniel Rivera after Rivera was hired as CEO of MassDevelopment, is seeking a full term as the city’s mayor Tuesday, Nov. 2. The former Democratic presidential candidate launched her presidential campaign in the mill city in 2019. “Mayor Kendrys Vasquez has fought to create big structural policies that Lawrencians deserve like expanding the Mayor’s Child Care Scholarship Fund, committing $3.6 million over the next two years to assist Lawrence families with affordable access to licensed child care,” Warren said in a statement.

Campaign Notes: Haverhill Mayoral, Council Candidates Win Backing From Familiar Names

Haverhill’s two mayoral candidates and several vying for City Council during next Tuesday’s balloting are touting endorsements from various individuals and groups. Mayor James J. Fiorentini received the endorsement of the Merrimack Valley Labor Council. The group, which represents more than 18,000 union members and their families in the Merrimack Valley, said Fiorentini “best represents the interests of working families in the Merrimack Valley.”

Meanwhile, City Councilor John A. Michitson threw his support behind Colin F. LePage in the latter’s bid for City Hall’s corner office. Michitson said LePage “understands the value of long-range planning, especially with regards to city finances.” He added he believes, under LePage, “the city will have a better chance of seeing through to the end the unprecedented opportunity to provide all the kids and adults in Haverhill, at all income levels, with a world-class, 10 gigabit per second, fiber-optic broadband network for learning, work, tele-health and TV at substantially lower cost than the current monopoly offers.”

Council candidate Melissa Lewandowski has won the endorsement of former Mayor James A. Rurak. He said “her 25-year career in collaboration and advocacy as a lawyer will help the Council resolve any difficult issues that come before it.” Rurak added, “She was born here, attended Haverhill Public Schools and has lived here her entire life and volunteered for several city boards.

Campaign Notes: Endorsements for Hobbs-Everett, Bevilacqua, Lewandowski, O’Neil; Rogers’ Rally

Katrina Hobbs-Everett, candidate for Haverhill City Council, has received the endorsement of the Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Union Local No. 6. Union Business Manager James R. Lister told Hobbs-Everett, “We appreciate your dedication and commitment to the working families you represent in our communities.”

This is the second time the Local Union 6 has endorsed Hobbs-Everett for City Council. In other campaign notes…

The Merrimack Valley Central Labor Council, local affiliate of the American Federation of Labor-Congress Industrial Organizations, endorsed the re-election of City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua. In its endorsement, the labor group said it endorses candidates it believes best represent the interests of the “working families” in the Merrimack Valley.