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

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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.

Levasseur Takes Helm of Haverhill Republican City Committee; Group Endorses O’Neil

The Haverhill Republican City Committee recently reorganized under the leadership of Jeralyn Levasseur, who previously served as Ward 7 chair. She said the requirement to reorganize comes every four years coinciding with the presidential primary, but many of the mandatory steps did not take place a year ago March. “Part of it did happen, but it wasn’t a friendly call to action to other Republicans throughout the city,” she explained. Besides Levasseur, who also serves as regional chair for the Geoff Diehl for Governor Campaign, other Republican City Committee leaders are Vice Chair Kara Sotirakopoulos, Secretary Robert Levasseur and Treasurer Michael Grammont. With organizational duties behind her, the new chair is focused on the future, citing such concerns as food and fuel inflation.

Haverhill Coalition Slams Senate Plan, Says it Favors Lawrence Candidates ‘Stockpiling’ Chances

The group that originally proposed adding nine House districts and four Senate districts where people of color represent the majority of the population has come out against splitting Haverhill between two Senate districts. At a public hearing of the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting, the Drawing Democracy Coalition, including a Haverhill advocate, said it believes the proposed map risks diluting the voting power of minorities in Haverhill, Brockton and Boston. “Haverhill Latinos will become diluted in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to de-stabilize Latino representation in Haverhill proper. Haverhill should stand on its own as the growing diverse population it is,” said Graciela Trilla, secretary of the Latino Coalition of Haverhill, an ELE director/lead teacher at Hill View Montessori Charter Public School and co-head of school at Wisteria Montessori. “Latinos finally have a strong base in numbers and presence in Haverhill with receptive political leaders, only to be split, diminished, diluted and rendered voiceless in our own municipality, as well as rendering us inconsequential in the Merrimack Valley as the ugly smaller cousin of Lawrence and Methuen.

Haverhill Firefighters Endorse LePage for Mayor, Six Candidates for City Council

Haverhill Firefighters Local 1011 is endorsing City Councilor Colin F. LePage for mayor, the re-election of two incumbent city councilors and four Council challengers. Union President Tim Carroll thanked LePage for his role on the City Council and holding up the city budget last year until two 33-year-old fire trucks in standby service were replaced. The firefighters also endorsed incumbent Councilors John A. Michitson and Timothy J. Jordan for taking similar stances. “For the incumbent candidates, we looked for people who have had our back when we had to go in front of City Council or we had the battle with the mayor,” Carroll told WHAV. In statements, the union said Michitson “has a vision for the city like no other and acute respect for the city’s past while trying to prepare it for the future” and Jordan “has proven himself to be a champion for public safety, education and many other underserved areas across Haverhill.”

Carroll said the union would have endorsed Council President Melinda E. Barrett and Councilors Thomas J. Sullivan and Michael S. McGonagle had the members requested.