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June 17, 2013

Election ballot grows more crowded

Perhaps because local issues last winter engaged a large number of residents, elections this fall will have more candidates in all major categories than two years ago.

In the municipal election in 2011, all six ward seats on the City Council were uncontested. Also, Mayor Donna Holaday ran unopposed for mayor.

It appears that a vibrant competition is shaping up for council seats this autumn, plus four residents have announced they are running for mayor.

The last day to take out papers for municipal office is Friday, July 26; the final date to file nomination documents is Aug. 6. The preliminary election is set for Sept. 17, and the final ballot will take place on Nov. 5.

Several things to consider:

There will be turnover on the council in 2014. Greg Earls,who represents Ward 2, and Dick Sullivan Jr., an at-large councilor, are running for mayor and thus are giving up their council seats.

Ward 5 City Councilor Brian Derrivan and at-large Councilor Steve Hutcheson have announced they are not running. So it appears at least four of the 11 seats will have new occupants in 2014.

Last year’s municipal debates might have inspired citizens to run.

Jared Eigerman, who was a proponent of the Local Historic District, has taken out papers for the Ward 2 seat; Meghan Kinsey, a leader in the Port Pride movement that resulted in successful votes for new schools and senior center, is a candidate for an at-large seat.

Plus former councilors Chris Welch (Ward 2) and Bruce Vogel (at-large) are attempting to return to the council after self-imposed interregnums. Bruce Menin, a member of the School Committee, is also running at-large.

Two years ago, Holaday ran unopposed. Now she is seeking her third term against Earls, Sullivan and newcomer Keith Kennedy.

This election will result in a four-year term for the first time, with a new salary of $98,000. That’s less than some firefighters and police officers make, but still, it’s the most ever for the corner office at City Hall.

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