, Newburyport, MA

November 4, 2009

Voters return incumbents; 1 newcomer

By Katie Curley-Katzman

NEWBURYPORT — With incumbents all securing their seats for another term, only one new face will be sitting on the City Council in January.

Political newcomer Ari Herzog placed a distant fifth in the race, but it was enough to win a seat on the council. He will join incumbents Barry Connell, Steve Hutcheson, Kathleen O'Connor Ives and Tom Jones, who all won their seats.

Councilors-at-large serve two-year terms, and the new terms begin in January.

Connell secured 2,977 votes, Ives 2,877, Hutcheson 2,338, Jones 2,309 and Herzog 1,970. Michael Ferrick received 1,604, while Frances Sullivan took 1,629 votes. There were 261 write-in votes.

As the final tallies came into City Hall Council Chambers, Herzog was congratulated by sitting councilors.

"I feel good. I've been nervous for the past 48 hours," Herzog said. "I tried a whole slew of political strategies, including traditional and online ones, and met a lot of friendly people."

Herzog, 34, is a two-year resident of Newburyport and principal of Ari Herzog & Associates, online media consultants.

The former assistant chief administrative officer for Mayor John Moak, Herzog also has a degree in public administration, as well as three years' experience working on Beacon Hill.

Herzog said he will focus on the issues he campaigned on, including coming up with a contingency plan on how to deal with the landfill.

"The neighbors of Crow Lane have been dealing with the health issues of this for years," Herzog said.

In addition, he said he will focus on the wind turbine as well as future turbine placement.

"I made two promises for if I was elected," Herzog said. "One was to hold biweekly office hours; the second was to hold monthly forums similar to Roman forums."

Herzog said he looks forward to hearing what residents have to say and working with them.

As his campaign was partly aimed toward online networking, Herzog said he hopes to continue to use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate.

"Now I won't just be a guy blogging and on Facebook for the city," Herzog said.