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Springfield Municipal Elections 2015

Election Day in Springfield  is Tuesday November 3 2015.

*NOTE: Not sure of your ward? Enter your address at the Secretary of State’s website to find out where and for whom you vote.  New pages will be posted for municipal elections after September 22.

Springfield Mayor

Salvatore Circosta (via Facebook/Circosta campaign)

Salvatore Circosta

Offices Held: none elected, Community Police Hearing Board
Profession: Business owner, church administrator
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On the candidate (briefly): The former proprietor of a cafe at the “X” in Forest Park, Sal Circosta has become more of a political fixture in the city since. He ran for Ward 3’s City Council seat in 2013 and toyed with a State Rep run in 2014. His relative name recognition and rather blunt critiques of the mayor have made him one favorite of odds-makers to advance beyond the preliminary. Since advancing to the preliminary, Circosta has criticized the mayor’s leadership on MGM’s slinking promises, but also tried to revive old talking points about Sarno’s record and relationships.

 

Mayor Domenic Sarno, physically absent, but still very much present at Thursday's forum. (WMassP&I)

Domenic Sarno (WMassP&I)

Domenic Sarno (incumbent since 2007)

Offices Held: City Council 2000-2007
Profession: political aide, South End Community Center Executive Director
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Website (not updated)
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On the candidate (briefly): The incumbent mayor of Springfield, Domenic Sarno was elected in 2007 in a surprise victory over Charlie Ryan. At the outset of his tenure, Sarno’s power was still largely subordinate to the Control Board. Since 2009, when local control was fully restored, he has had full reign, yet he governs with stricter financial controls imposed by the legislature for the post-Control Board era. Nevertheless, the city’s financial condition has undoubtedly improved on his watch, although critics say not enough. The mayor touts large projects like Union Station and MGM in almost Tommy Carcetti fashion, but his opponents argue something still festers in the heart of the city. In any event, most prognosticators heavily favor Sarno to win a fourth term (his second 4 year term) though they do so because his opponents are unlikely to match his warchest or name recognition–not because Sarno is himself unbeatable. Sarno has completely avoided debating Circosta, in a move that has struck even traditionally strong supporters, like The Republican editorial board, as high-handed, smug and wrong.

Springfield City Council

At-large

Thomas Ashe (WMassP&I)

Thomas Ashe (WMassP&I)

Thomas Ashe (incumbent since 2010)

Offices Held: Springfield School Committee
Profession: Gov’t & Community Affairs YMCA
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On the candidate (briefly): One of the many Ashes of the area.  A longtime member of the School Committee prior to running for an open Council seat in 2009.  Thomas Ashe ran for and lost the Democratic nomination for Clerk of Courts in 2012 to Laura Gentile, the current Clerk.  As Chair of Public Safety, Ashe was at forefront of the Fire Commission qualification debate and recently pawn shop regulation. More recently he has been holding meetings on legislation to improve pedestrian safety and regulate taxi and livery vehicles, with ride share regulations to come. For more, check out his entry in WMassP&I’s Political Guide.

Lamar Cook (via Facebook/Cook campaign)

Lamar Cook

Offices Held: None
Profession: Hospitality management.
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Twitter (inactive)
Website
On the candidate (briefly): Among the later entrants into the City Council race, Lamar Cook has attempted to distinguish himself among the challengers as a mix of private sector experience and vehicle for change. He has mentioned in press accounts a desire to use his experience in the hospitality industry to make the city more attractive to tourists.

Jeffery Donnelly (via Twitter/@jefferydonnelly)

Jeffery Donnelly

Offices Held: None
Profession: Unknown
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On the candidate (briefly): Jeffery Donnelly‘s biggest claim to fame may be his written work that was the subject of a lengthy review/report by the Springfield Intruder, which also mentions the various lawsuits he has initiated against government entities. That tended to dominate his run in 2013 for City Council at-large. This year, Donnelly’s book and, ahem, critiques of law enforcement have featured much less prominently. Consequently, he has engaged the issues that of broader interest to the Springfield electorate better, but how much more outside his pool of supporters is impossible to know.

Justin Hurst

Justin Hurst (via Facebook)

Justin Hurst (incumbent since 2013)

Offices Held: No others
Profession: Attorney/business owner
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On the candidate (briefly): The son of Frederick and Marjorie Hurst, the latter of whom served on the School Committee, Justin Hurst is also the husband of Denise Hurst, who is currently on the School Committee.  Hurst ran for Council in 2011 and came in 6th and could have joined the council had an at-large vacancy occurred. In 2013 during a second attempt he scored the highest number of votes in the Council-only election, pushing Jimmy Ferrera out in the process. Though maintaining a somewhat cautious tenure, he nevertheless was a key vote for updating city pawn shop regulations and his chairmanship of the ad hoc Young Professionals Committee is an ongoing project.

Jesse Lederman (via Twitter/@jllederman)

Jesse Lederman

Offices Held: None
Profession: Student, political and field organizer.
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On the candidate (briefly): Having started in Springfield politics in his teens, Jesse Lederman‘s history goes back to the earliest days of the campaign against biomass and has worked on behalf of other issues as well. A McKnight resident, his political activities in the community earned the attention of E. Henry Twiggs, now the Ward 4 councilor, who helped cultivate his political connections. He has worked on the Ed Markey, Don Berwick and Deb Goldberg campaigns. Only away from the area for his freshman year of college at George Washington University, he now attends UMass-Amherst and has put up one of the stiffer challenges in the at-large race in Springfield. Notably, for a newcomer, he has attracted some muscular support from prominent pols and organized labor.

Ken Pooler (via Facebook/non-campaign)

Ken Pooler

Offices Held: None
Profession: Union official (former), banking
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On the candidate (briefly): Ken Pooler, who founded a breakaway union among some DPW workers more than ten years ago, has not had the same level of organization as a challenger like Lederman, but his willingness to tear right into the incumbents has not gone unnoticed. At debates he has called out councilors’ ineffectiveness and tendency to rely on political contacts. Some of his aggressiveness may go a bit too far and many of his proposals may be beyond the Council’s ability, but it is hard to pan his willingness to note some pols’ behavior only changes around election time.

 

Tim Rooke (via Facebook)

Tim Rooke (via Facebook)

Timothy Rooke (incumbent since 1995)

Offices Held: None.
Profession: Vice-President, Insurance Agency
Facebook (no public page)
Twitter (none)
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On the candidate (briefly): The current dean of the City Council, Tim Rooke has served continuously longer than any other council (other councilors have served longer, but not continuously).  Rooke has styled himself a fiscal watchdog, but he has not been particularly vocal this term leaving that appellation more historical. Rumor was he did not plan to run for reelection this year, but ultimately decided to do so.  For more, check out his entry on WMassP&I’s political guide.

Alex Sherman (via Facebook/Sherman campaign)

Alexander Sherman

Offices Held: None.
Profession: Political operative
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On the candidate (briefly): A longtime activist with the Republican party in Springfield, Alexander Sherman is making his first serious run for city office after an abortive effort in 2009 for the Ward 7 Council seat. The exact extent of his base is difficult to pin down, but as a resident and fairly well-known figure in Ward 7, he may have a foundation for a surprise win or at least strong showing in November.

Kateri Walsh (WMassP&I)

Kateri Walsh (WMassP&I)

Kateri Walsh (incumbent since 2004)

Offices Held: City Council 1987-1993
Profession: retired, Springfield Women’s Commission Chair
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On the candidate (briefly): If her prior tenure is factored in, Kateri Walsh may have one of the longest tenures on the Council .  Her husband served on the Council before her. One of only two women currently on the Council, Walsh has been assigned a small business ad hoc committee by Council President Mike Fenton, which began operating recently. Though a longtime pol–she hardly flinched when her record was challenged in debates–Walsh has shown ia refreshing amount of self-awareness about her tenure recently. Most incumbents with her number of years haven’t or simply don’t. For more check out her entry on WMassP&I’s political guide.

 

Bud Williams (WMassP&I)

Bud Williams (WMassP&I)

Bud Williams (incumbent since 2012)

Offices Held: City Council 1993-2009
Profession: Retired Probation Office
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On the candidate (briefly): Despite boasting one of the biggest war chests among any council candidate, Bud Williams has probably been on the ropes more than any incumbent. A court ruling in favor of the proposed biomass plant recalled his vote for the facility, taken amid large donations from the plant’s developers. Last December he invoked Jesus at a Hanukkah event. He still enjoys tremendous name recognition and a base of support. Although some of his ideas would do little, MGM’s shrinking complex has given Williams a chance to do what he does best: fulminate on camera. However, his meandering and often incorrect explanations for his votes and desperate pleas for support from other pols belie his fear in this election. For more check out his entry on WMassP&I’s political guide.

Ward 1

Adam Gomez (via Facebook/Gomez campaign)

Adam Gomez

Offices Held: None
Profession: business owner
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On the candidate (briefly):  Although Adam Gomez comes from a family with connections, both political and not, he has tried to chart his own path into the civic life of Springfield and its Latino community and build his own name. His affiliation with some establishment Latinos is disconcerting to some, but at the same time he has also aligned himself with newer voices and groups in the North End. Altogether, his background paints a complex and intriguing portrait, something Zaida Luna has not faced in her previous opponents.

Zaida Luna (WMassP&I)

Zaida Luna (incumbent since 2010)

Offices Held: None
Profession: Social worker
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Website (none)
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On the candidate (briefly):  Elected in 2009 with some establishment support, Zaida Luna has built her own independent brand and base since.  Two years later, a sudden write-in campaign backed by Cheryl Coakley-Rivera among others was launched against her.  In 2013 she faced three challengers, came in second in the preliminary and narrowly dispatched her general election opponent. Constituent services may be the bread and butter of any councilors, but they are the very essence of her tenure. That has disgruntled some who prefer a more policy-oriented councilor, but also earned her the undying support of countless residents that have kept her in office for six years now.  Check out her entry on WMassP&I’s political guide.

Ward 3

Yolanda Cancel

Offices Held: None
Profession: personal care attendant, labor organizer
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On the candidate (briefly): An activist in Springfield, Yolanda Cancel has been planning a run for Council for some time now, making plans to launch a bid before the result of Melvin Edwards’s bid for state rep was certain. In any event, she has launched a long shot effort to oust Edwards, campaigning on a rather blunt, if unspecific promise of better representation.

 

Melvin Edwards (WMassP&I)

Melvin Edwards (WMassP&I)

Melvin Edwards (incumbent since 2010)

Other Offices Held: None
Profession: Retired, from Mass Dept of Mental Health
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On the candidate (briefly): After an unsuccessful bid for state rep last year, Melvin Edwards is vying to stay put this year. The Chair of the Responsible Employer Ordinance committee, Edwards has put much of his attention this past term toward that and shepherding tornado recovery projects in his ward. President of Keep Springfield Beautiful, neighborhood maintenance and beautification are low-key, but significant activities, mirroring his Council demeanor.  For more check out his entry on WMassP&I’s political guide.

Ward 4

Victoria Rowe (via Facebook/non-campaign)

Victoria Rowe

Other Offices Held: None
Profession: radio personality
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On the candidate (briefly): At the heart of Victoria Rowe‘s campaign is a belief that it is time for her generation to step up and take power. One of only a handful of Millennials running for Springfield office this cycle, she is trying to make this case by running against a storied figure like Twiggs. As a radio co-host, she may be in a position to attract some more name recognition than most first-time candidates, coupled with the fact that if elected she would be only the second black woman to serve on the City Council.

E. Henry Twiggs (via city website)

E. Henry Twiggs (incumbent since 2010)

Other Offices Held: None
Profession: political activist
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On the candidate (briefly): A local civil rights icon, E. Henry Twiggs was among the champions of ward representation and sought a seat after it became a reality. Not surprisingly, civil rights issues including police oversight have been part of his legislative agenda, as well as backing reforms to the body promulgated under Council President Michael Fenton. For more check out his entry on WMassP&I’s political guide.

Ward 5

Clodo Concepcion (WMassP&I)

Clodo Concepcion (WMassP&I)

Clodo Concepcion (incumbent since 2010)

Other Offices Held: None
Profession: Unknown, retired.
Facebook (no public page)
Twitter (none)
Website (none)
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On the candidate (briefly): Historically, Clodo Concepcion had two bases of support: the Elderly and the 16 Acres Civic Association where he has been a fixture for some time.  Those had historically been more than enough to hold onto his seat, but Concepcion was unnerved by his challenge in 2013.  In the end, he swatted away the challenges, although this year he faces an opponent with experience as a political organizer. Concepcion hasn’t taken anything for granted this year either, although he has yet to develop any digital presence. Check out his entry on WMassP&I’s political guide.

Marcus Williams (via Facebook/Marcus Williams campaign)

Marcus Williams

Other Offices Held: None
Profession: Grants/contracts coordinator
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On the candidate (briefly): There’s no guarantee that it would be enough, but Marcus Williams has the political organizing experience that would be necessary to defeat a towering figure like Concepcion in Ward 5. Williams has rallied some prominent individuals such as former councilor Barbara Garde and School Committeewoman Barbara Gresham to his side, leaning heavily on the argument for change like some other ward challengers. Williams has had one notable victory, however. Signs that bear Concepcion’s name on a polling place have been covered up for the duration of the election.

Ward 6

Kim Rivera. (WMassP&I)

Kim Rivera. (WMassP&I)

Kim Rivera

Other Offices Held: None
Profession: personal care attendant, community organizer
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On the candidate (briefly): The mother of Amaad Rivera, who once held the seat, Kim Rivera, has taken a decidedly different tack from her son, focusing on quality of life issues over complex policy initiative. Her lower-key approach could prompt some to give her candidacy a serious look, although her base is definitely among the poorer pockets of Ward 6. Rivera’s voracious door-knocking reputation could get her the votes she needs to be competitive against a figure like Ken Shea who has built years’ worth of relationships in Forest Park.

Ken Shea (WMassP&I)

Ken Shea (WMassP&I)

Ken Shea (incumbent since 2011)

Other Offices Held: School Committee (circa 1986-2009)
Profession: attorney
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On the candidate (briefly): Having won his seat in 2011 without an opponent and escaping a contested race in 2013, Ken Shea, a former long time School Committee member, has seemingly enjoyed having a real race for once. Shea has a following in the ward, particularly in Forest Park’s wealthier pockets, that forms the foundation of his support. On the Council, Shea is often engaged and tries to avoid staking out absolutist positions, preferring the role of conciliator.

Ward 7

Tim Allen.  (WMassP&I)

Tim Allen. (WMassP&I)

Timothy Allen (incumbent since 2009)

Other Offices Held: none
Profession: college professor
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On the candidate (briefly): After he trounced the late Mike Rodgers to win this seat in 2009, Tim Allen has not faced an opponent in a city council race until now. Allen tried to win a state senate seat last year, but after coming in second in the Democratic primary, returned to the City Council full force. Much of Allen’s attention this term has focused on the ad hoc Workforce Development committee and the Responsible Employer Ordinance Committee. Check out his entry on WMassP&I’s political guide

Lillian Gray (via Twitter/@votegray7)

Lillian Gray

Other Offices Held: none
Profession: attorney
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On the candidate (briefly): New to municipal politics, Lillian Gray has premised her candidacy around the idea that Tim Allen is not serving the entire ward. Though she has not clearly explained how that’s true, she has brought an enthusiasm to her bid that has not existed among all candidates this year. While Gray has some allies in conservative circles, she will need to have built a substantial base to unseat Allen, who has maintained solid support in Ward 7 over the years.

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