L’Italien, who is running in a crowded primary to succeed state Sen. Barry Finegold, who is running for state treasurer, is backing DeCologero. At DeCologero’s announcement in April, L’Italien said DeCologero’s work and volunteering would serve the community well, and she was not focused on DiZoglio at all.
“Phil is a superior candidate,” she said then. “He understands Methuen working here and has been very active in his hometown North Andover.”
DeCologero managed Stephen Zanni’s first mayoral campaign in 2011 and worked for him for about two years as an executive assistant. Zanni promised his support when DeCologero announced his challenge to DiZoglio.
He has the support of other city officials, including School Committee member Rick Beshara, City Councilor George Kazanjian and Bryan Sweet, a School Committee member who also is chairman of the Methuen Democratic City Committee.
Kazanjian said DeCologero helped him with his campaign for City Council last year. Beshara said in April DeCologero reached out to him and asked for support, even though Beshara does not live in the 14th Essex House district.
In Lawrence, Mayor Rivera said DeCologero supported him early in his own campaign for mayor, betting on a candidate who seemed in early 2013 like a longshot. “He came out early and knocked doors with me. It was lonely at the beginning there. That’s the kind of leadership I want,” Rivera said.
Helping campaigns, holding signs, working phones and giving up summers to elect candidates builds up connections with voters and political leaders, he said. “He’s done that. He’s earned his due,” Rivera said. “When people do that, they’ll have a sense of trust for you. The connection for me is he came up the way I came up, doing all the hard work.”
In North Andover, DeCologero serves as the vice chairman of the town Democratic Committee and as a delegate to the state convention. He helped found the North Andover Merchants Association with Republican selectman Tracy Watson, who gathered signatures for DeCologero at Methuen City Hall in April.