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February 20, 2014

Zanni aide exploring run for state rep

NORTH ANDOVER — Voters in the 14th Essex District, which includes five precincts in North Andover, three in Methuen and smaller portions of Lawrence and Haverhill, may see another hotly contested race for state representative this year.

Philip DeCologero, a longtime North Andover resident and executive assistant to Methuen Mayor Stephen Zanni, has formed an exploratory committee for a possible run for the seat currently occupied by Rep. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen.

In addition, political newcomer Oscar Camargo, also of North Andover, announced earlier this month he’s running in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary.

DiZoglio, who scored a major political upset in 2012 when she defeated then-Rep. David Torrisi, D-North Andover, will be seeking re-election.

“I can’t speak to other people’s plans,” DiZoglio said Tuesday, noting that DeCologero has not officially announced his candidacy. “I’m certainly running.”

She said she’s now focused on the annual state budget as well as legislation being considered by the Education Committee, of which she is a member. She added she is working with Methuen Mayor Zanni on issues facing the schools in his city.

“I am focused on doing the work of the people,” DiZoglio said.

DeCologero, 26, vice chairman of the North Andover Democratic State Committee, filed a statement of organization with the secretary of state’s office Feb. 11. North Andover Selectman Richard Vaillancourt is listed as chairman of the Friends of Phil DeCologero while Phyllis Tyler of Lawrence is the treasurer.

“It’s a practical step,” said DeCologero, who has been contemplating a run for state representative for a long time. His possible candidacy, he said, is “very much in the exploratory stage.”

He has been discussing the matter with family members and friends and will continue to do so, he said. Asked why he might be attempting to defeat DiZoglio in the Democratic primary, he said he thinks he can provide “stronger leadership for the Merrimack Valley.”

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