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April 12, 2013

Devers nudges toward joining the race for mayor in Lawrence

LAWRENCE — State Rep. Marcos Devers said he may announce his candidacy for mayor at a rally at a downtown nightclub next week, when he said he may jump into the race if the crowd is big and the reception is enthusiastic.

“I’m going to see what the people are asking me to do,” said Devers, who served as an acting mayor for three months in 2001 and ran unsuccessfully for the job in 2005 and 2009. “I’ve heard different opinions. Some people have said, ‘You’re doing a great job (as a state representative). Don’t get into this mess in the city. Keep doing what you’re doing.’ Others say, ‘We need your leadership in the city.’ I’ll weigh that.”

The two-term Democratic state representative would be the fifth into the race for mayor, which already includes the incumbent, William Lantigua, who announced his run for a second four-year term in a similar fashion at the same nightclub on Dec. 29, when he said the turnout of about 100 people convinced him to run.

Also in the race are City Council President Daniel Rivera, accountant Nestor DeJesus and inventor James O’Donoghue.

Next Saturday night’s rally at Rio’s Bar and Grill is being organized by a group of local business and media leaders, including several who supported Lantigua in his first race in 2009 but said they have been disillusioned by his leadership. They include Rafael Guzman, owner of RM Technologies, a construction firm; Spanish radio personality Randy Reyes and Beatriz Perez, who writes for El Mundo, a Spanish newspaper based in Boston that circulates in the Merrimack Valley.

“He missed a very good opportunity,” Guzman said yesterday about why he is switching his support from Lantigua. “Look at the numbers: We lost the school department (to state control). We have a financial overseer. Crime went up. Our unemployment is almost double the national rate and more than double the state rate, still hovering around 13 percent. And of course, the city hasn’t been the main actor. It’s just been the mayor. Too much time has been spent on Mayor William Lantigua, not enough on the people.”

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