By Keith Eddings
---- — LAWRENCE — Cara Martinoli, a real estate lawyer with a Boston law firm, last week became the 13th resident to pick up nominating petitions for one of the three at-large seats on the City Council.
At-large councilors represent the entire city. Roger Twomey is the only one of the three incumbents running again. Incumbent Daniel Rivera is giving up his council seat to run for mayor, and incumbent Frank Moran is giving up his seat after being elected to the statehouse last year.
Javier Castillo and Kathleen Runge also recently picked up petitions to represent one of the city’s six council districts.
Castillo is seeking to represent District D, a North Lawrence district now represented by Oneida Aquino. Runge is making a second effort to unseat incumbent Eileen Bernal in District E, a South Lawrence district.
While the list of those who have picked up petitions for an at-large council seat is overflowing – it also includes incumbent Councilor Roger Twomey, former councilors Nilka Alvarez-Rodriguez and Modesto Maldonado, and several current or former members of the School Committee – the list of candidates for the six district seats is much shorter.
All six incumbents have picked up nominating petitions, but just five potential challengers have emerged so far.
Two incumbents – Estela Reyes in District B and Kendrys Vasquez in District C, both freshman councilors representing North Lawrence districts – so far have no opposition.
The list of those who have picked up petitions to run for one of the six district seats on the School Committee is even thinner.
A potential contest has developed only in District E, where Homayoun Maali has picked up petitions to challenge incumbent Patricia Mariano, who also has picked up petitions.
Otherwise, just one candidate has picked up petitions in each of the other five School Committee districts, including in District A, where John Cave, a member of the city’s Human Rights Commission, is the latest. The district is now represented by James Vittoriosso, who is not running again.
“The city is hurting,” Martinoli, the latest at-large council candidate to pick up petitions, said about her decision to run. “Evictions and foreclosures are up. Unemployment is so high.”
Martinoli was raised in Haverhill and moved to Monarch Lofts, a former textile mill where her grandmother once worked, on Merrimack Street last year. She graduated from the Massachusetts School of Law, where she was president of the Student Bar Association even as a night student, in 2006 and volunteered in a program that helps indigent litigants navigate cases without lawyers in Family and Probate Court. She now works for Harmon Law Offices in Boston.
On the council, she said she would focus on issues involving public safety and unemployment.
Candidates running to represent one of the six council or School Committee districts need 50 signatures on their petitions. At-large candidates and candidates for the Greater Lawrence Technical School need 100 signatures.
Nominating petitions are due Aug. 6. The preliminary election is Sept. 17. The general election is Nov. 5.
Lawrence residents also will elect a mayor this year. Eight people have picked up nominating petitions for that office so far, including the incumbent, William Lantigua.