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April 21, 2013

Devers declares campaign for mayor

This will be his fourth political showdown against Mayor Lantigua


“Improving the city’s image is the most important thing. We have got to show a good image to the rest of the state. The Merrimack Valley has to be proud of Lawrence. That’s our main goal. Everybody has got to work together, and the government’s got to be transparent if we are to make improvements,” Devers said.

“We need to make everybody feel good about Lawrence. I think that Lawrence has started a new era. It’s no more ‘us against them.’ We’re all for Lawrence. We’re all for improving the quality of life for everyone. I’m going to be a mayor for everyone,” he said.

Devers immigrated to Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic in 1982 and moved to Lawrence five years later. He taught science at Lawrence High School and math at Greater Lawrence Technical School for 16 years, and now works as an engineer for a company he owns.

Devers’ wife Victoria is a school teacher. They have four children.

His political career is marked by resilience. It took him five attempts before he finally got elected to the City Council in 1999. Council members voted him to serve as interim mayor for three months in 2001, after former Mayor Patricia Dowling resigned to become a judge.

His brief career as the state’s first Latino mayor — Lantigua was the first to be elected — ended in November 2001, when he returned to the City Council after Michael Sullivan was elected mayor. He served as council president from 2002 to 2004 and left the council to run against Sullivan in 2005, but lost. This will be Devers’ third bid for mayor

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

Last night’s rally was 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.

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