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October 25, 2013

Firefighter challenges Fiorentini

Tyler Kimball, whose union feuded with mayor, runs sticker campaign

HAVERHILL — If you’re looking for some political shock, consider the sudden and unexpected emergence of a new candidate for mayor.

Firefighter Tyler Kimball said he’s been considering a run for the corner office of City Hall for a long time and only recently announced his write-in/sticker campaign. He said he wants to give voters in Haverhill a choice.

“I’m rolling it out in small increments to build the excitement and awe of what’s going on,” he said about what he calls a fast-moving grass-roots sticker campaign. “And I love a challenge.”

As of late yesterday afternoon, Kimball had 186 “likes” on his “Kimball for Mayor” Facebook page. Comments included those of residents asking where they can obtain lawn signs.

“Do you have yard signs?” one person posted. “If so, 203 Groveland St., as big a sign as you want!”

Kimball isn’t running your typical campaign. He didn’t start it early in the year, and by choice he didn’t take out nomination papers, meaning his name will not appear on the ballot.

“Elections last too long and this country has more things to focus on,” Kimball said. “Maybe this will start a trend.”

Mayor James Fiorentini is seeking a record sixth-consecutive term in office and had no challenger until Kimball’s surprise announcement.

“I never thought I’d run completely unopposed,” Fiorentini said. “Since the modern strong mayor form of government began the 1960s and as far as back as 1870, no mayor has ever run unopposed, to the best of my knowledge.”

Kimball has been an official in the city’s firefighters union, which has feuded with the mayor in recent years over short staffing, saying it put the public in danger. Several years ago, Fiorentini had private detectives tail firefighters who called in sick and filmed them moving furniture and going to youth sporting events. In 2008, Kimball, then union president, engaged in a feud with Fiorentini over contract negotiations and sick-time use by firefighters.

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