EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 30, 2013

Three vie for two Central District seats

METHUEN — Three candidates are in the running for two Central District City Council seats, including two freshman incumbents who are seeking second terms.

Two of the three candidates cited illegal drug sales specifically as the top issue in the Central District, and the third said public safety is always a top concern.

Jamie Atkinson, 47, and Lisa Yarid Ferry, 46, and both incumbents, said "stop and drop" drug transactions are a top issue because of Interstate 93. A former councilor, Jack Cronin, who is seeking another term after having been off the council for years

"We must maintain highly-trained personnel in our police and fire departments to protect all our residents," Cronin said.

Ferry and Atkinson both said they would work with the police department to combat the rise in popularity of car-to-car drug deals in the district, which is due to proximity to the interstate.

"I, along with members of the Methuen Police Department's Drug Unit, are trying to engage people to participate in and develop stronger neighborhood watch groups," Ferry said.

All three candidates said privatization of city services could be considered, but the council should be deliberate before approving private companies to take over.

"We need to make sure that privatizing a service saves significant money, improves the level of services and keeps the city safe," Atkinson said.

The election is Nov. 5.

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