EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 3, 2013

Campaign notebook

A dearth of political candidates

LAWRENCE - It’s easy to blame the state takeover of the Lawrence Public Schools for the lack of candidates competing for School Committee in Tuesday’s city election.

With school committee members stripped of their governance powers, only two of the six district races will be contested.

But that’s less than half of the 10 uncontested political races featured on the ballot.

Candidates in three of the six district city council races are also running unopposed.

And only three candidates are running for the three seats on the Greater Lawrence Technical School Committee.

Absence of candidates at political forums in the race for the three city-councilor-at-large seats has also been conspicuous.

It hasn’t been much of a campaign in Lawrence’s marque political race either, with Mayor William Lantigua refusing to participate in any political forums with his challenger, City Councilor Daniel Rivera.

So, how will this affect voter apathy?

GOP’s Baker visits Phoenix Academy

LAWRENCE - Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker came to Lawrence Friday spreading his message of education and closing the achievement gap.

Baker, a member of the board of trustees of Phoenix Network, was at Phoenix Charter Academy in Lawrence. He attended a board meeting, toured the school, stopped in classrooms to talk with students.

Instead of offering traditional classes, Phoenix Academy students are grouped according to their skill levels in every subject while preparing them for college.

This is the second time he visited the Lawrence school and even remembered some of the students and their interests.

“I admire what the students, teachers and administrators are doing. For many kids this is the difference between a terrible life and a better life,” Baker said.

Phoenix Academy in Lawrence is the second to open in Massachusetts. Chelsea was the first. The Lawrence school has 150 students, whom had previously dropped out of school.

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