EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 3, 2013

Campaign notebook

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — 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.

Massiel Javier,19, is one of those students. She was originally reluctant to go back to school and thought of getting her general education diploma instead. But, now she is on the honor roll.

“It makes me feel good. I know I made a good decision because being here gives me more opportunity to get a better job,” Javier said.

The school at 15 Union St., has 13 teachers, 12 fellows from AmeriCorps, two full-time and one part-time social workers.

When he asked how many students are eligible to vote, three raised their hands. Baker quickly ran toward them, shook their hands saying, “Hi, I’m Charlie Baker. I’m running for governor.”

The primary elections will be Sept. 16, 2014 with the general election on Nov. 4.

Councilors meet on the campaign trail

HAVERHILL - City Councilors John Michitson and Colin LePage happened to be in the same place at the same time recently while on the campaign trail.

They were going door to door in the Hunking Middle School area when they arrived at the same home at almost the same time.

Michitson arrived first and was at the door of the home speaking with a man and woman, while LePage was coming up the walkway.

Michitson talked to the residents about economic development and his ideas for the city, while LePage spoke briefly about the city’s recycling program and plans to build a new Hunking School. LePage said that in his three campaigns for City Council, he’s never run into another candidate while going door to door.

Free concert at Kimball Farm today

Tyler Kimball, a candidate in Haverhill’s mayoral race, will host a free concert featuring country and western music as well as other styles of music on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Kimball Farm, 791 East Broadway. Gates open at noon. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets if you wish. This family-friendly event is open to Haverhill residents, friends and families. Parking is free on the farm and you will be directed to a space. Parking is not allowed on the street. Haverhill police details will provide security during this event. The concert area overlooks the Merrimack River and offers scenic views.

Rides to the polls offered

HAVERHILL - Need a ride to the polls? No problem, Maura Ryan-Ciardiello for Haverhill School Committee will come pick you up! Also, “Coffee with Maura” will continue until Monday, November 4th.

Volunteers needed! Let Maura know if you want to join the fun on Tuesday, November 5th and hold a sign.

Please email Maura52157@aol.com or call 978-521-1130 for “Coffee with Maura” locations, volunteering on election day or for a ride to the polls with Maura on Tuesday, November 5th!

Patrick will raise $$$ on trip to Atlanta

BOSTON - Gov. Deval Patrick says he misses the private sector, but before his turn in public office ends next year the governor is embracing his prominent public role as a chief defender of President Barack Obama.

Patrick plans to travel to Atlanta this weekend where he will speak to the Gate City Bar Association.

While in Atlanta, Patrick will appear on Meet the Press this morning to discuss the Affordable Care Act, following a segment on the show with his predecessor, former Gov. Mitt Romney, on the same topic.

Praised by the president as one of the best governors in the country, Patrick last week introduced Obama at a stop in Boston where Patrick gave an impassioned defense of health care reform, both at the state and national level.

The Gate City Bar Association is the oldest African-American bar in Georgia, according to its website. Patrick was scheduled to address the association’s Hall of Fame Gala at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead in Atlanta last night.