By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER – Yet another political season has begun in North Andover.
The first candidate to jump into this year’s race is Mark Mezzina, who took out nomination papers to run for School Committee at the Town Clerk’s office Thursday morning. Mezzina, 19, is a graduate of Austin Preparatory School.
He completed his freshman year at the University of South Carolina, where he majored in political science, but moved back to his hometown to get involved in local politics.
He said he anticipates resuming his studies at a college that’s much closer to home.
“I am heavily invested in the success of the future of this town,” said Mezzina, who attended the School Committee’s Thursday night forum on the new grading system.
Mezzina, who said he’s been deeply interested in politics ever since he can remember, said he intends to promote “more open, transparent government.” If he’s elected, he pledged to post each of his votes online, with an explanation.
Mezzina is the son of Peter and Alexandra and has resided in North Andover all of his life. His three siblings, in 10th, eighth and sixth grades, attend schools in this town.
Campaigning is nothing new for Mezzina. Last summer and fall, he worked on Karin Rhoton’s campaign for state representative.
Rhoton, who served a three-year term on the School Committee, credited Mezzina with being a very hard worker.
School Committee member Christine Allen, who has served two terms on the board, indicated she is leaning toward seeking a third term but hasn’t made an official announcement.
Selectman Rosemary Connelly Smedile is also up for re-election this year. Like School Committee members, selectmen serve three-year terms.
This year’s election will take place March 26. Candidates have until Feb. 1 to take out nomination papers. The papers, with at least 50 valid signatures of voters, must be returned to the Town Clerk’s office by Feb. 5.
Besides a selectman and a School Committee member, voters will also elect a member of the Housing Authority board for a five-year term.