EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

December 30, 2012

Abdoo may challenge Lantigua reelection bid

Criticizes mayor for 'carrying on as if he were king'

(Continued)

Abdoo works for the federal government as a public affairs officer but said he will consider another run for mayor. He said he already has support from a “cross-section of Lawrencians,” including several former Lantigua supporters who now want “a new beginning.”

“I’m not ruling out running for mayor,” said Abdoo. “I’m certainly going to be part of the political solution this year. All options are on the table.”

Lantigua announced his candidacy for a second term Friday night at Rio Bar & Grill on Appleton Street, just a short walk from City Hall.

Lantigua is a Dominican immigrant who came to the United States when he was 19.

He had served as a state representative since 2003 before succeeding former Mayor Michael Sullivan, who served two terms and could not run again in 2009 due to term limits.

In an exclusive interview with The Eagle-Tribune, Lantigua on Friday said he brought the city back from near-bankruptcy and a $30 million deficit after he took office. He also touted three consecutive years of balanced budgets, repaved streets and a lower unemployment rate.

Lantigua also said he would have been willing to step aside if enough voters had urged him to do so, but that has not happened.

“Where he sees that message (to run again) I don’t know,” said Abdoo. “I want to get the message out that this will not stand.”

Abdoo said the city’s balanced budgets are a credit to the City Council and Robert Nunes, Lawrence’s state-appointed fiscal overseer. But he said they’ve still come at the expense of public safety and quality of life issues in the city.

Abdoo also noted the state takeover of the Lawrence Public Schools and the ongoing investigation into the Lantigua administration, which has led to the indictment of two top officials, police Deputy Chief Melix Bonilla and the mayor’s former Chief of Staff Leonard Degnan.

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