METHUEN — Two years ago, Jennifer Kannan earned over 5,000 votes and another term on the City Council. She not only topped the ticket among 14 council candidates, but also outpaced both mayoral candidates.
Kannan, 48, a realtor, is hoping for a similar outcome Nov. 5 when voters elect their next mayor.
"People seem to like the work I'm doing," said Kannan from her Broadway campaign headquarters. "I know that this is my path. Personally, professionally and politically, this is my time to give back to the city in a higher capacity."
Kannan is incumbent Mayor Stephen Zanni's only challenger this fall. Kannan earned 5,033 votes in 2011 while Zanni required a recount in the mayor's race to edge Al DiNuccio, 4,450 votes to 4,416.
Kannan was a political rookie when she first ran for councilor-at-large in 2007. She is now in her sixth and final year on the council, due to term limits, having served as vice-chairwoman in 2009 and chairwoman in 2012.
Touting that experience as she campaigns, Kannan said voters are telling her she is more approachable than Zanni.
"We're running on positive energy — we feel good," said Kannan. "We're getting the support of the community. The main thing is they want to be heard. They want to have someone they can have faith in and they can speak to."
Kannan said the biggest difference between herself and Zanni is her ability to communicate and build consensus.
"I think that's a key element for a mayor in any community," said Kannan. "(Voters) want to be able to approach their leader and have a conversation with their leader. I think communication plays a big role in being mayor."
If elected, Kannan said she will beautify Methuen by cleaning up graffiti and roadside weeds. She said she will provide firm leadership, keep an open door to residents and business owners alike, and conduct reviews of each city department.