By Mark E. Vogler
---- — LAWRENCE — In one of the least competitive elections in year, voters elected three incumbent School Committee members and a newcomer in uncontested races.
District E member Patricia Mariano defeated challenger Homayoun Maali 2,441-498 to win her first full two-year term in the Mount Vernon Neighborhood area..
Jeovanny Rodriguez beat Angel Garcia 1,000-784 in the battle of newcomers for the District D Tower Hill seat.
Voters in the District A Propsect Hill area elected newcomer Myra Ortiz to the seat unchallenged, with 1,503 votes.
Incumbent candidates Pavel M. Payano (District C), Milquicided Santos (District B) and James R. Blatchford (District F) all won reelection without competition, receiving 1,701, 1,893 and 1,720 votes respectively.
City officials say interest in the School Committee races has decreased dramatically since the state took control of Lawrence Public Schools in late 2011, leaving the committee members without governance powers.
Interest was also down in the competition for the city’s three seats on the Greater Lawrence Technical School Committee. All three candidates were elected.
Incumbent members Abel Vargas and Leo Lamontagne received 7,676 and 6,552 votes respectively. Candidate Gary Manion won the final seat with 5,526 votes.
For Lamontagne, this will be his 15th consecutive two-year term, making him the longest-serving among active elected officials in the city and one of the longest ever in city political history.