EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 17, 2013

Lawrence community activist who helped domestic violence victims announces for city council seat

By Mark E. Vogler

---- — LAWRENCE — Local community activist Wendy Luzon said there needs to be a better connection between the people and City Hall.

“I can be that bridge between the citizens and government,” Luzon told a gathering of supporters last night during a campaign kickoff at Terra Luna Cafe, where she declared herself a candidate for one of the three city councilor at large seats. The preliminary election is Sept. 17, while the final election is Nov. 5.

“My intention to run is just because I care about the city of Lawrence. Lawrence is my home and I want to make it better,” she said.

Luzon, 41, a homeowner, mother of two and businesswoman received a huge boost in her first-time bid for political office from Isabel Melendez, a longtime Lawrence community activist.

“Wendy can do the job,” Melendez said. “She needs to be city councilor. She deserves to be a member of the City Council,” she said.

Luzon also got a supportive introduction from a friend — Mary McAlary, president of De La Mano Inc., a city-based non-profit organization that serves victims of domestic violence. McAlary said she first met Luzon about 15 years ago and has been impressed by “the compassion she had for domestic violence victims.”

De La Mano Inc., which Luzon co-founded, features a hotline for battered women. Volunteers provide a safety assessment and place the survivors in a secure environment until they can find a permanent place to live. Luzon has also been shelter director of the Women’s Resource Center Program at YWCA of Haverhill.

If elected, Luzon said she will concentrate on being “an effective voice between our community residents and the local government ... visiting residents of Lawrence to listen to their needs, concerns and the matters that affect their daily lives.”

Luzon said she and her husband, Raoul Polanco are co-business owners of A&J Demolition Services Corp., a demolition and asbestos removal company. The couple, who live at 11 Albion St., have two children — Amy Polanco, a junior at the UMass Dartmouth and Jaddiel Polanco, a senior at Lawrence High School. He has been accepted at UMass Dartmouth.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Luzon said she immigrated to the U.S. at age 15 and has been a Lawrence resident for more than 14 years. She is currently working on a bachelor’s degree in psychology at UMass Lowell.

Luzon cited public safety as a key issue she will work on if elected.

“We need better safety in our neighborhoods. That’s a major concern for me,” Luzon said.

“We need to continue providing social services, show more support for small businesses in the city and improve education,” she said.