EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 13, 2013

Ortiz enters Lawrence School Committee race as a write-in candidate

LAWRENCE — Voters in District A may not have a choice for their seat on the School Committee, but now they at least have a candidate.

Community activist Myra Ortiz this week began a write-in campaign for the committee seat that James Vittorioso will give up Dec. 31, which otherwise has drawn no interest. No names will appear on the ballot for the seat and Ortiz can take it only if at least 50 voters write in her name.

“Without someone representing my neighbors or myself, who do we go to when we have a problem or a concern about our child’s education?” Ortiz said about why she’s running.

Interest in serving on the School Committee fell off a cliff when the state took control of the city’s schools two years ago, saying the committee was in chaos and the schools suffered from chronic underachievement. The takeover, which is expected to last several more years, left the committee without power.

Only two of the six committee seats will be contested this year. In District D, Angel Garcia will face Jeovanny Rodriguez, both newcomers. In District E, Homayoun Maali will face incumbent Patricia Mariano.

Running unopposed are Melquisidec Santos in District B, Pavel Payano in District C and James Blatchford in District F.

Ortiz has two children, including one at the Esperanza Academy. She has a bachelor’s degree from Southern New Hampshire University and has been active in several civic groups, including the YMCA and the Salvation Army. She also has served on the PTO at the Greater Lawrence Technical School.

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