LAWRENCE — A month before the primary election, Mayor William Lantigua has chosen his longtime political ally Isabel Melendez as campaign manager.
“We’ve always worked together for the same cause and she is highly respected in Lawrence,” Lantigua said. “I can’t do everything myself and with her in the campaign I can accomplish a lot.”
He said Melendez can motivate people to participate in the campaign and identify potential voters. In addition to the traditional campaign, Lantigua has been using social media more than in the past. It includes photographs of him and supporters holding signs on city streets, posing with residents and at city-wide events.
“More people are using it and if I post anything on Facebook, it’s seen by more people,” he said.
Lantigua is running for reelection. He is being challenged by Lawrence Firefighter, Juan “Manny” Gonzalez, City Councilor at large Daniel Rivera, State Rep. Marcos Devers, accountant Nestor DeJesus and inventor James P. O’Donaghue.
Lantigua said Melendez has always been part of his campaigns. When asked by Lantigua to run his reelection campaign, Melendez said she was happy to oblige.
“I’ve always helped him and supported him as a person, a candidate and mayor,” said Melendez, a Lawrence resident for 54 years.
Both Melendez and Lantigua, who have known each other for 35 years, scoff at the idea that he named her manager because Melendez could help him get votes from Puerto Ricans living in the city.
“So why did I have her help me in my other campaigns?” Lantigua said. “She is a very hard worker and I have no doubts that her experience and leadership will help increase the percentage of citizens who will vote for me.”
“I don’t believe that’s the reason why he chose me because I’ve always supported him,” she said. “Through my job, I’ve worked with more Dominicans than Puerto Ricans.”