LAWRENCE - Marcos Devers, whose personal financial problems mirrored those of many of his constituents, won his first full term as a state representative in a landslide last night.
Devers, a Democrat who was first elected during a spring special election, took 4,495 votes in north Lawrence's 16th Essex House District.
In sharp contrast, Republican challenger Enrique Matos received 767 votes.
Devers said his priority now is "jobs, jobs, jobs." Lawrence's unemployment rate hovers at 18 percent, nearly twice the national average.
Devers said he will also work to put more police back on the streets of Lawrence.
"This is a time of frustration. People are upset. They want to reduce the crime and murders," he said.
The city also needs a new police station and a strong economic revitalization plan for vacant mill buildings, he said.
Again in this election, Devers had the backing of Mayor William Lantigua, who held the seat until he was sworn in as mayor in January.
Though they previously been rivals, Lantigua endorsed Devers in the special election after resigning from the House seat.
While campaigning, Devers also prevented foreclosure on his 16 Woodland St. home.
A legal advertisement said the home would be auctioned on Oct. 25.
But Devers said he'd retained an attorney to help with the problem and the auction never took place. Voters apparently weren't concerned with the financial problem, which Devers described as personal.
"That's everybody. Almost everybody has had trouble with their home, credit cards or lost their jobs," said Devers supporter William Acevedo.
"A person like Marcos Devers understands our problems. It will be easier for him to go to the statehouse and talk about these problems," Acevedo added.