EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 22, 2014

More candidates gear up for Andover's March 25 election

By Bill Kirk and Dustin Luca
Staff Writers

---- — ANDOVER — As the temperature drops, campaign season is heating up as more candidates are poised to run for office in the March 25 election.

Yesterday morning, Jodi Oberto, 46, of 11 Hartford Circle, pulled nomination papers to run for an open seat on the Board of Selectmen.

Oberto, who last ran unsuccessfully for state senate in 2010, is a sales representative for BPC Products Inc., a manufacturing company she owns with her husband, John. They have two daughters in local schools.

Oberto moved to Andover in 1995 after she and her husband got married. She is originally from Burlington and graduated from Burlington High School.

If she turns in the required 50 signatures by the Feb. 4 deadline, she could face off against Kevin Cuff, 49, of 265 Beacon St., who pulled nomination papers for Selectman earlier this month. Cuff ran unsuccessfully last fall as an Independent for state representative but lost to former Lawrence City Council President Frank Moran.

Oberto said she is running for selectman because the timing is right and because she wants to contribute to solving the town’s problems.

“We have to keep costs under control,” Oberto said. “We are all feeling the same pressure — financial and otherwise. I’d like to be a part of helping us through that if I can.”

They will both be vying for the seat which will be left vacant by Mary Lyman, who recently announced she is not running for re-election as a member of the Board of Selectmen.

Meanwhile, a candidate has pulled nomination papers for School Committee.

A retired senior lawyer with the Environmental Protection Agency and father of two has emerged as a potential School Committee candidate in this spring’s elections.

Joel Blumstein, 60, of 3 Athena Circle, a retired senior lawyer with the Environmental Protection Agency and father of two, plans to pursue the seat being vacated by two-term Chairman Dennis Forgue.

An 18-year resident of town, Blumstein has two daughters, one a freshman at Andover High School and the other a junior at a private school in Weston.

Blumstein has served on the high school’s improvement council for the last three years and has recently become involved in a committee exploring potential new schedule formats for Andover High. He has also observed or taken part in other discussions of issues impacting the schools.

“The last few years, I’ve gotten involved and interested in school issues,” he said. “So I think I have a pretty good sense of the challenges that are faced for setting the direction for a top-tier school district.”

With Blumstein pulling papers for the School Committee, there is now at least one name in circulation for every race in the March 25 town elections, according to Town Clerk Larry Murphy.

James Cuticchia, the longest-serving member of the Andover Housing Authority, has pulled papers and is mulling whether or not to run for the seat he has held since 1994. He could not be reached yesterday.

John ‘Jack’ O’Donohue, 31, of 32 Lucerne Drive has also pulled nomination papers for Housing Authority for the March 25 election and said yesterday he is definitely planning to run.

O’Donohue is a real estate attorney and director of social media marketing for Dalton & Finegold, LLP and Gold Title, P.C., Andover. An attorney for four years, O’Donohue has lived in Andover for 5 years, but was born and raised in North Andover.

He is running because “a lot of my experience in law has been around housing. It’s a very important area for me. It’s something I’m willing to dedicate time to.”

Town Moderator Sheila Doherty has also pulled and returned papers for her seat, which is voted on annually. The signatures have been verified and she is cleared to run, Murphy said.

Punchard Free School Trustees Jim Sutton and Donald Schroeder have both taken out papers seeking re-election as well.