EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 5, 2010

At least three running for Andover state rep seat

By Jonathan Phelps

After state Sen. Susan Tucker announced she will not seek re-election when her term ends, a number of potential candidates started lining up for her seat — including state Rep. Barry Finegold.

Since Finegold cannot run for two state offices, a number of candidates have come forward to run for his 17th Essex District seat, which includes parts of Andover, Lawrence and Tewksbury.

In the mix are Lawrence Personnel Director Frank Bonet, Andover attorney Sal Tabit, and political consultant and policy adviser Paul Adams from Andover. Also rumored to be considering a run is Lawrence School Committee Vice Chairman Samuel Reyes, but he would not comment.

Each candidate must collect 150 signatures and file them with their respective town clerk offices or registrar of voters office by April 27. Once the signatures are authorized by each community, the candidates must file with the state by May 25.

Adams, 28, said his top priorities will be to lower taxes, add pro-growth business policies, and increase prioritization of local aid for essential community services.

"We (the state) have extraordinary challenges ahead of us," said Adams. "I am running to take Massachusetts in a new direction."

As an Andover native, Adams graduated from Andover High School in 2000 and went to Suffolk University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in international relations. He also is an elected member of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee for the 2nd Essex and Middlesex state senatorial district.

"We are in a position where we need someone who can pursue this full time," he said, adding that he quit his job to run for this seat. "I will aggressively pursue the problems that this state and district face."

Bonet, 47, who also is a Lawrence School Committee member, said it was the economy that motivated him to run. He said he will work on the economy to improve employment and to ensure prosperity of local businesses. He also is committed to education and lowering insurance costs.

"The economy is my top priority," said Bonet, a Democrat. "There needs to be more outreach to attract jobs, especially in the Merrimack Valley."

He said he was hoping to see some signs of an economic turnaround by now but he hasn't seen one, he said.

"It makes me upset, but at the same time it motivates me," said Bonet. "I have to do something about it."

Bonet grew up in New Jersey before moving to Puerto Rico when he was 14 years old. He joined the U.S. Army at 17 and was in the service for 15 years. He met his wife, Vivian, who is from Lawrence, when he was stationed at Fort Devens.

Tabit, 41, an attorney, ran against Finegold in 1998 for his state representative seat and decided to run again.

"I never thought I'd run again," said Tabit. "But I don't want to be the guy, who, in 40 years, looks in the mirror and has complained about the government without doing anything."

City Council President Frank Moran was considering a run, but has decided not to run.

Finegold is among seven people who have since officially pulled papers for Tucker's 2nd Essex and Middlesex District senate seat.

Other Democrats running are Jack Wilson and Deb Silberstein, both of Andover. Dracut Democrat John Kelly also plans to run this fall.

Republicans running are Mark Baldwin and Jamison Tomasek, both of Andover, Patrick Rahilly of Tewksbury, and independent Jodi Oberto, also of Andover.

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