LAWRENCE — Voters who cast ballots for Mayor William Lantigua at the Arlington Middle School in North Lawrence yesterday suggested that a central message of the mayor’s campaign — he’s filled potholes on streets across Lawrence — resonated in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
Arlington voters also cited Lantigua’s populist appeal. He carried District C Arlington Middle School neighborhood by a 2-1 margin.
“The Lawrence she knew from back then and the Lawrence today are totally different,” said Austria Ramos, a 33-year-old receptionist in a medical office, referring to her 70-year-old mother, Juliana Ramos. “(Lantigua’s) been working very hard. He’s fixing the streets. He’s taking care of the people of Lawrence. He’s in contact with everybody.”
“Willie!” said Rafael Paez when asked for whom he voted. “The change in the city is very good. The streets are very good. The (recently rebuilt Duck) bridge, very good. The parks, very good.”
“He’s fixing the streets,” said Tarsy Melo, who coordinates programs for victims of domestic violence for the state Division of Children and Families. “Even though it’s little stuff, he’s doing something.”
“Lantigua, because of the fact that he’s been repairing the streets,” said Carlos Santos, 22, who works on an assembly line making electronic products. “He’s been supportive of the community. My mother knows him.”
Across the river at a polling place at the South Congregational Church on South Broadway, Nara Bernard, 34, a health care administrator, also cited the recent improvements to Chester Street, where she lives. “I just like the job he’s doing,” Bernard said of Lantigua. “My street is beautiful, for one.”
Kristin Carraher, 21, a junior at UMass Lowell, said she voted for challenger Daniel Rivera because of his education and experience. “I think he could do something for Lawrence that the others can’t,” Carraher said. “We need something who’s educated, who knows what the city can do. Someone who’s been around.”