EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 18, 2013

Write-in School Committee candidate elected to District A

By Yadira Betances
ybetances@eagletribune.com

---- — LAWRENCE — Come next year, the School Committee will have two new members and an incumbent who won a contested race.

Angel Garcia, 27 will represent District D while write-in candidate Myra Ortiz won a seat for District A as a write-in candidate. Ortiz needed 50 write-in votes to be elected. She got 291.

Incumbent Patricia Mariano will return to represent District E after defeating Homayoun Maali.

Mariano was unanimously appointed to the school committee in September 2012 to fill the seat left vacant by Jennifer Cooper, who resigned. Mariano, a teacher and administrator in the Lawrence Public schools since 1971, was chosen from among four candidates. She could not be reached for comment last night.

Ortiz was overjoyed with her write-in victory.

“I’m not a politician. I’m just a mother involved for my kids and my children’s friends,” Ortiz said. “I’m here for every parent in my district who doesn’t have the opportunity to be present.”

Ortiz was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Lawrence 13 years ago. She has two children, one a student at Parthum School and the second at Esperanza Academy.

One thing Ortiz wants to see in the school system is transparency.

“When I speak with the teachers, they never had a conversation with the receiver and that’s not okay. I’m not against anyone, but don’t tell me I don’t have a say in my children’s education.”

After Mayor Lantigua missed most of the School Committee meetings, James Blatchford said there may be hope with Daniel Rivera coming in second place.

“To have a mayor who will attend the meetings and care about the education of our children instead of running it on auto pilot,” said Blatchford, who represents District F.

Frank McLaughlin, president of the Lawrence Teacher’s Union was happy Ortiz ran a write-in campaign for District A.

“It says a lot about the importance of our children and that this is not a meaningless race,” he said. “It’s very important that we have a leader for the committee and there has been a tremendous void.”