METHUEN — In a resounding victory, Mayor Stephen Zanni was elected to a second term last night over challenger Jennifer Kannan — earning 57 percent of the vote to Kannan’s 43 percent.
“It was a landslide victory,” Zanni told a crowd of supporters at the Sons of Italy. “The plan worked. The message worked.”
Zanni received 4,967 votes to Kannan’s 3,683. Turnout in the municipal election was 30 percent. In all, 8,772 ballots were cast in a city with 29,111 registered voters.
Zanni, 69, a retired teacher and school administrator, said his top second-term priority will be completing the ongoing Methuen High School renovation and expansion. Zanni also said he hopes to revamp the high school’s athletic facilities and promote the high school auditorium as a performing arts center worthy of attracting several big-name acts each year.
Zanni said his margin of victory serves as a referendum on his first two years in office — including his repeated attempts at privatizing the municipal Information Technology department.
“The people are definitely behind me,” Zanni said.
The City Council voted down IT privatization several times during Zanni’s first term. Zanni said he will once again push to privatize the department if there is support from the newly-elected council, which will have six returning members.
“There’s no entitlements here,” said Zanni. “If people aren’t doing their job, we have to look at that.”
Kannan, 48, a Realtor who is serving her sixth consecutive year as a city councilor-at-large, met with supporters last night at the Sweetheart Inn on Myrtle Street.
“I felt that we ran a pretty good campaign,” said Kannan. “I always believe in the people’s voice, and they spoke.”
Kannan will be forced to leave council at the end of the year due to term limits. As for her political future, Kannan did not say what’s next.