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Bettencourt announces candidacy for 4th term


Peabody’s 2017 elections are heating up. Not long after the nomination papers became available on March 6, papers for all of the available City Council and nearly all the School Committee positions, Light District Commission positions, and now the mayoral seat have been pulled. Hopefuls have a few more months left before nominations close on July 21. The last day to return papers is July 25.

Incumbent Mayor Edward Bettencourt, Jr. announced his candidacy for reelection as the city’s mayor on April 26, the fourth time he is seeking the role. The mayor was first elected in 2011 over current Swampscott Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald, taking the reins over from then Mayor Michael Bonfanti. Since then he has run unopposed in all other elections.

In a statement, Mayor Bettencourt drew on his list of accomplishments over more than half a decade to bolster his cause, foremost among them the construction of the state-of-the-art, widely praised Higgins Middle School. Bettencourt also cited his role in securing aid to repair the addled roof of the Peabody Veterans Memorial High School, and in spearheading the ongoing effort to beautify and revitalize Peabody Square, which has received broad acclaim from investors and visitors alike.

“I am committed to maintaining Peabody’s affordability while still investing in our future and delivering the core services that residents expect,” Mayor Bettencourt said. “I love this city and I love this job. If the voters see fit, I will continue to give it my very best every single day.”


In the legislative branch of the city’s government, the recent emergence of a few more contestants has rounded out the race. New faces Ryan Melville, Stephen Collins III and Peter Bakula will all also be seeking the seat, which is limited to five slots and comes with a two-year term limit.

The at-large position will see a few familiar returning faces, with Tom Gould, Dave Gravel and Anne Manning-Martin all seeking reelection. Current School Committee Member Tom Rossignol will also be seeking the councillor at-large seat.

Current Councillor-at-Large and State Rep. Tom Walsh has stated that he intends to forgo reelection and instead focus on his position at the state house. Current Councillor-at-Large Michael Garabedian has not yet pulled papers.

Ward Councillors

For the ward seats on the council, Ward 1 Councillor Jon Turco, Ward 2 Councillor Peter McGinn and Ward 3 Councillor James Moutsoulas are running unopposed as of yet. Ward 4 Councillor Ed Charest is experiencing a challenge from newcomer Bukia Chalvire, a Peabody resident and chair of the Peabody Republican City Committee. In Ward 5, returning Councillor and current City Council President Joel Saslaw is being challenged by James Jeffery and Andrew Diamond.

Ward 6 Councillor Barry Sinewitz has stated that he does not intend to run for reelection, making room for hopefuls Margaret Tierney and Michael G. Geomelos. Like council-at-large, ward councillors serve a term of two years.

School Committee Members

Current Member Beverley Ann Griffin Dunne is the only familiar face in the School Committee race so far. Committee Member Jarrod Hochman, who is also up for reelection, has not pulled papers as of yet. As stated previously, Rossignoll is pursuing the at-large position this year.

All other members – Olimpio, Amico and Carpenter – are currently serving their second year of their allotted four-year term. If they so choose, they will be up for reelection in 2020. Three other contenders so far include Andrew Arnotis, Laurence Aiello and Linda Quadros-Lopez.

Light Commissioner

The light commissioner serves a term of six years and oversees the daily operations of providing electricity to the city’s nearly 26,000 customers, among many other responsibilities.

Chair Tom D’Amato and Vice Chair William Aylward are both seeking reelection. Aylward has served as light commissioner since 2012 and in various capacities, serving once as chair in 2014. D’Amato, a veteran on the board, had previous served as chair in 2004, 2009 and 2013 and vice chair in 2008, 2012 and from 2016-present. Raymond Melvin and Laurence Olcott are also seeking Amato and Aylward’s positions.

By Melanie Higgins

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