Army veteran and college student Crescenzo may challenge Rep. Wong
By Mark E. Vogler
A U.S. Army veteran who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Salem State University is a Saugus resident who is considering a challenge of state Rep. Donald Wong in this fall’s election. “I am hearing from people all over the district who say that I should explore running,” Matthew P. Crescenzo told The Saugus Advocate this week.
“There are many people in the district who believe that our government doesn’t listen and must do a better job of understanding the needs of the community … I truly believe in public service and am discussing the possibility with my family and potential supporters. I will have a decision in the coming days,” Crescenzo said.
Crescenzo, 25, a fourth-generation Saugus resident and 2011 Saugus High School graduate, signed the log on Jan. 30 at the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Election Division office in Boston when he pulled nomination papers.
He’s currently studying Political Science at Salem State while working as an IT specialist at Lynn Community Health Center. While in the Army, he served overseas in both South Korea and Afghanistan.
Candidates vying for the Ninth Essex House District seat must submit their nomination papers to the Town Clerk’s Office for certification of names by 5 p.m. on May 1. They must then pick up the papers and file them to the Secretary of the Commonwealth no later than 5 p.m. on May 29.
Incumbent Wong eyes a decade of service
Wong, a Saugus Republican, recently said he plans to seek a fifth two-year term representing voters of the Ninth Essex House District. He pulled nomination papers on Jan. 26 and has said he intends to make a formal announcement later this month or in March. Corinne Riley, who was his campaign manager two years ago, will oversee his campaign again, according to Wong.
Precincts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 in Saugus make up the core of the district, which also includes parts of Lynn and Wakefield. Two years ago, district voters reelected Wong over Democratic challenger Jen Migliore by a lopsided 6,451 to 4,790-margin. Wong won all eight Saugus precincts and each of the four precincts in Wakefield. Migliore avoided a total shutout by beating Wong in Precincts 1 and 2 in Lynn’s Ward 1. Overall, Wong won reelection handily – by 2,315 votes or a 55 percent margin (12,766 to 10,451).
Former Saugus Selectman candidate Michael A. Coller, an unsuccessful candidate for Selectman last fall, pulled nomination papers on Jan. 29. He recently changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Independent. Coller cites his 23 years in corporate security, as a Massachusetts State Police-licensed private investigator, in addition to being a published author of two novels and having past public service on the Saugus Library Board of Trustees and the Saugus Conservation Commission.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Debra Panetta has been rumored to be a possible Democratic challenger. But she has not expressed an interest in the seat, at least not publicly. Panetta hadn’t signed any nomination papers at the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office when The Saugus Advocate checked the office log this week.
However, a spokesperson at the Elections Division said “it’s not mandatory” for candidates to sign the log. “But most candidates do sign the log when they pull out papers because they don’t want to keep their candidacies secret,” she said.
State Rep. RoseLee Vincent, D-Revere, who represents Saugus registered voters in Saugus precincts 3 and 10, pulled out her nomination papers on Jan. 29. She has been a member of the Legislature since being sworn into office in April 2014. She won the March primary and the April 1 special election that year, which was called after state Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein resigned. She was elected in 2016.