Three of the four failed candidates for Lawrence mayor: James O’Donoghue, Juan Gonzalez and Marcos Devers stood with Lawrence City Councilor Dan Rivera Friday, at the end of the Casey Bridge to endorse Rivera’s candidacy against Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua.
Nestor DeJesus, who finished in last place in Tuesday’s preliminary, did not attend the endorsement rally.
Mayor Lantigua finished in first place with 5,725 votes. He will face Dan Rivera in the November final election.
LAWRENCE MAYORS RACE
“During the campaign you really get to know your opponent, especially during the debates,” said James O’Donoghue who placed fifth Tuesday night with 305 votes.
“When Dan Rivera was answering the questions he wasn’t only articulate he was very intelligence and easy to get along with and he’s someone you say, ‘gee, I like this guy.’ You almost wonder why you are running, because you want to vote for him,” he said laughing.
O’Donoghue said he believes Dan Rivera, not current Mayor Willie Lantigua will “turn the city of Lawrence around so it can be independent and have it’s own sources of revenue to pay for it’s schools, police and firefighters, etc., and I believe that and Rivera is the person who, as the mayor in charge, he will make Lawrence prosper.[SIC] And that is why I am supporting Dan Rivera.”
Lawrence Firefighter and former mayoral candidate Juan “Manny” Gonzalez said that he too is endorsing City Councilor Dan Rivera after placing fourth on Tuesday.
“Dan we are behind you 100%. I told you before that I am a man of my word, and you got it. I truly believe that Dan Rivera represents the young people of Lawrence, the up and coming, we all want change for Lawrence. And that’s what we stand for. I look around and I am humbled by how many people are here. And this is just the beginning,” Gonzalez said to a crowd of about 50 people.
Gonzalez vaguely addressed Mayor Lantigua’ dirty campaign tactics saying, “We know what is coming our way we know how dirty it can be but that’s not how we play.”
When State Representative Marcos Devers was introduced the crowd cheered loudly as he took the microphone. Devers paused fora few seconds and then he spoke loudly.
“We want a change!”
“I am immensely pleased and honored to see all of you the real melting pot,” Devers said. “I am Dominican, I am American, I am a Lawrencian, and I am a fraction Puerto Rican and I have a beautiful family that has it all.”
“What we see here is what we are really looking for. We need a city for all of us not just a little group, or an egotistical person. Not just for a little circle. This is our city. the City of Lawrence, and we need to find and look for; healing, love, and unity.
“Humbly I want to tell you that the only way forward is to find a candidate that satisfies our wishes and out objectives, our goals. And I see that in my dear friend Danny Rivera.
Rivera thanked each of the former candidates for mayor individually.
“We’re going to make this city better not just because we want to make it better for me, or for one of us, or two of us, but for all of us. You know, we want to make the streets safe for all of us. You know, when people break into somebody’s car or somebody’s house, they don’t care if their last name is Gonzalez, or Smith, or O’Brien. So, we have to make sure the streets are safe for all of us. You know, when I talk to ten people and seven of them are out of work, it doesn’t matter, that unemployment is not discriminating,” Rivera said.
“When kids are failing in school, it does not discriminate. We have to fix the schools for all of us.”
“We are going to take the fight to this mayor because he thinks he’s done a good job and it’s not true.”
Rivera did address the math from Tuesday’s preliminary election saying that if the election were held today Lantigua would lose.
“When someone talks to you about the number of votes this mayor got [in the primary], you just say to them, ‘don’t you talk to me about 5,700 [votes]. Talk to me about 52! Fifty-two percent of the people who went out to vote, voted against this mayor. If we had that election today he would have lost by 600 votes. Twenty-thousand people stayed home. We had four teams working in different directions,” he said referring to the other four campaign teams for mayor.
“Now we are going to have one team, working in one direction and we are going to get this done.”