Four of Six School Committee Seats Go Empty on September Primary Ballot, Few Run for City Council


School Committeeman Myra Ortiz is running unopposed for city council but leaves a vacancy on the school committee with no candidates coming forward to replace her.
School Committeeman Myra Ortiz is running unopposed for city council but leaves a vacancy on the school committee with no candidates coming forward to replace her.

Candidates wishing to have their names appear on the September ballot for municipal elections had until close of business on Tuesday to turn in the required number of signatures. The Lawrence City Council is made up of nine members. Six members of the council are elected by neighborhood district and three members are elected at-large, or city-wide. The mayor is not up for reelection as he was elected to a four-year term in 2013.


The only district city council seat not contested on the September ballot is the Prospect Hill, District “A” seat currently held by Sandy Almonte. Almonte did not return her nomination papers, nor did former District “A” Councilor Patrick Blanchette. The only candidate certified to have their name appear on the September ballot was Lawrence School Committeeman Myra Ortiz.

roger twomey
At-Large City Councilor Roger Twomey is not running for reelection.

In District “B”, incumbent Estella Reyes will be challenged by Ruth Rojas formerly of Lawrence Community works. Rojas mounted previous campaigns for the seat.

In District “C”, incumbent Kendrys Vasquez will be challenged by newcomer Arlene Garcia of Canterbury St.

In District “D” (Tower Hill) incumbent Onaida Aquino is not seeking reelection. Running to fill his seat are School Committeeman Jeavanny Rodriguez and newcomer Linette Perez.

In the Mount Vernon District “E” neighborhood, incumbent Eileen Bernal has chosen not to seek reelection. Former District “E” Councilor Dave Abdoo (who also challenged Willie Lantigua for mayor in 2009) will be challenged by Frederick Diaz.


In the at-large (city-wide) council race there are eight candidates running to fill three seats on the council. Incumbents Nilka Alvarez Rodriguez and Modesto Maldonado turned in their nomination papers. Incumbent Roger Twomey did not. Challengers in the at-large race are: School Committeeman Jim Blatchford, activist and Vietnam Veteran Rich Russell, former City Councilor Jorge Gonzalez, Latino activist and Lawrence business owner Brian DePena former City Councilor Marie Gosselin and Lawrence Police Officer William Green.


Running unopposed on the Greater Lawrence Technical School Board are incumbents Gary Mannion Jr., Leo Lamontagne, and newcomer Angel Garcia.

The Lawrence School Committee is elected by the same district boundaries as the city council. There are six district school committee seats, but no at-large (city-wide) seats. The mayor sits as chairman of the school committee.


School Committeeman Pavel Payano on 980WCAP during his 2014 Senate run.

With District “A” School Committeeman Myra Ortiz vacating her seat to run for city council, no other residents have turned in nomination papers to replace her. The District “B School Committee seat being vacated by Milquicided Santos (who is also running for city council) is also going to be blank on the September ballot,, as is Jeovanny Rodriguez’s seat on Tower Hill . District “E” School Committeeman Jim Blatchford is vacating his seat to run for city council with no candidates running to replace him.

Citizens in these districts wishing to run for the school committee need to get 50 write in votes in the September primary to have their names appear on the November final ballot.

In District “C”, incumbent Pavel Payano is being challenged by newcomer Amy Berard. In District “E” incumbent Patricia Mariano is being challenged by Maali Homayoun Maali.