Lawrence Mayor Brian DePena has significantly increased his influence on Beacon Hill with three huge wins on Primary day.
DePena took office last November with an overwhelming victory at polls, promising to bring the different factions of the city together to move Lawrence forward.
That happened on Primary day.
DePena endorsed Lawrence City Councilor Pavel Payano for State Senate, Estela Reyes for State Representative, and in a bold move, recruited and endorsed local businessman Francisco Paulino to run for state rep. against a very popular incumbent Marcos Devers.
All three won decisive victories on Election Day, despite the fact that these races had more voters in Methuen and Haverhill than there are in Lawrence.
“This was about putting together a team at The State House to bring in more funding for the city,” the mayor told The Valley Patriot just minutes after learning that all his candidates had won.
“But also, I say, and I said it over and over, we have to build a partnership with Methuen and Haverhill because we are all in the same boat. We can’t be rowing in different directions. When Methuen improves, it helps us. When we improve it helps the rest of the Valley. Now we have Pavel, Estela, and Francisco, all members of my team at the state house with one message and none of the foolishness we see in the rest of the party. We are giving government back to the people.”
By contrast, all of the local candidates endorsed by Methuen Mayor Neil Perry lost on election day. This diminishes his influence, and thereby Methuen’s influence on Beacon Hill.
Perry put a lot of time and effort into campaigning for Jim McCarty for state representative after two years of McCarty personally attacking him and questioning his integrity. He also endorsed Methuen Councilor Eunice Zeigler for state senate.
Both McCarty and Zeigler lost to DePena’s candidates.
While Methuen has three state rep. districts within its city boundaries, plus the current state senator (Diana DiZoglio) being from Methuen, come January the city will only have one resident representing the city in the legislature with Ryan Hamilton who ran unopposed for the seat being vacated by Linda Dean Campbell.
That’s a significant loss from just five years ago when Methuen had a state senator, and three state reps. doing the city’s bidding in state government.
State Rep.- Elect Estela Reyes had a slightly different take after her win.
“I know a lot of people in Methuen are going to look at this election and think they have lost representation, but I can assure them I will be there for them as if I lived in Methuen.”
That takes a lot of class.
A lot more class than we have seen from most Methuen officials lately.
It is our view that this is why Methuen is losing political influence across the board and floundering as a community while Lawrence is on the upswing.◊