Two Candidates Look to Replace Barry Finegold for State Senate


By: Tom Duggan – December, 2013

Republican Alex Vispoli is a member of the Andover Board of Selectmen. Pavel Payano sits on the Lawrence School Committee. The contrast between the two could not be more stark or obvious. Vispoli is a seasoned veteran of Andover Politics, while Payano is still serving his first term on the Lawrence School Committee; Payano is Latino, Vispoli is Italian; Vispoli is in his 40’s, married with children and mortgage, Payano is in his 20’s, single and just starting out; Vispoli is a conservative Republican while Payano is a liberal Democrat.

The one thing they both have in common, however, is that they are both seeking the State Senate seat being vacated by Barry Finegold. Finegold is running for State Treasurer and not seeking re-election.

Both candidates say they believe they have what it takes to represent the district in the Massachusetts Senate. The 2nd Essex and Middlesex District encompasses Andover, Dracut, Lawrence and Tewksbury.

“The opportunity to serve in the legislature has been a goal of mine ever since I was a student at UMass Amherst,” Pavel Payano says. Payano says he has his sights set on becoming the first elected Latino Senator for the District.

“I would consider it a great honor to continue the legacy of service to the Merrimack Valley that Senator Finegold and Senator Tucker before him have achieved. I am prepared to serve and I know I can be an effective advocate for the needs of our Senate District. Our district encompasses one of the most diverse constituencies in the state and has a wide range of different needs. I look forward to speaking with as many residents of the district as possible in the months ahead to help me to confirm my decision sometime in January. “

“I am running for the State Senate because it’s time to give the people of our district a break from compulsive tax increases and unresponsive government, these decisions have impacts that hurt our district” Alex Vispoli said in his announcement.

“It’s time to look to savings and reforms first instead of automatically voting to tax our already overburdened taxpayer.”

While Payano did not outline his campaign issues, Vispoli says his top issues “are going to be providing more job opportunities for the people in our district, fiscal accountability, local aid fairness, improving education, and restoring integrity to the State House. It’s time to hold our legislators accountable for their actions.

Vispoli took the legislature to task for passing a gas tax increase and adding a provision to “make future tax increases automatic. They didn’t even have the courage to be recorded on any future tax increase,” said Vispoli.

“We have a crime lab scandal costing us all $332 million, and $200 million in welfare fraud,” he continued.

“Instead of the proper oversight, Beacon Hill reaches into our wallets for more tax dollars. That’s wrong. I am not going to sit on the sidelines when I know that I can provide leadership to help turnaround our state.” said Vispoli.

Who Is Alex Vispoli?

A father of four, Vispoli was first elected to the Andover Board of Selectmen in 2004. On the board, he has led initiatives including: consolidation of Andover’s IT organization and infrastructure, creation of the Andover Economic Development Council; I93 proposed interchange project; reduction in town owned vehicles; annual citizens mid-year review for major project updates; and regionalization opportunities with surrounding towns. Andover is an AAA bond rated town.

Vispoli was also elected to the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) Board of Directors and the Massachusetts Selectmen’s Association (MSA) board in 2011. He is currently the District 2 Representative (Essex and Middlesex Counties) for the MSA.

In addition, he is a member of the Local Government Advisory Commission.

Professionally, Vispoli has been in the information technology business for 25 years. He currently holds the position of Director of Business Development for an Andover-based technology company.

Alex and his wife Ann have been residents of Andover since 1996.

Who Is Pavel Payano?

Pavel is Vice Chair of the Lawrence School Committee; he was recently elected for his second term on the Lawrence School Committee. Payano has been an active member of the community, by advocating for initiatives that reduce the achievement gap and increase the number of students that plan to attend college.

He is also the co-founder of the Greater Lawrence Young Professionals Network, an organization that seeks to increase and strengthen young professionals in the area and improve the community. Payano is a dedicated Democratic activist, serving on local and national campaigns and initiatives for Governor Deval Patrick, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, as well as serving as Co-Director of President Barack Obama’s Nashua office for Latinos in New Hampshire during the 2008 race for the U.S. Presidency and as Outreach Director for the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

Payano served as Special Assistant to Congresswoman Tsongas, where he worked on economic development and helped advocate for constituents with issues like immigration and social security. While he worked at the Department of Transitional Assistance, he accepted a position as a Program Director at the Merrimack Valley Sandbox, a joint initiative between the Deshpande Foundation and UMass Lowell, which seeks to boost the economic and social well-being of greater Lawrence and Lowell by advancing entrepreneurship and innovation.

While Attending the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, he served as President of the Student Government Association and oversaw its $1.8 million budget. Payano has a Master of Science in Public Affairs from the University of Massachusetts-Boston and he is currently finishing his second year at Suffolk University School of Law.