5 candidates compete in preliminary election for Lawrence mayor

·3 min read

Sep. 19—LAWRENCE — City voters on Tuesday will trim the mayor's race down from five to two final candidates for the November election.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for Lawrence's roughly 40,000 registered voters. Turnout is expected to be between 20 and 25%, according to election officials.

Mayoral candidates planned to spend their final weekend before the preliminary election making appearances and knocking on doors.

Incumbent Mayor Kendrys Vasquez, along with hopefuls Brian DePena, William Lantigua, Vilma Martinez-Dominguez and Doris Rodriguez are all vying for a four-year term in the corner office at 200 Common St.

The final election is set for Nov. 2.

Vasquez is a former city councilor who was City Council president when former Mayor Daniel Rivera left the office in December 2020 for a job with the state. Vasquez said he helped create a foreclosure ordinance to help the city's most vulnerable residents and worked diligently to get the majority of residents over age 50 their COVID-19 vaccines.

DePena is the owner of two city businesses, Tenares Tire Services and DePena Auto Services. He has also served on the City Council and been a member and president of many Latino organizations in the city.

A former state representative, Lantigua was mayor of Lawrence in January 2010 following his November 2009 defeat of City Councilor David Abdoo. According to his campaign website, Lantigua most recently worked as a recruiting manager with the United States Department of the Census. Lantigua said he wanted to make sure residents filled out the census to ensure future funds for the local economy.

Martinez-Dominguez said she has worked in both the nonprofit and government sectors to improve the quality of life for Lawrence residents.

She co-founded the Mayor's Health Task Force, has overseen the allocation of millions of dollars in federal funds, and promoted events such as SALSA, the Supporting Active Lifestyles For All campaign

A graduate of Merrimack College and Suffolk Law School, Rodriguez has worked in the private and public sectors. As Lawrence's previous compliance officer, she said she brought in $3 million from the lead abatement program. She is the only mayoral candidate born and raised in the Merrimack Valley, she said.

Other races on Tuesday's ballot include:

* City Councilor at Large: Incumbents Any Levy, Pavel Payano and Celina Reyes, Frederick Diaz, Richard Russell, Kelvin Moreno-Garcia and Frank Bonet Rosado. Voters pick 6.

* District A city councilor: Incumbent Maria De La Cruz, and Richard Rodriguez. Both go to final ballot.

* District B city councilor: Incumbent Estela Reyes.

* District C city councilor: Incumbent Jorge Gonzalez, and Gregory De Rosario. Both go to final ballot.

* District D city councilor: Incumbent Jeovanny Rodriguez.

* District E city councilor: Guillermina Martines, Jose Madera Jr., Stephany Infante, and Jhovanny Martes Rosario. (Voters pick top 2 for final ballot.)

* District F city councilor: Incumbent Marc Laplante.

* District A School Committee: No candidates.

* District B School Committee: No candidates.

* District C School Committee: Lenin Roa.

* District D School Committee: No candidates.

* District E School Committee: Incumbent Patricia Mariano.

* District F School Committee: Incumbent Jonathan Guzman.

* Greater Lawrence Technical School Committee: Incumbents Leo Lamontagne and Zoila Disla, and Vivian Marmol and Olga Christine Tejada. Top 6 so all four make the final ballot.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

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