Candidates for Easthampton mayor campaign for every vote in four-way race
Easthampton mayoral candidates Nancy Sykes, David Ewing, Karen Cadieux and Herbert Glazier
Easthampton mayoral candidates Karen Cadieux, David Ewing, Herbert Glazier and Nancy Sykes.
Easthampton mayoral candidates Nancy Sykes, from left, David Ewing, Karen Cadieux and Herbert Glazier listen to a question during their debate Thursday at Easthampton High School.
Easthampton mayoral candidate David Ewing, second from left, speaks beside other canidates Nancy Sykes, left, Karen Cadieux and Herbert Glazier during a debate Thursday at Easthampton High School.
GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
Easthampton Mayor Karen L. Cadieux has announced that she will seek a second term.
Easthampton mayoral candidate David Ewing answers a question during a candidates debate Thursday at Easthampton High School.
Easthampton mayoral candidate Hebert Glazier listens to a question during a debate Thursday at Easthampton High School.
Easthampton mayoral candidate Nancy Sykes answers a question during a debate Thursday at Easthampton High School.
EASTHAMPTON — In 1996, the last time there was no incumbent in a mayoral election here, Mayor Michael A. Tautznik won a seven-way race with 33 percent of the vote.
Four candidates are running to replace Tautznik when he steps down at the end of the year. In theory, if the vote is divided fairly evenly on Nov. 5, the winner could be elected with as little as 26 percent of the vote.
“The chance anyone is going to have a majority of the votes is very slim — that’s why most places have some kind of runoff,” said Martha Ackelsberg, a professor of government at Smith College. “If the vote splits relatively evenly, it’s much harder to claim any kind of mandate.”
But with Election Day two weeks away, it seems unlikely that the election results would be evenly split. Two of the candidates, Nancy L. Sykes, 72, and Karen L. Cadieux, 59, are knocking on doors all over the city. Their campaign committees are busy maintaining websites, raising money, developing advertising campaigns and managing phone-bank sessions. They come to debates with notes, offer specific plans, outline their vision for the city, and challenge other candidates’ statements.
Candidate David G. Ewing, 64, said he, too, campaigns by talking to people at their homes, on the streets, and standing out by the roadside with campaign signs. But he acknowledges that he is campaigning “on a shoestring,” has held no fundraisers, and as no website. At debates, he, too, has notes, but he offers brief answers to questions, suggests few specific plans for the city, and rarely responds to comments by other candidates.
Meanwhile, Herbert M. Glazier, 85, has no campaign budget other than what he pays for, nor does he have a website. His campaign is largely attending debates and displaying three campaign signs on his van and a few on lawns around the city. He’s not going door to door, he said, though he occasionally talks to voters at the grocery store. At debates, he repeats that he will bring factories to the city, but does not say how.
Since Easthampton doesn’t have a primary election, all four names will be on the ballot Nov. 5. Voters that day will have four very different candidates from which to choose.
Sykes, the School Committee chairwoman, has had careers as an educator, attorney and minister. Now in her second term on the board, she is the only candidate who has been elected to public office in Easthampton.
Cadieux has municipal experience having worked as the mayor’s assistant for 17 years.
Ewing served as Town Meeting member in South Hadley for 10 years. He cites private sector leadership experience managing retail stores including ACE Hardware store and Walgreens and Brooks pharmacies. He now works at Yankee Candle in a job collecting excess wax to be reused.
Glazier says he has owned home improvement businesses for most of his life. He maintains that his lack of political experience is what makes him an appealing candidate. At debates, he has promised among other things to make residents smile and prevent foreclosures, at times drawing laughter from the audience.
The effectiveness of the four diverse campaigns remains to be seen. Without pollsters or a preliminary election, there is no reliable way to gauge candidates’ popularity until election night.
Sykes on the campaign trail
Sykes said that in the weeks leading up to Election Day, she is focusing on continuing her “long listening tour.” That means talking with voters while going door-to-door, at events and house parties, and by calling them on the phone. She has also met with department heads, and firefighter, police and teacher unions.
“It’s been a wonderful experience and we’re on track,” said Sykes, of 32 Mutter St. “This month has been busy. We’re on a roll.”
She tells voters she will be a collaborative, effective leader who fosters the growth of business, arts and agriculture in the city and responds to constituents’ concerns. She also plans to create a road paving plan for the city and improve schools, including the aging elementary schools.
She said the campaign has been raising funds at events over the past few months and is beginning to advertise in a newspaper and through mailings. Her eight-member campaign committee includes fellow School Committee member Lori Ingraham serving as campaign treasurer and her partner, the Rev. Anne Halstein, serving as campaign manager. Easthampton High School senior Zachary Lewis, whom she coached on the school’s “We the People” civics team, is the campaign’s enthusiastic intern, she said. Her website is www.sykes4mayor.com.
Cadieux knocks on doors
During a telephone interview last week, Cadieux, of 11 Deerfield Drive, said she was in the middle of knocking on doors to talk to voters.
“I go door-to-door after work, I go door-to-door on the weekends, and I go door-to-door on my lunch breaks,” she said. “I would love it if I could meet every single voter, but that’s a little impractical.”
Like Sykes, she also has attended house parties and met with city employee unions. She and her 10-person campaign committee meet once a week to organize fundraising events, mailings and advertising in newspapers, she said.
“Fundraising is very much on track,” she said. Mary Jane Mathers is her campaign manager and Al Morissette is her treasurer. Her website is www.karencadieuxformayor.org.
Cadieux touts her experience as the mayor’s assistant and pledges to support city schools and public safety departments, smart economic and cultural development and to work to build a boardwalk around Nashawannuck Pond to make the city more of a destination.
“The message I’m trying to get out is who I am,” Cadieux said. “I want people to know I work hard and I’m going to keep working hard as mayor.”
Ewing gets the message out
Ewing, of 5 Treehouse Circle, Apt. 3, said he is also trying to connect with voters by going door-to-door and talking to people he meets on the streets.
“I’ve been meeting a lot of people,” he said in an interview at his home. “It’s an intense 17 weeks and we’re getting down to the wire now.”
When he first decided to run for mayor, he said he planned to quit his job to campaign full-time, but he has since decided it’s not a good option because he doesn’t qualify for Medicare until he turns 65 in May.
Next week, he and his supporters will be handing out a letter he wrote to voters to people in the downtown area. They have also recently started doing stand-outs in Pulaski Park in the downtown rotary. “We’re holding signs and talking to people there. We’re getting beeps and thumbs up,” he said.
Ewing has told voters he will bring more affordable housing to the city, get more efficiency from the government and support creating tax work-off program for eligible seniors.
“The message is getting out to people: I’m new, I’m a breath of fresh air,” he said. His campaign slogan is “Know what you’re doing, vote for Ewing.”
On his four-person campaign committee, his wife, Francine, is his campaign manager and friend Leonie Kopacz is the treasurer. He said he hasn’t held any fundraisers or other campaign events, but people who support him have donated to the campaign. “We’re doing it on a shoestring,” he said.
Glazier goes after voters his own way
Glazier says he sometimes talks about his run for mayor to people at the Council on Aging Enrichment Center, where he spends a lot of time, and at Big Y Supermarket in Southampton, because a lot of Easthampton residents shop there.
But he thinks most voters know his name because his van has “Glazier for Mayor” signs in the back windows. “I think my van going through the streets is the best way to campaign,” he said in an interview in the common room of is building, the John F. Sullivan Housing for the Elderly at 108 Everett St.
He doesn’t have a campaign committee and he is not doing any fundraising. “I’ve gotten offers, but I haven’t accepted a penny,” he said. His only campaign expenses so far, he said, which he’s paid for out of his own pocket, have been purchasing 17 campaign signs, some dress clothes to wear to debates, and candy to give out to potential voters he meets.
“I want to know what they want in a mayor,” he said. “I want them to know I can do more with less money. I’m very frugal.”
He promises to fix any issues residents see. He acknowledges that he struggles to hear questions at debates because he has hearing loss, but he still thinks voters get his message.
Rebecca Everett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.