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Four candidates offer stark choice for Easthampton mayor

  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/>David Ewing campaigning at the rotary in Easthampton Saturday morning. <br/><br/><br/>

    CAROL LOLLIS
    David Ewing campaigning at the rotary in Easthampton Saturday morning.


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  • Easthampton mayoral candidate Karen Cadieux (pronounced KADjuh) spends her lunch break on Tuesday, October 15, canvassing a Northampton Street neighborhood.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Easthampton mayoral candidate Karen Cadieux (pronounced KADjuh) spends her lunch break on Tuesday, October 15, canvassing a Northampton Street neighborhood.
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  • Easthampton mayoral candidate Nancy Sykes speaks to members of the teacher's union Monday at White Brook Middle School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Easthampton mayoral candidate Nancy Sykes speaks to members of the teacher's union Monday at White Brook Middle School.
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  • Easthampton mayoral candidate Herbert Glazier campaigned outside the Easthampton Enrichment Center on Friday near his campaign vehicle, a 1993 Dodge Ram 250 conversion van.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Easthampton mayoral candidate Herbert Glazier campaigned outside the Easthampton Enrichment Center on Friday near his campaign vehicle, a 1993 Dodge Ram 250 conversion van.
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  • Easthampton mayoral candidates Karen Cadieux, David Ewing, Herbert Glazier and Nancy Sykes.

    Easthampton mayoral candidates Karen Cadieux, David Ewing, Herbert Glazier and Nancy Sykes. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Easthampton mayoral candidate Karen Cadieux (pronounced KADjuh) spends her lunch break on Tuesday, October 15, canvassing a Northampton Street neighborhood. Cadieux only found one resident at home during the break, a woman who was happy to chat with her but did not want to have her picture taken.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Easthampton mayoral candidate Karen Cadieux (pronounced KADjuh) spends her lunch break on Tuesday, October 15, canvassing a Northampton Street neighborhood. Cadieux only found one resident at home during the break, a woman who was happy to chat with her but did not want to have her picture taken.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Easthampton mayoral candidate Herbert Glazier had a small campaign table set up outside the Easthampton Enrichment Center on Union Street on Friday.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Easthampton mayoral candidate Herbert Glazier had a small campaign table set up outside the Easthampton Enrichment Center on Union Street on Friday.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/>David Ewing campaigning at the rotary in Easthampton Saturday morning. <br/><br/><br/>

    CAROL LOLLIS
    David Ewing campaigning at the rotary in Easthampton Saturday morning.


    Purchase photo reprints »

  • 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.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    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.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/>David Ewing campaigning at the rotary in Easthampton Saturday morning. <br/><br/><br/>
  • Easthampton mayoral candidate Karen Cadieux (pronounced KADjuh) spends her lunch break on Tuesday, October 15, canvassing a Northampton Street neighborhood.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Easthampton mayoral candidate Nancy Sykes speaks to members of the teacher's union Monday at White Brook Middle School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Easthampton mayoral candidate Herbert Glazier campaigned outside the Easthampton Enrichment Center on Friday near his campaign vehicle, a 1993 Dodge Ram 250 conversion van.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Easthampton mayoral candidates Karen Cadieux, David Ewing, Herbert Glazier and Nancy Sykes.
  • Easthampton mayoral candidate Karen Cadieux (pronounced KADjuh) spends her lunch break on Tuesday, October 15, canvassing a Northampton Street neighborhood. Cadieux only found one resident at home during the break, a woman who was happy to chat with her but did not want to have her picture taken.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Easthampton mayoral candidate Herbert Glazier had a small campaign table set up outside the Easthampton Enrichment Center on Union Street on Friday.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/>David Ewing campaigning at the rotary in Easthampton Saturday morning. <br/><br/><br/>
  • 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.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

Four names will be on Tuesday’s ballot, candidates who include an elected official, a town employee, a private sector worker and a retiree. They are Nancy L. Sykes, 72, School Committee chairwoman; Karen L. Cadieux, 59, Tautznik’s assistant; David G. Ewing, 64, a Yankee Candle employee; and Herbert M. Glazier, 85, a retired home builder.

Cadieux and Sykes have raised $7,490 and $8,684 respectively for their campaigns. They have wooed voters by knocking on doors, making calls, sending mailings and touting their experience, intelligence, and readiness to be the head of the city.

Ewing has also gone door to door and stationed himself downtown with campaign signs, but his platform, his $203 campaign, and his message that he is a leader has not caught the attention of many residents. Glazier has not waged a campaign other than to show up at some debates and put “Glazier for Mayor” signs in his van.

At debates, Glazier has talked about the need to bring manufacturing jobs to Easthampton but doesn’t say how he would do that. He says he would try to make residents smile and move utility poles located on busy corners so people don’t “scrape” them.

Ewing calls himself a fiscal conservative, but when asked about his readiness for the job in interviews he makes statements like “leadership is leadership,” and “budgeting is budgeting.”

For the most part, the fight to be Easthampton’s second mayor is being waged largely between Cadieux and Sykes — and in interviews with them it’s clear each sees the other as her sole opponent.

At debates, other candidates implied that Cadieux’s administration would be “more of the same” — referring to Tautznik’s administration. Cadieux disagrees with this analysis, but her talking points are pretty close to the mayor’s over the years. When asked how she differs from Tautznik, Cadieux says they are different people. “Everybody has a different style,” said Cadieux. “I’ll throw open the doors of communication and welcome everyone in.”

Sykes maintains the breadth and depth of her careers is what makes her the best qualified candidate in the race.

“My message is I’m the best choice because I’m the only candidate with real-life leadership experience and I’m the only candidate who has already been elected by the people of Easthampton,” she said in an interview at her home. “I have had to make difficult decisions and handle budgets and personnel issues.”

Sykes said that as mayor, she would be accessible and residents and business owners will be welcome to offer input about how the government is run. She wants to explore the feasibility of reopening the municipal building on Fridays and getting a mobile “app” for citizens to report problems.

City hall veteran

Cadieux grew up in Holyoke and moved to Easthampton in 1979 with her husband, Robert, and children Matthew and Katie.

After graduating from an administrative assistant training program at Holyoke Community College in 1974, she worked as a legal secretary at the Holyoke law firm Moriarty & Wilson for seven years. While raising a family starting in 1981, she worked part time as an administrative assistant at the Holyoke Hospital radiology department.

She became Easthampton’s Select Board clerk and assistant to the town administrator in 1994. She said being part of Easthampton’s transition from town to city government in 1996 prepared her for what she predicts will be a “smooth transition” to a new mayor.

“There isn’t anything that goes on in the office now that I don’t know about,” she said. “I already have a great working relationship with every department head and all of our state legislators and I know the ins and outs of the city.”

One of her goals is to build a boardwalk around Nashawannuck Pond. It’s a project that Tautznik’s administration has unsuccessfully sought grants for twice before. She said the boardwalk is the best way to make the downtown a destination that will draw visitors. “My main goal has been to keep downtown businesses thriving,” she said.

If the $400,000 grant the city is currently pursuing does not come through, Cadieux thinks it is still worth seeking grant funding in the future. “But I don’t want to go to taxpayers for money for it. They’ve been hit up enough,” she said.

Other priorities cited by Cadieux are supporting strong schools and public safety departments, working to get the most possible funding to maintain roads, and working for economic and cultural development, including streamlining the permitting process for businesses.

She has the financial experience to create a solid city budget as mayor, she said, because for the last 17 years, she has been with Tautznik in discussions with department heads about budget proposals.

As his assistant, she tracks the budgets that fall under the mayor’s office purview such as municipal building operations, street lights, the city attorney, submitting annual budget requests to the mayor for each.

She believes that upgrading school buildings, starting with White Brook Middle School, will go a long way toward keeping city children from going to other schools, which costs Easthampton millions. “We need to be the school of choice,” she said.

While Cadieux’s opponents say she lacks leadership credentials, she said she has had the most important leadership experience of all. “I have been the acting mayor. I’m the only one who can say that,” she said.

Cadieux also said she has “been a vital part of all the decisions” from the mayor’s office, but Sykes challenged her, saying that the mayor does not consult her on every decision.

From school board

Sykes, originally from Portsmouth, Va. got a bachelor’s degree in 1963 and taught high school history and government for 25 years. She was married from 1967 to 1974 and has a son, Christopher, and a granddaughter, Evan.

She moved to Southampton with her partner, the Rev. Ann Hallstein, in 1989 and earned a law degree from Western New England School of Law. Her professions since then have included being a criminal defense attorney in New York City from 1989 to 1994, assistant dean at her alma mater from 1999 to 2008, as minister of the Plainfield Congregational Church from 2000 to 2007, and as a teacher at King’s Academy, a boarding school in Jordan, from 2008 to 2011. For most of the last 20 years, she has taught law and other courses at several colleges and universities. She and Hallstein moved to their home at 32 Mutter St. in 2006.

Those careers, and her two terms on the School Committee, she said, prepared her to be mayor.

On the school board, she said, she worked on budgeting and had to make necessary but unpopular decisions. “I’ve had to make some tough votes, and sometimes they were not what people at the meeting wanted, but I always gave my reasons,” she said.

Sykes says local leaders need to pressure state legislators to change the way cities pay for students who leave the district, but she also believes the city can’t sit and wait for that to happen.

“We need to have more outreach to families here, so that they know what we offer,” she said. “We also need to find ways to start putting back the offerings we’ve taken out of the schools.” These include, she said, foreign language classes.

Her critics have said that while she has a wealth of previous jobs, she lacks knowledge about the daily workings of municipal government. She says as mayor, she will collaborate with her colleagues in various departments to find the best path forward on issues.

“I couldn’t be a police or fire chief or the head of public works, but I can work well with the people who can,” she said. “I will have to make the decisions in the end, but I will accept and rely on the expertise of those people.”

While she said she doesn’t have a “magical formula” to craft the city’s budget better, she is confident she can learn how, and vows to take “a fresh, new look at the budget.”

She has promised to work with the Chamber of Commerce and arts community to keep the city vibrant, to seek funds to support local farmers, and to develop a “senior advisory council to the mayor.”

Recent transplant

Ewing moved to Easthampton three years ago. He was born and graduated from high school in Chicopee after which he lived in cities and towns in western Massachusetts, including South Hadley from 2000 to 2010, where he was an elected Town Meeting representative. Until now, he has not run for elected office or served on appointed boards in Easthampton.

In an interview, he described his career path, which began at Curry Copy Center in Westfield and said he later managed convenience stores in Chicopee. From 1983 to 1998 he managed Brooks drug stores, Walgreens pharmacies, and Ace hardware stores in western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut.

Since 1999, he has worked various jobs at Yankee Candle. He said that nine years ago, he helped create the job he holds now, which involves collecting excess wax after candle making and storing it for use in future batches. He claims it has saved the company $1 million over the years, though a Yankee Candle spokeswoman said the company could not comment on Ewing’s job, the company’s candle-making techniques, or his statement about savings.

He and his wife, Francine, moved three years ago to the Treehouse Community, a community of seniors and foster and adoptive families. At his apartment at 5 Treehouse Circle, Ewing said he has five children, two stepchildren, three grandchildren and “many, many honorary grandkids,” referring to the foster and adoptive children there.

He was a continuing education student at Holyoke Community College from 1972 to 2008. He doesn’t have a degree, but loves to study business and finance. “I don’t have a piece of paper, but it’s not about that for me,” he said.

Despite the disparity between his small-scale campaign and Sykes’ and Cadieux’s well-funded campaigns, Ewing said he is a viable candidate due to his management experience.

“I see the role of the mayor as a leader. The mayor has to be comfortable making hard decisions,” he said. “And I’m the only candidate with a real platform.”

That platform is this: He promises to improve Union Street and make it a state-designated cultural district, to use Community Development Block Grants to support the arts community, and offer incentives for developers to transform mill buildings into affordable housing.

He describes himself as fiscally conservative but progressive in other ways. As mayor, he said he would support education, “lean on” legislators to get the state to fund more road repairs, and be more accessible. “The mayor is the face of the city and he needs to get out in the community,” he said.

He said he would make the government work more efficiently. “I expect city employees to follow my example and work really hard,” he said. “I’m a great facilitator of people.”

Not a politician

In an interview in the common room of the John F. Sullivan Housing for the Elderly at 108 Everett St., Glazier said he doesn’t have a lot of big plans for the city, he just knows he could do a better job running it.

“I’m not a politician, I’m a regular person and I’ve dealt with the public all my life — selling them home improvement products,” he said.

Born in Boston, he grew up in Chelsea during the Great Depression. After graduating from Chelsea High School in 1946 he started working on building jobs. He operated a business cutting and selling his own storm windows for 25 years while still working on houses and moving around to different cities including Savannah, Ga., Tampa, Oklahoma City, and Los Angeles.

He and his second wife, Ruth*, lived together in Florida from 1989 until she died four years ago. He moved to Easthampton to be close to his daughter, Sheri Wall of Southampton, and his son, Kenneth Glazier who lives in Fairhaven. He had two daughters who died.

He said he would be a frugal leader and would like to see the city be a safer place with more manufacturers. “I’d like to see Easthampton use more empty mill buildings for small industry,” he said.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

* CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect name for Glazier's late wife.

Related

Editorial: Easthampton’s best choice for mayor is Karen Cadieux

Friday, November 1, 2013

Easthampton voters face a tough choice Nov. 5. Four people seek to become Easthampton’s second mayor. Of those, two are serious contenders: Karen L. Cadieux, assistant to Mayor Michael Tautznik for 17 years, and Nancy L. Sykes, chairwoman of the School Committee and a former college administrator, criminal lawyer and minister. Candidates David Ewing and Herbert Glazier have run low-key … 0

As an artist, I think it's great that Mr. Ewing wants to support the arts community here if he's elected. However, he needs to read the Community Preservation Act more carefully, before proposing to use funds from there for that purpose. CPA money can only be used for historic preservation, open space and affordable housing.

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