Stein, Rothenberg win City Council, School Committee seats in Northampton

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By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Staff Writer

Published: 11-10-2023 10:41 AM

NORTHAMPTON — In addition to at-large positions on the City Council and School Committee, voters in Tuesday’s election also decided races for the council’s Ward 3 seat and School Committee’s Ward 4 seat.

Michael Stein, the incumbent Ward 4 committee member, faced a challenge from Endamian Stewart for the position but managed to prevail, getting 356 votes vs. Stewart’s 264.

Elected to the School Committee in 2021, Stein has served while it’s grappled with numerous challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. He also had drawn some controversy during his term over statements made regarding the school’s embedded honors program, saying it created an atmosphere of “second-class learners alongside first-class learners.” Stein defended his comments, saying they were taken out of context.

In a statement to the Gazette, Stein said the campaign against him had been publicly supported by “prominent members of the political establishment” and expressed gratitude to voters for selecting him.

“Ultimately, I believe Ward 4 voters reelected me because they support the issues I champion, value my communication and transparency and appreciate that I ask the questions necessary to move our district forward,” he said.

City Council

For City Council, Ward 3 candidate Quaverly Rothenberg had officially run unopposed for the position but did face a write-in campaign from Claudia Lefko, a former School Committee member who remains active in civic life in Northampton.

Rothenberg, a newcomer to the position to replace Jim Nash, who did not seek re-election, managed to stave off the write-in campaign, obtaining 505 votes to Lefko’s 169.

Originally from Berkeley, Calif., and trained as a classical cellist for most of her youth and young adulthood, Rothenberg moved to Northampton 10 years ago and now works as a court stenographer.

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“It’s exciting to know that we are going to achieve great things together as a community,” Rothenberg said in a statement to the Gazette.

Rothenberg is one of three newcomers to the council. The others are Deborah Pastrich-Klemer and Jeremy Dubs, who will join incumbents Marissa Elkins, Alex Jarrett, Marianne LaBarge, Stan Moulton and Rachel Maiore. Garrick Perry, the current Ward 3 councilor, also will return as a councilor at-large.

Stein returns to the School Committee along with incumbents Gwen Agna, Aline Davis, Emily Serafy-Cox and Margaret Miller, joined by newcomers Ann Hennessey, Kerry LaBounty, and former Ward 2 city councilor Karen Foster.

Alexander MacDougall can be reached at amacdougall@gazettenet.com.