Sciarra running for Northampton at-large city councilor 

  • Northampton Ward 4 City Councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra speaks during a meeting of the city's Committee on Community Resources. STAFF FILE PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 2/14/2019 1:54:40 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Gina-Louise Sciarra, who represents Ward 4 on the Northampton City Council, announced Thursday that she will run for at-large city councilor this year.

“I’m excited for this opportunity,” Sciarra said.

One of the council’s two at-large members, Council President Ryan O’Donnell, is not running for re-election. No other candidate has announced yet, including William Dwight, the council’s other at-largemember.

Sciarra is in the middle of her third term and serves as the council’s vice president. She is also chairwoman of the Committee on Community Resources, and vice chairwoman of the Transportation and Parking Commission.

She said that her duties have caused her to take on a more citywide role already and that when it comes to electing her, “it seems only right that the city should get a voice.”

While her ward is focused on downtown and the center of the city, Sciarra said that a lot of the work she’s done on the council is in Florence, Leeds and the rest of Northampton.

“I would like to have a larger conversation with the entire city,” Sciarra said.

If elected to the position, her annual salary would increase from $9,000 to $9,500 a year.

A number of mayors have been at-large city councilors before assuming office, including current Mayor David Narkewicz.

Asked if she had mayoral ambitions, Sciarra said that she’s focused right now on running her first citywide race.

Sciarra also indicated that she had no ambition to run for the Legislature, saying she had that opportunity last election cycle and is happy with the city’s current representation.

“I’m really focused on Northampton,” Sciarra said.

On whether she’d like to be City Council president, Sciarra said, “If my colleagues see fit to choose me to do so.”

As for her campaign, Sciarra said that her top focus will be in increasing community engagement and demystifying the work of the council. She also said that she’ll be an advocate for the public schools and defend its budget.

Sciarra has two daughters at Bridge Street School, is married to Politico editor Bill Scher and is the communications manager for Pathlight, which serves the intellectually disabled and their families.

Sciarra noted that the last female at-large city councilor was Clare Higgins, who went on to serve as mayor for 12 years.

“I think that it’s time that we have a woman representing the entire city again,” said Sciarra.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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