2 more Northampton councilors announce intentions



  • Northampton City Hall, 2019.

Staff Writer
Published: 3/8/2021 7:51:44 PM

NORTHAMPTON — One current city councilor, Ward 2’s Karen Foster, announced over the weekend that she intends to run for reelection this fall, while another councilor, Ward 4’s John Thorpe, said he’s calling it quits.

Both councilors are in the middle of their first terms.

In a message to supporters, Thorpe said, “I am writing with a bit of a heavy heart to let you know that I have decided not to seek re-election as City Councilor for Ward 4.”

Thorpe is a probation officer in Northampton District Court. He was elected to the council in 2019, and he may have been the first African American person elected to the council for decades, if not the first.

The job is fulfilling, he said. “I enjoy hard work and long hours as much as the next City Councilor,” his announcement reads. “But, as circumstances have it, I have come to appreciate that my personal commitment to my work and family requires more of my time and energies than this job allows, which is why I have decided not to seek re-election.”

Thorpe said he did not want to comment beyond his announcement.

At the same time, Foster announced she will be run again for the council.

“In this season of announcements regarding plans for the next municipal election cycle, I wanted to take a moment to let you know that I do intend to run again to represent Ward 2 on City Council,” she wrote in her newsletter last week. “I am proud of the relationships I’ve built with Ward 2 residents and the assistance I’ve been able to provide to many in answering questions and navigating our myriad municipal systems.”

“It’s quite a learning process as a new councilor,” Foster said in an interview. “I’m ready to keep going.”

One of the major issues she sees: “I think the biggest is we’re coming up on a new budget … the discussions around how we approach community safety and policing have been really important community conversations.”

The Policing Review Commission is set to release its report soon.

“I think it’s really important that we as a city take the recommendations that they have and are able to integrate them,” she said, adding she doesn’t expect an instant shift but hopes for steps to be taken over time.

Foster is the executive director of All Out Adventures, an outdoor recreation nonprofit.

Thorpe is on the council’s Committee on Community Resources and the Committee on Legislative Matters, while Foster is on the Committee on City Services and Committee on Community Resources. In one of the most contentious votes of the last year — whether or not to cut the Police Department’s budget by 10% — Thorpe was one of three councilors who voted no, while Foster was one of the six councilors who voted yes.

The council is set to have a new look next year. In addition to Thorpe, at-large city councilor William Dwight announced last week he won’t seek reelection, while at-large city councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra, who is also the council’s president, is running for mayor. Meanwhile, Ward 1 City Councilor Michael Quinlan will vacate his seat to run for one of the two at-large seats.

Municipal elections are scheduled for Nov. 2.

Sign up for our free email updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Headlines
Daily Hampshire Gazette Contests & Promotions
Daily Hampshire Gazette Evening Top Reads
Daily Hampshire Gazette Breaking News
Daily Hampshire Gazette Obits
Daily Hampshire Gazette Sports
Daily Hampshire Gazette PM Updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Weekly Top Stories
Valley Advocate Newsletter
Daily Hampshire Gazette Dining & Entertainment


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

23 Service Center Road
Northampton, MA 01060


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy