Contests shaping up for Northampton City Council, School Committee this fall


Staff Writer

Published: 07-04-2023 2:52 PM

NORTHAMPTON — As the deadlien nears to turn in nomination papers for this fall’s biennial municipal election, several new candidates appear poised to throw their hat in the ring for various City Council and School Committee positions, along with the return of several members already serving.

A notable contest in this year’s election, scheduled for Nov. 7, could be a five-way race for the city’s two councilor-at-large positions currently held by Marissa Elkins and Jamila Gore. Elkins is seeking reelection this fall, while Gore has said she does not intend to run again.

Others who have taken out papers for at-large councilor include Garrick Perry, currently the city’s Ward 4 councilor, Henry Morgan, former mayoral candidate Roy Martin and former city councilor David Murphy.

To date, races appear to be shaping up in Ward 2 and Ward 6.

In Ward 2, Deborah Pastrich-Klemer and David Ames have taken out papers seeking to fill the position being vacated by Karen Foster, the council’s current vice president.

In Ward 6, longtime incumbent Marianne LaBarge could face a challenge from Matthew DeSouza.

In other council races, current council president Jim Nash will not seek reelection this year, meaning his Ward 3 seat is up for grabs. JoElla Tarbutton-Springfield, who serves on the boards of the Northampton Housing Authority and the Northampton Survival Center, has pulled papers for the position.

With Perry running for the councilor-at-large, his Ward 4 seat is also available for a new candidate. The seat currently has one candidate, Paul Waterman, who has submitted papers for the position.

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Ward 1 councilor Stanley Moulton, Ward 5 councilor Alex Jarrett and Ward 7 councilor Rachel Maiore have all announced their candidacy for reelection and so far face no competition.

School Committee

For the School Committee, four people have announced their candidacy for the two at-large seats: Gwen Agna, Aline Davis, Margaret Robbins and Susan Voss. Agna and Davis are the current at-large committee members, while Robbins is the Ward 1 committee member and Voss formerly served on the committee.

A contest may occur in Ward 6, where incumbent Margaret Miller and newcomer Cynthia Mahoney have taken out papers.

All other races currently have no contests.

In Ward 1, Holly Ghazey has pulled papers. She currently serves as Ward 2’s committee member. Also pulling papers are Foster (Ward 2), who is stepping down as a city councilor; incumbents Emily Serafy-Cox (Ward 3) and Michael Stein (Ward 4); and newcomers Ann Hennessy (Ward 5) and Kerry LaBounty (Ward 7).

Other positions

Three of the five seats on the Forbes Library board of trustees will be on the ballot in November. To date, one incumbent, Kathleen Wight, is running for reelection. Two newcomers, Jeannette Muzima and Anne Teschner, have also pulled papers to serve on the board.

All three positions are open for the board of trustees for Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. Incumbents Michael Cahillane, Richard Aquadro and Julie Spencer-Robinson have announced their candidacies.

Any interested candidates have until July 24 to submit nomination papers to the Registrar of Voters for certification of signatures. The final day for submitting nomination papers to the city clerk’s office is Aug. 7.

A preliminary election, if needed, will take place Sept. 19. The city’s municipal election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Alexander MacDougall can be reached at amac