Election will bring political makeover to Northampton City Hall

  • Alisa Klein. FILE PHOTO

  • Maureen Carney.

  • Dennis Bidwell.

  • Ryan O’Donnell. FILE PHOTO

  • Northampton City Hall. FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/27/2019 3:59:49 PM

NORTHAMPTON — This year’s city elections appear all but certain to reshape the political landscape, with all nine City Council seats and all nine spots on the School Committee on the ballot — and with four councilors and three School Committee members not seeking reelection.

The general election will take place on Nov. 5.

City Clerk Pamela Powers, who is running unopposed for reelection this year, called the turnover in city offices “very interesting.”

“I’m hoping to hear a lot of dialogue,” Powers said. She particularly wants to hear candidates’ thoughts about the Charter Review Commission and the teachers contract issue, she said.

“That’s more turnover than usual,” said Stanley Moulton, chairman of the Northampton Charter Review Committee and a retired longtime journalist from the Daily Hampshire Gazette. He said voter engagement with the election will depend on the wards, “unless some issue emerges.”

With the July 19 deadline for submitting signatures to get on the ballot having passed, the picture for municipal elections in the city has come into focus. Mayor David Narkewicz is not on the ballot, as he is in middle of a four-year-term. But there will be significant turnover on the City Council, with President and At-Large City Councilor Ryan O’Donnell, Ward 1 City Councilor Maureen Carney, Ward 2 City Councilor Dennis Bidwell, and Ward 7 City Councilor Alisa Klein not seeking reelection. Ward 4 City Councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra, meanwhile, is running for an at-large council seat this year.

In Ward 2, All Out Adventures Executive Director Karen Foster will be the only candidate on the ballot. The  same is true for Ward 4, where probation officer John Thorpe will be the only candidate.

Ward 1 will have a contested race between Andrew Smith, director of  conservation and sustainability for the city of Holyoke, and Michael Quinlan, a city volunteer and the manager of fine wine at Table and Vine.

In Ward 5, incumbent David Murphy is being challenged by Pedal People worker-owner Alex Jarrett in the only race for the City Council pitting a challenger against an incumbent.

Ward 7 will host a preliminary election Sept. 17 between retired county government administrator Penny Geis, Pioneer Valley Women’s March Director Rachel Maiore and publishing company owner Hanuman Goleman. The two candidates to emerge from this election will make it to the ballot for the general election.

At-Large City Councilor William Dwight, Ward 3 City Councilor James Nash, and Ward 6 City Councilor Marianne LaBarge are running for reelection to their current positions unopposed.

There will also be substantial turnover on the School Committee, with Ward 5 member Ann Hennessey, Ward 4 member Edward Zuchowski and Ward 7 member Downey Meyer not seeking reelection.

At-Large member Molly Burnham and Dina Levi are running for the Ward 5 seat.

In Ward 7, Kaia Goleman, wife of City Council candidate Hanuman Goleman, is the only candidate on the ballot, as is Sean Condon in Ward 4.

In Ward 3, incumbent Howard Moore is being challenged by Emily Serafy-Cox. Meanwhile, the two at-large seats on the School Committee have three candidates: incumbent Susan Voss and challengers Roni Gold and Katherine Cardoso.

Ward 1 member Rebecca Busansky, Ward 2 member Laura Fallon and Ward 6 member Lonnie Kaufman are all running for reelection unopposed.

Also up for election in November are three seats on the Forbes Library board of trustees, the two elected slots on the Community Preservation Committee, three trustee positions on the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School board of trustees, and the elector position under the Oliver Smith will. The city clerk job is also on the ballot, where Powers is running unopposed.

The three seats up for election on the Forbes Library Board of Trustees have five candidates running for them this year: incumbents Kathleen Wight and  Joseph Twarog and challengers Emily Prabhaker, Leslie Skantz-Hodgson and Maxine Schmidt.

On the Community Preservation Committee, member David Whitehill is not running for re-election, while fellow incumbent K. Christopher Hellman and newcomer Daniel Benjamin Krassner are running for the two seats.

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

This article has been corrected to show that Dina Levi is running for the Ward 5 School Committee seat. An earlier version of this article gave the wrong date of the Sept. 17 preliminary special election for the Ward 7 City Council seat. 


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