Elkins, Perry win at-large seats on Northampton council; Agna, Davis to retain at-large positions on School Committee
|Published: 11-08-2023 12:34 PM
NORTHAMPTON — A pair of current city councilors — Marissa Elkins and Garrick Perry — swept aside two challengers in Tuesday’s municipal election to capture the at-large positions on the City Council, based on unofficial results.
Elkins, an at-large incumbent, and Perry, Ward 4’s councilor who ran for an at-large position this time around, beat out former city councilor David Murphy and former mayoral candidate Roy Martin.
Murphy and Martin ran on campaigns critical of the city’s budget, which is facing a likely override, as well as ambitious plans to redesign Main Street, while Elkins and Perry supported the budget decisions made by the city and its upcoming effort to redesign Main.
Early election results showed more than 4,700 people voted in this year’s municipal election, or about 15% of the city’s population.
According to unofficial results posted on the city clerk’s website, Elkins had 3,664 votes, Perry had 3,061, Murphy had 1,888 and Martin 439.
At a post-election party held at Mexcalito Taco Bar in Northampton, Perry expressed gratitude to voters for continuing to support him.
“I’m excited to work with the new council, but also to learn,” Perry said. “The council is a disparate group of voices coming together for the greater good.”
Elkins and Perry both joined the council in 2021 and have collaborated together while serving, with both sponsoring a resolution that led to the creation of the Commission to Investigate Racialized Harms. Elkins is a public defender originally from Texas, while Perry comes from the Washington, D.C.-area and has worked as a booking agent for Bishop’s Lounge and a performer in the hip-hop group The Alchemystics.
In an interview, Elkins said she and Perry had gotten to know each other well while serving together, and is excited to return to the council.
“I’m really glad to be back, and I’m really glad councilor Perry will be my colleague,” she said. “We’ve become good friends.”
At the polls earlier in the day, Ward 3 resident Jake Montes-Adams, who moved to the city from San Diego a year and a half ago, said he backed Elkins and Perry, citing support for the Main Street redesign as his biggest priority.
“I think it’s a general barometer for progressivism,” Montes-Adams said of the election. “As far as I can tell, the city is fairly well-governed.”
The other races in the city council elections went uncontested, although there are new faces joining the council.
Deborah Pastrisch-Klemer will be now serving Ward 2, replacing Karen Foster, who was elected to the School Committee on Tuesday. Quaverly Rothenberg, a court stenographer, will serve in Ward 3, replacing Jim Nash, who is stepping down from the position. Jeremy Dubs, who chairs the Northampton Disability Commission, was elected to Perry’s old Ward 4 position.
They will be joined by incumbents Stanley Moulton in Ward 1, Alex Jarrett in Ward 5, Marianne LaBarge in Ward 6 and Rachel Maiore in Ward 7.
Preliminary results for the School Committee showed incumbents Gwen Agna and Aline Davis in the lead to retain their at-large positions, while Meg Robbins trailed Davis slightly in a still competitive position.
Agna had 3,976 votes, while Davis had 2,640 and Robbins had 1,857.
Changes in city wards due to updated census populations meant that Robbins, the Ward 1 councilor, could no longer serve in that position, causing her to seek the at-large position.
Agna held a more commanding lead for one of the two at-large positions, making it likely she will resume her position as an at-large member.
“It’s looking good for me,” Agna said on Tuesday night at Mexcalito. “I’m pleased to be serving again.”
Agna appeared at the election party on Tuesday with state Sen. Jo Comerford, a nod to the high regard she holds among Northampton voters.
“I had to vote for Agna,” said Jude Almeida, a Ward 4 resident in an interview before polls closed on Tuesday. “She’s like a local celebrity.”
Davis acknowledged the results were still too early to call, but expressed confidence that she would hold on to win.
“This is the result I was hoping for,” she said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work collaboratively for the schools.”
The remaining school committee candidates ran mostly unopposed, with the exception of Michael Stein in Ward 4, who was challenged by Endamian Stewart. Preliminary results showed that Stein held a lead over Stewart.
Ann Hennessey, representing Ward 5, Kerry LaBounty, representing Ward 7, and Karen Foster, of Ward 2, are newcomers to this year’s committee. They will be joined by incumbents Holly Ghazey in Ward 1 (she is the current Ward 2 member), Emily Serafy-Cox in Ward 3, and Margaret Miller in Ward 6.
Alexander MacDougall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.