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Easthampton finalizes November political matchups

  • Easthampton Municipal Building, 50 Payson Ave. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 9/20/2019 12:40:54 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Most candidates running in this year’s municipal election are running unopposed though races for both the City Council’s District 2 seat and four at-large seats may bring new faces to the community's political scene.

Five candidates are running for four at-large council seats on the Nov. 5 ballot including incumbents Owen Zaret, of 74 Florence Road, Margaret “Peg” Conniff, of 35 Pine Hill Road, and William Lynch IV, of 16 Willow Circle. Two newcomers are also running for these seats: Lindsey Rothschild, of 2 S. Hampshire St., and Laura Mae Douglass, of 18 Clifford St. City Council President and At-Large Councilor Stan McCoy is not seeking another term.

In District 2, incumbent Homar Gomez, of 14 Clarke Ave., is being challenged by Erica A. Flood, of 63 Parsons St.

“It’s good to have enough interest, where there are more candidates than spots,” said Assistant City Clerk MaryAnn Giza.

The deadline for candidates to submit nominations papers was Sept. 17.

District 1 City Councilor James “JP” Kwiecinski, of 47 Hannum Brook Drive, District 3 City Councilor Thomas Peake, of 55 Holyoke St., District 4 City Councilor Salem Derby, of 15 Westview Terrace, and District 5 City Councilor Daniel Rist, of 26 Line St. all are running unopposed. 

Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, of 123 East St., is running for her second two-year term without opposition.

Six incumbent members of the School Committee will also run unopposed on the ballot: Cynthia Kwiecinski, of 45 Hannum Brook Drive, Laurie Garcia, of 30 Holly Circle, Shannon M. Dunham, of 56 Bryan Ave., Jonathan M. Schmidt, of 442 East St., Marin Goldstein, of 16 John St. and Marissa Carrere, of 135 Loudville Road.

Ballot questions

There will also likely be four ballot questions posed to voters in November, Giza said. The first would establish a municipal light plant in the city for electric power and/or energy-related services, a move that was approved by the City Council in August. The City Council now needs to approve the language which will appear on the ballot. 

Another question would lengthen the mayoral term from two years to four, following in the footsteps of neighboring Northampton and Holyoke in extending executive terms.

Two separate ballot questions are slated to ask voters whether to implement ranked-choice voting for precinct city councilors and the mayor. In ranked-choice voting, the candidate with a majority of votes wins. If no candidates receive 50 percent, then the candidate with the least amount of vote share is eliminated. Those who voted for the eliminated candidate will then have their votes move to their second choice, and so on until a majority vote share is reached.

The ballot questions regarding mayoral terms and ranked-choice voting are still being vetted by the state Legislature, Giza said, and once signed off by the governor, the questions’ language will have to be approved by the City Council before appearing on the ballot.

Giza said voters in Massachusetts have until 8 p.m. on Oct. 16 to register to vote, either in person or online. A candidate meet-and-greet will be held at the Emily Williston Memorial Library on Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m.

“We hope for a big turnout and we want everyone to come out and vote,” Giza said.

Michael Connors can be reached at 

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