November 6, 2017

Worcester City Council election, at a glance

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Candidates for mayor

JOSEPH M. PETTY

Campaign website | Facebook | City profile

Mayor Petty

Quotes of note: “The state government does not give us many tools in the toolbox when it comes to economic development. The TIF is one option that we have but it is not perfect. We have used them judiciously and they have been overwhelmingly successful at retaining and attracting hundreds of jobs, while developing buildings and parcels that would otherwise go unimproved.”

From a Worcester Magazine candidate profile: “There’s a buzz in the city right now. There’s an excitement,” he said. “The atmosphere’s changing. The yellow bikes, people riding around. The arts community seems to be flourishing here. Young people want to stay here and be here.”

Fast facts: Has served on the City Council since 1998. If elected, he would become the third Worcester mayor to earn a fourth term, after Raymond V. Mariano and Jordan Levy.

KONSTANTINA B. “KONNIE” LUKES

Facebook | City profile

City of Worcester

Konnie Lukes

Quotes of note: “I understand the importance and necessity of an open and transparent government. As a city councilor and past mayor, I have always fought to provide the checks and balances and the public scrutiny that is the basis of our democracy.”

From a T&G candidate profile: “The mayor will not acknowledge that by its own actions or inactions Worcester is a sanctuary city. A political machine has become a part of city government that is not accountable to voters. The mayor and council must be accountable to the public.”

Fast facts: Has served on the City Council since 1990. In 2007, became city’s first popularly elected female mayor. Also served four terms on School Committee. Her son, Peter, is town manager in Holden.

*Candidates for mayor are also candidates for the six councilor-at-large seats.

Candidates for councilor-at-large

MORRIS A. “MOE” BERGMAN

Facebook | City profile

Sun Staff

Moe Bergman

Quote of note: “Oftentimes, a campaign is the best chance to speak to people. This year, unlike two years ago, they seem really content,” he told Worcester Magazine. Crime is less on their minds. Folks feel Worcester has become more of a fun city with the restaurant scene. The downtown development is a sign, economically, that we’re heading in the right direction.”

Fast facts: Has served on the City Council since 2014. Served two terms on the city Zoning Board of Appeals. Is a docent for Preservation Worcester. Once worked for District Attorney John Conte.

MICHAEL T. GAFFNEY

City profile | The Worcester Independent Leader

Mike Gaffney

Quote of note: “Be advised,” Gaffney wrote in a Nov. 2 social media press release, in response to a Democratic mailer that referenced his October withdrawal announcement, “should the good people of Worcester choose to elect either of us [wife, Coreen, is on the ballot for District 4], we will serve out our term to the best of our ability as we refuse to let this crew of despicable liars engage in this type of behavior.”

Fast facts: Has served on the City Council since 2014. Finished second to Petty in the 2015 mayoral race. One of the first and primary advertisers on local blog Turtleboy Sports.

KHRYSTIAN E. KING

Campaign website | Facebook | City profile

Khrystian King

Quote of note: “Every college and university should be required to make PILOT payments to the city and I would support requiring other large, tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations to contribute as well,” he told the T&G for a candidate profile.

Fast facts: Has served on the City Council since 2016. Works for the state Department of Children and Families. Is the longtime director of the Crompton Park summer basketball league.

GARY ROSEN

City profile

Gary Rosen

City of Worcester

Gary Rosen

Quote of note: “The council must get serious about implementing the report by the Mayor’s Tax Policy Committee which made suggestions on new ways to raise revenue other than through the usual tax levy,” he told the T&G for a candidate profile. “Several of these suggestions are good ones but they seem to be languishing in our sub-committees.”

Fast facts: Was an at-large councilor in 1996-97 and 2006-2009. Served as District 5 councilor since 2014. Served 10 years on the School Committee. Was a chemistry teacher at Doherty and other area high schools.

BENJAMIN STRAIGHT

Campaign website | Facebook

Quote of note: “I would like to see a city maintenance team dedicated to maintaining the areas around each point of entry to the city,” he told the T&G for a candidate profile. This would include landscaping and trash clean-up which would improve the experience of visitors and residents.”

Fast facts: Moved to Worcester about four years ago. Navy veteran. Is an assistant assessor for the city of Worcester.

KATHLEEN M. “KATE” TOOMEY

Facebook | City profile

Kate Toomey

Courtesy city of Worcester

Kate Toomey

Quote of note: “Without broadening the tax base, we won’t be able to provide the funds needed to ensure we have a safe and livable city,” she told the T&G for a candidate profile. “Without expanding the tax base, we can’t do the infrastructure improvements we need, or build new schools or expand things like our traffic division in the Police Department.”

Fast facts: Has served on the City Council since 2006. Also served two terms on the School Committee. Was a teacher in Boston Public Schools.

Candidates for District 1

EDWARD L. MOYNIHAN

Campaign website

Quote of note: “I believe without reservation that education is the key to both personal prosperity and the strength of a community,” he told Worcester Magazine, referring to a proposal to institute college tuition discounts for city students.

Fast facts: Served as chairman of the city’s Community Development Advisory Committee. Was a two-term town councilor in Vernon, Connecticut, his hometown. Is an urban studies professor at Worcester State.

SEAN M. ROSE

Campaign website | Facebook

Sean M. Rose

Quote of note: “I am deeply concerned about what we are hearing in Washington. We continue to hear that there will be cuts coming. I can’t help but worry about what these cuts will be or who they will impact,” he told WoMag.

Fast facts: Is executive director of Justice Resource Institute Connecticut, a nonprofit human service agency. His five children atll attend Worcester Public Schools. His father-in-law is longtime city politician Tom White

*Incumbent Tony Economou is not seeking re-election

Candidate for District 2

CANDY F. MERO-CARLSON

Facebook | City profile

Candy Mero-Carlson

Quote of note: “I do not favor going to a single tax rate because it would hurt our most vulnerable homeowners in the city: the elderly, people on fixed incomes and tenants,” she told the T&G for a candidate profile. “However I do favor a small business tax exception for businesses valued under $1 million.”

Fast facts: Has served on the City Council since 2015. Is chair of the Worcester Democratic City Committee. Her husband, Joseph P. Carlson (a longtime Worcester Housing Authority board member), has a street named after him in Great Brook Valley.

Candidates for District 3

DAVIS K. ASARE

Campaign website | Facebook

Davis Asare

Quote of note: “Complacency is there. It’s something I want to tap into,” he told Worcester Magazine, referring to incumbent George Russell.

Fast facts: Has volunteered for African Community Education. Currently serves on the Citizen Advisory Council.

GEORGE J. RUSSELL

Campaign website | Facebook | City profile

Courtesy georgerussell.org

George Russell

Quote of note: “I’m disappointed, quite frankly, especially since this is in the heart of District 3,” he told the T&G after the city’s Amazon bid was released. “I was not consulted on any impacts there might be to this area and I’m disappointed very much that folks at least weren’t talked to about this.”

Fast facts: Has served on the City Council since 2012, when he succeeded Paul Clancy Jr., who’d held the seat since 1988. Owns George Russell Realty.

Candidates for District 4

SARAI RIVERA

Campaign website | Facebook | City profile

Sarai Rivera

Courtesy city of Worcester

Rivera

Quote of note: “These are U.S. citizens; they don’t want to pick up and leave their homes but their area is uninhabitable,” she told fellow councilors, referring to the mass resettlement of Puerto Ricans following Hurricane Maria, according to the T&G. “Now we’re in survival mode. There is no inventory of affordable housing and we need to open up that conversation so we can help these people.”

Fast facts: Has served on the City Council since 2012. She and her husband, Jose Encarnacion, are co-senior pastors of Christian Community Church.

COREEN GAFFNEY

Facebook

Michael and Coreen Gaffney

Worcester Sun / Worcester Sun

Coreen Gaffney

Quote of note: “There have been efforts by some in the media to bait both of us [Gaffney and Rivera] into engaging in negative commentary, and I will refrain from doing so as I feel it does a disservice to the community.” — to Ray Mariano for an August breakdown of the District 4 council race.

Fast facts: Was a two-term member of the Citizen Advisory Council. Is a board member of Park Spirit and Project New Hope, a veterans advocacy organization.

Candidates for District 5

PAUL J. FRANCO

Campaign website | Facebook

Paul Franco

Quote of note: “The city manager works for us,” he told Ray Mariano in a June article on the District 5 race.

Fast facts: Has run for state representative in 2010 (losing to John J. Mahoney) and state senator in 2014 (losing to Harriette L. Chandler). Is a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) corps.

MATTHEW E. WALLY

Campaign website | Facebook

Matt Wally

Quote of note: “It brings a sense of security knowing police are in the neighborhood on their routes, going through their streets,” he told the T&G, talking about pursuing an increased police presence in some West Side neighborhoods.

Fast facts: Finished eighth in the 2015 councilor-at-large election. Played football at Burncoat. Has degrees from Holy Cross and Clark.

[Disclosure: Matt Wally and Sun publisher Mark Henderson are members of the Board of Directors of  local housing nonprofit Matthew 25.]

*Incumbent Gary Rosen is running for an at-large seat.

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