It’s official: there will be a rematch for mayor in North Adams this fall pitting 18-year incumbent John Barrett III against challenger Paul Babeu.
In 1997, Babeu finished just 353 votes behind Barrett in the general election, with an unusually heavy voter turnout of 75 percent of registered voters casting ballots.
In the primary earlier that year which narrowed the field of three mayoral candidates down to two, Babeu narrowly finished first, coming in ahead of Barrett by just 145 votes.
Babeu, of Willow Street, took out nomination papers last Friday, Aug. 3, just when it looked as if Barrett might not have a challenger for mayor for the first time in his tenure. The Babeu camp turned in the papers yesterday, the last day to do so.
Babeu, 32, who is the executive director of the DeSisto School, located in Stockbridge, will leave his position of 2-1/2 years in order to concentrate on the campaign. His brother, Shaun Babeu, a former city councilor, also is leaving a post at the school to serve as his brother’s campaign manager.
Babeu is a 1992 graduate of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams with a Bachelor’s degree in history/political science. He is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Administration graduate program at American International College in Springfield and plans to complete the professional degree in 2002.
Babeu also holds the rank of captain in the Massachusetts National Guard and serves as the company commander for B Company, 181 Engineer Battalion in Florence.
“We came so close four years ago and I will work hard,” said Babeu in a prepared statement. “I ask the voters of North Adams for their support and the opportunity to serve them as their next mayor.”
Barrett, a resident of Corinth Street, is seeking an unprecedented 10th two-year term as mayor.
In an interview with The Advocate in June, Barrett said that a lot of good things are happening in North Adams, and he would like to stick around to see some of the projects be completed.
“A lot of the new people that have come to the city or area now just don’t understand where North Adams was 18 years ago,” he said. “We weren’t always like this. We weren’t an overnight success story.”
“I want to make sure that it’s running in place a few years before I leave,” he said of the city’s upturn in recent years. “Once it’s entrenched, it’s got a better chance for success, and that’s what I’m looking at.”
There are 13 candidates for nine seats on the North Adams City Council. Eight of the nine incumbents are running this year, with incumbent Keith Bona having announced in advance that he would not be seeking re-election.
The incumbents are Richard J. Alcombright, Clark H. Billings, Michael C. Bloom, Ronald A. Boucher, Gailanne M. Cariddi, Diane M. Gallese-Parsons, Marie Harpin, Alan L. Marden.
Former city councilors Vincent Melito and William E. Donovan, Jr. are running, as are newcomers Brian L. Flagg, Kyle J. Hanlon, and Robert R. Moulton, Jr.
North Adams School Committee
There are three candidates for three seats on the North Adams School Committee. Twenty-three year incumbent Richard B. Bullett did not take out nomination papers, nor did Ellen Kaiser, who has served for 12 years on the committee.
Returning nomination papers were incumbent Heather Putnam, and newcomers Mark P. Moulton and John Hockridge.
The McCann School Committee
There are three candidates for two seats on the McCann School Committee. Incumbent Richard J. Alcombright is running, but not running for re-election is D. Anthony Ponti.
Besides Alcombright, competing for the two available seats are Daniel Perreault and Paul A. Gigliotti.
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