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This is radio boston. I'm tian during eleven. Cities and towns across massachusetts are holding their preliminary elections today and there are some fascinating races from the four women running to be the first female mayor of north adams. To the first district level city council elections ever in lull the communities voting. Run the gamut big to small urban to rural and the candidates reflect that range and diversity. Wbrc simone is reporting on them. Today joins us now simone. Welcome back to radio boston. Thanks for having me. So i wanna start in lawrence simone. I think it is fascinating. Technically open seat meer. Dan rivera stepped down in january to head up mass development. After seven years leading the city. He was really visible after the merrimack valley. Gas explosion during school turnaround there underscoring just how important american be. And now we've got acting near kendrick vasquez trying to win a full term against four challengers including wait for it. Another former marriage simone. Wow and what are the big issues shaping the race there. yeah you know talking to people in lawrence. It seems like issues that resonate with people in cities across massachusetts. I is the pandemic Like other gateway cities lawrence has been hit really hard by the corona virus. Then of course people are concerned about the lack of housing in the city. I talked to a city councillor who told me that because of gentrification happening and displacement in neighboring cities rents that were just eight hundred dollars. Two years ago are now in the thirteen fourteen hundred dollar range. Ouch Public safety is another concern. In the city some advocates. Say the lawrence police need to have greater sensitivity to the mental health issues facing residents on by adding staff with that kind of training. And you have an interesting slate of candidates hoping to take on these issues as mayor. So i want to talk a little bit more about that. You've got this unusual acting mayor versus former mayor. Tell us about those two candidates and how they are trying to contrast themselves their visions for leadership etcetera. Yeah so kendra. Vazquez is the contacting mayor. He was city council president when former mayor. Danielle rivera left office. In december to head mass development basket has has touted the creation of foreclosure. Foreclosure ordinance As well as his efforts to get people in lawrence vaccinated then you have the return of william lundy gua us the first hispanic mayor in massachusetts And his years in office were really mired in controversy lenghty. What was a state rap and ran unsuccessfully against mayor rivera he recently worked for the us census and he's still hoping he can make a political comeback in lawrence. Another candidate. I should say is a well known activist in the city brian. He owns two small automotive businesses in lawrence and he served on the city council for a number of years. My understanding is that is actually expected to make it to second place. Second took congress vasquez to get into the general election in november and. Finally you have two female candidates running in vilma martinez dominguez endorsed rodriguez. They're both lesser known public servants trying to make a flash lawrence politics but that is going to be so interesting to watch. Let's let's leave lawrence now and let's travel over to north adams were four. Women are vying to be. The city's first female mayor tells a little bit about that. Yes so mayor. Thomas bernard announced. He wasn't going to run for reelection. And for people who stood up to replace him are all women and that'll be the first mayor whose female as you noted in north adams history so to go through the candidates you have lynette ritalin bond. She sits on the city's planning board And works at the mass college of liberal arts. She cites the cities aging infrastructure priority. Which seems to be a common theme in north adams. Another candidate is rachel branch. A third time candidate for mayor to runs a tv show on community television. There she says climate change is one of the key issues. She wants to address Jennifer maxi is an official at the north berkshire school union earlier in her career. She was the city treasurer in north adams as well as tax collector and then finally april in car snow as she's a healthcare worker. Who's currently working at a grocery store north adams and tap to there as well All right so now. Let's head back over to lowell. 'cause that one is a first right electing district level counselors for the first time in history. How did that happen. Yeah this is really fascinating Lull was one of these cities that had all at large city council school committee positions and advocates in the city which at the time of the lawsuit almost fifty percent of the population. Where people of color hispanics asians primarily. They were arguing that the at large system was illegally diluting the voting power of minority voters in the city and that that was a violation of the voting rights act yvonne espinosa of lawyers civil rights which was the organization that brought the case.

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