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Candidates Pull Papers in Twin Cities

February 11, 2019 GMT

Nearly 30 candidates have pulled nomination papers to run for city office or boards in Leominster and Fitchburg since election season kicked off last week.

Fitchburg Mayor Stephen DiNatale, who pulled papers Tuesday, will run for a third term. He was elected in 2016 after serving as state representative for the city.

“It has and continues to be both an honor and privilege to serve you all,” he wrote on Facebook. “Fitchburg is great because of (its) people. I would very much like to continue representing you all as your Mayor.”

DiNatale said he wants to continue to strengthen the city’s finances, expand the commercial tax base, and make Fitchburg a comfortable place to live.

He will face off against Alexander Vera, who challenged DiNatale in 2017.

City Council President Michael Kushmerek is seeking an At-Large Councilor seat. As of Friday, nobody has pulled papers to run for Ward 4, the seat he is vacating.

Kent Bourgault, former manager of Shack’s Fine Clothing, has taken out nomination papers to run for Ward 3, which is currently represented by Joel Kaddy.

Joseph Bowen, who serves on the Cultural Council, also pulled papers to run for Ward 3.

Paul Beauchmin, who represents Ward 2, pulled papers Tuesday and is facing a challenge from Jorge Rodriguez, a minister at the Nw Life Spanish Christian Church.

Incumbent councilors Amy Green of Ward 1 and Marisa Fleming of Ward 5 have pulled papers for reelection.

At-Large city councilors Marcus DiNatale and Anthony Zarella took out their papers Monday.

New candidate Robert Pooler also pulled papers to run for one of the five At-Large city council seats.

For the School Committee, incumbents Sally Cragin and Aidan Horgan took out nomination papers.

Christopher Batinsey pulled papers to run for one of three seats with terms that expire in January 2024.

In Leominster, Mayor Dean Mazzarella pulled papers for an unprecedented 14th run for City Hall’s corner office. Mazzarella is already the longest continuous-serving mayor in state history.

In 2015, Mazzarella narrowly defeated Kenneth Ricker, who ran as a write-in candidate, by 106 votes after a recount.

Also pulling papers this week in Leominster was Richard Marchand who is the incumbent City Councilor representing Ward 5.

Claire Freda, the longest-serving elected official in the city, pulled papers for a 14th term as At-large City Councilor this week.

So far, Freda and incumbent At-large Councilors Thomas Frank Ardinger and Sue Chalifoux Zephir have pulled papers.

As of Friday, Daniel D. Dubrule, who is retired from the state’s Department of Correction and was unsuccessful in runs for state Senate in 2010 and for the 2nd Congressional District in 2014, pulled papers for an At-large seat on the City Council.

Dubrule made his announcement on his Facebook page posting: “My main duty is serve the needs of my constituents but I bring a great deal of passion for our vulnerable populations and Leominster’s endangered public resources with public safety being my foundation.”

Pulling papers for a seat on the School Committee representing Ward 4 is Peter Haigis Jr., who has worked behind the scenes in political races serving as campaign manager for Chalifoux Zephir in 2017 during her run for a state Senate seat and current Leominster state Rep. Natalie Higgins.

Already pulling papers in Leominster school committee are: incumbent Ward 3 School Committee member Isabelle Alera, incumbent Ward 2 School Committee Ronnie Houle, incumbent At-large School Committee member Wendy Anderson, and Brandon Robbins, who came in fifth in 2017 running for one of four at-large seats on the City Council, as a candidate for an at-large seat on the School Committee.

Already pulling papers for the City Council are: Mark Bodanza, who is the incumbent for the council’s Ward 4 seat, incumbent Ward 2 Councilor Pauline Cormier, and first-time candidate Divine Blackman, also for the Ward 2 council seat.

Nomination papers for the 2019 municipal elections in Fitchburg and Leominster will be available for the next six months. Aug. 6 is the deadline to file papers with collected signatures.

City Editor Cliff Clark contributed to this report.

Follow Mina Corpuz on Twitter @mlcorpuz.