Yesterday, the Lowell election wrapped up. Here’s the City Manager’s blog with results. Aurora and I decided to take part in what appears to be a Lowell tradition, and went to the Blue Shamrock to watch the results with a drink. It was a small spectacle: both LTA and WCAP were broadcasting live starting at 8:00 pm. American flags and bunting decorated the normally spartan bar. However, the scene didn’t really start hopping until later in the evening, as candidates and their supporters filtered in. Soon, the room was filled with young and old staring at the projected spreadsheet, which election officials filled in real time. Meanwhile, the media provided commentary.
A few things struck me this election. The Sun’s Lyle Moran did a few on-the-street interviews, and one member of the Greek community said, “What really brought me out, more than which I would have been…” was Mayor’s Murphy’s use in a campaign party of the bust of Pericles donated by the Greek community. The voter was angry at several candidates (Mr. Nuon and Mr. Martin in particular) who “spoke for” the Mayor as well. It is no surprise these issues of trust, respect, and personality came up in the on-the-street interviews more than policy.
Secondly, buried in a Sun story with more on-the-street interviews is one voter’s perspective that his friends don’t vote because they don’t know who to vote for–there’s no (D) or (R) next to their name. This is something that I haven’t experienced before, as every city I’ve lived in has had partisan elections. The unfortunate thing is that party policy isn’t as strong in local government. For example, where do republicans stand on backyard chickens? How do democrats feel about moving Lowell High School? Yet residents live busy lives. Even if local government directly effects them, it’s a huge task to even learn who’s running, let alone get a feel for how they may react to issues that may come up in two years. It may be an argument for more constant, two-way citizen education and engagement from multiple sources, meeting citizens where they’re at (even “unknockable” places).
Finally, Derek Mitchell’s campaign posted a video in which he addresses his supporters. For anybody who supported a candidate that didn’t make the top nine, these words are quite inspirational:
I’ll end this post with some Facebook posts or tweets from those who will hopefully find a way to contribute to Lowell in one form or another for the next two years, even if not as a councilor:
Van Pech (who also gave a press release to richardhowe.com): Thank you everyone for all your help and support during this campaign and amazing journey. I met some amazing people and formed great bonds with equal number of amazing people. So many people have inspired me through this process. Lowell has a great future.
Vesna Nuon: I want to express my good wishes to all those who have been elected and my gratitude to those who supported me in my campaign for Lowell City Council. I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish for my neighborhood, my community and my city, and hope that those now entrusted with the responsibility to represent all of Lowell and its diverse residents do their job to the best of their ability and in the best interest of everyone in our great city.
Marty Lorrey: Marty thanks everyone who has given him support over the last two years. His efforts toward increasing recreational programs and improvements toward our quality of life in Lowell were initiatives he ran on successfully in 2011. It was an honor for him to serve the city of Lowell!
Genevieve Doyle: Thank you everyone! This was one heck of a ride. Now we have 2 yrs to plan
Eric Gitschier: Thank you to everyone who voted tonight. Thank you to everyone who helped with our campaign. We worked hard and came up short but we met good people and had fun doing it. Thanks again congrats to all nine Councilors elected tonight. We will be well represented. Good night