Springfield’s political landscape experienced a sea change this week following upsets in races for city council and school committee. For the first time in the city’s history, people of color will form a majority in the Springfield City Council. This after two incumbents, including Council President James Ferrera, lost their re-election bids to Justin Hurst, an African-American, and Orlando Ramos, a Latino. People of color will also form a majority on the school committee. Despite a low voter turnout of fewer than 12%, Tuesday’s election marks a vindication for proponents of Springfield’s ward system, including the Reverend Talbert Swan, who argued it would foster more competition and ensure fairer representation. But Swan, who heads the Springfield chapter of the NAACP, says residents still have to hold the newly-elected officials accountable.
“People still want to see a reduction in crime. They still want to see services rendered to the citizens of the city. They still want to make sure that the city is financially stable and sound.”
Nevertheless, Swan says Tuesday’s vote should give more residents confidence that they have a voice in city government.