Voters To Settle Contested Mayoral Races In Five Western Mass. Cities

Nov 7, 2017

Voters in some Massachusetts communities will go to the polls Tuesday to elect local government and school officials. In the four westernmost counties, five cities have contested mayoral elections.

Open Races

Three cities in the region have no incumbent on the ballot for mayor. 

Agawam's longtime mayor, Richard Cohen, is instead going for a seat on the City Council. The mayoral race features former school superintendent Bill Sapelli and City Council President Jimmy Cichetti.

In Easthampton, Mayor Karen Cadieux decided not to run for a third term. That's set up a battle between longtime City Councilor Joy Winnie, and attorney and Democratic Party activist Nicole LaChapelle.

North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright is also retiring. He'll be succeeded by either college administrator Tom Bernard or City Councilor Bob Moulton Jr., who owns a pair of optical shops.

Two Incumbents Challenged

Five incumbent mayors in western Massachusetts are seeking another term, with three of them -- Chicopee's Richard Kos, West Springfield's William Reichelt and Westfield's Brian Sullivan -- getting a free pass; they're unopposed.

Holyoke's Alex Morse is challenged by former city councilor Jay Ferreira. In Northampton, Mayor David Narkewicz faces book store owner John Riley.

Lengthening Terms

Not all cities are electing mayors this year. That's because an increasing number of them in recent years have opted to extend mayoral terms to four years, instead of two.

Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin's office keeps a list. Of the 46 cities with mayors in Massachusetts, 20 have four-year terms. That includes two from western Massachusetts -- Holyoke and West Springfield -- that are making the switch this year.

Westfield is among the holdouts for the shorter term, although voters there will weigh-in on that Tuesday. 

This ballot question will appear on Westfield, Mass., ballots on Nov. 7, 2017.
Credit Screen Shot / Westfield City Clerk's Office

The argument for a longer term is simple: let a mayor get some momentum on big issues before they again have to face voters. The argument for two-year terms: more chances to hold a mayor accountable.