SPRINGFIELD — Candidates for the vacant Ward 5 City Council seat have been working and preparing for Tuesday’s special election.
Candidates include Lavar Click-Bruce, Nicole D. Coakley, Edward Collins, Ellen Moorhouse, Michael Lee, LaMar Cook and Edward Clinton Green. All are seeking the seat vacated by former board chairman Marcus Williams, who resigned in May.
Of the ward’s 14,843 registered voters, some 450 ballots were returned by mail Friday, according to City Clerk Gladys Oyola-Lopez.
“This will be the first time for a special election for city council,” Oyola-Lopez said. “It’s a bit difficult to determine what the turnout will be. I expect it to be a bit higher because we have a state election going on at the same time here in Springfield. People are interested in this election, which I think rubs off on the neighborhood council.
Most of the candidates, like Coakley, who spent his Friday morning knocking on the doors of Ward 5 residents, said they felt they had earned the public’s trust through their outreach efforts before and since. the debate last week.
“I’m confident in my position because I’m doing it for the right reasons, and I want to make sure members of our community are heard,” said Coakley, assistant director for services and leadership at Springfield College. “I’m a regular member of the community, not a politician, someone who’s been in politics all my life. I do this because I have had all these lived experiences that concern the community and I can talk about them.
Candidates say they have continued to connect with the residents they plan to serve, knocking on their doors and sending out direct mail.
“I’m trying to get the word out, not just register people to vote,” said Moorhouse, director of communications for the Women’s Funding Network. “It’s a strange day in the summer that maybe nobody knows people are leaving their homes for the first time after COVID. Trying to drive mail-in ballots and making sure they know they can go downtown and both (that’s my main focus).
Collins, who advocates for easier access to American Rescue Plan Act federal funding applications, said while he’s optimistic about his standing in the race, given the time of this election, he It is difficult to judge the participation rate.
“We’re definitely doing everything we can to try and get the word out,” Collins said. “I’ve done several mailings, primarily, but not exclusively, focusing on so-called super voters, people who always turn out in primary and general elections.”
Cook, who was unable to make it to last week’s debate, said he was confident he would achieve his agenda if elected and would use his platform to listen and respond to the needs of the public , reduce crime in the city and relieve taxpayers.
“One of the things I want to work on is getting municipal internet,” Cook said. “We have a lot of people and towns around that have municipal internet and I want to make sure Springfield has it.”
Lee, a retired correctional officer, said he is determined to reduce the crime rate in Ward 5. Keeping his neighbors safe is his highest priority, which he reiterated to them during his efforts to awareness, he said.
“People have no respect for anybody else and they mentioned it,” Lee said. “The potholes are a big problem, and some (residents) don’t want them fixed, so the cars (keep) slowing down.”
Bruce, an aide to Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, said he knocked on 50 doors a day to make sure residents were aware of the election and his candidacy.
“We all got that date and we just had to work hard and see what happens after Tuesday’s results,” Bruce said.
Attempts to reach Clinton Green were unsuccessful.
There are currently 14,843 registered voters.
Polling stations, open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.:
- 5A, Springfield Science and Technology High School, 1250 State St.;
- 5B, Springfield Science and Technology High School, 1250 State St.;
- 5C, Mary M. Lynch Elementary School, 315 North Branch Parkway;
- 5D, Greenleaf Community Center, 1188 1/2 Parker Street;
- 5E, Pine Point Library, 204 Boston Road;
- 5F, John J. Duggan Academy, 1015 Wilbraham Road;
- 5G, Greenleaf Community Center, 1188 1/2 Parker Street; and
- 5H, Church of Acres, 1383 Wilbraham Road.