'Ward 4 is a very special place': Quincy voters to pick a new city councilor Tuesday
QUINCY − The final push ahead of Tuesday's special election in Quincy comes on a weekend that is expected to bring record-breaking cold temperatures to the region. The cold has forced some changes in campaign planning, the candidates said, but they're determined to talk to as many people as possible in the days leading up to the election.
Joel Buenaventura and James Devine, who won a preliminary election last month, will go head to head Tuesday to see who will be elected the new city councilor for Ward 4. Brian Palmucci, who had the seat for a decade, resigned last year to become a District Court judge.
"We're pushing. We're knocking doors, we're sending out mailers, we're doing everything we can in a special election, and we're trying to fight the minus 0 weather on Saturday," Buenaventura said. "Trying to connect with people is always hard, especially in an out-of-cycle election, but we're making our best effort."
James Devine said he still plans to stand out as much as he can and talk to anyone who stops by, despite the wicked chill.
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"I'm just a regular guy who is hoping to represent the people of Ward 4. It's been highly educational to run a campaign without any real political experience," Devine said. "It's been a hard time to campaign, with the cold and it getting dark so early, but it's been great to meet as many people as I can. I've met so many people, I see people everywhere now. I've had a lot of fun."
Devine, a carpenter and 18-year resident of the city, and Buenaventura, a lawyer who has lived in Quincy most of his life, were the top vote-getters in the preliminary election last month. Devine received 42% − or 318 − votes and Buenaventura had 234 votes, or 31%. The pair beat out two other candidates, Matthew Lyons and Sharon Cintolo.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. For more information, visit quincyma.gov.
Buenaventura said the potential for a 99-year lease at Granite Links Golf Club has been a hot-button issue for voters, as well as longstanding issues in the ward such as flooding. He said residents feel they often aren't appropriately notified when it comes to projects and developments, something he said he'd work on if elected by creating a regular newsletter or blog.
"These are general issues that have always been with the ward, and it's all about how we approach them," he said. "I won't make promises I can't deliver on, but people want to be aware of what's going on in their neighborhood and that's something I would approach."
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Traffic, speeding, pedestrian safety, police presence, overdevelopment and transparency are the issues Devine says are top of mind.
"If I become councilor, the minute I hear about some big project, I'm going to reach out," he said. "I'm not going to wait until a week before the zoning meeting. Let's save time, not have to go back and forth and not try to stop a locomotive that's already coming down the railroad. If we jump in early, we should be able to come to a compromise."
Whether or not he is chosen to represent his neighbors, Devine said he plans to stay active in the community.
"There are about 2,000 people in Ward 4 who have the same passion about the ward as I do, and I want to get them all together," he said. "I'm going to try to unite all of us so that when we have an issue, we can reach out to the city and find out what to do. I think those people will be the best voice on any issue. It's not about Jimmy Devine's ideas, it's about all of our ideas. I'm very good with people and usually able to find common ground."
When asked what he wanted voters to know in the final push, Buenaventura had one thing to say: "Vote. No matter who you vote for, vote."
"It's important that you have a representative in this seat, so please review who the candidates are and get out to vote," he said. "I'm a qualified candidate and would be more than happy to take this on. I think I can represent the ward well and be effective. Ward 4 is a very special place."
Reach Mary Whitfill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Ward 4 city council election to be held Tuesday, Feb. 7, in Quincy