2011 is an election year here in Salem.
The City Council and School Committee are both on the voters' docket for November. At stake are two-year terms for the Council and four-year terms for the School Committee.
As of this past Wednesday afternoon, no standing School Committee members have pulled the required nomination papers to stand for re-election.
Nate Bryant, Dr. Janet Crane, James Fleming and Kerry Ann Martin have yet to announce their intentions. Kevin R. Carr Jr., meanwhile, has already announced his intention to run as a Councilor-at-Large candidate. Three of the six school committee seats are to be on the ballot this year.
Six of the seven ward councilors have announced intentions to run again and have pulled their nomination papers. Robert McCarthy of Ward One, Michael Sosnowski in Ward Two, Jean Pelletier from Ward Three, John Ronan of Ward Five, Paul Prevey in Ward Six and Councilor Emeritus Joseph O'Keefe from Ward Seven are all moving forward with re-election plans. As of yet, no opposition candidates in any ward have stepped forward.
Council President Jerry Lincoln Ryan of Ward Four said he pulled his papers to run again on March 17.
The Councilor-at-Large races are developing at about the same pace. Steven Pinto is out getting nomination signatures for a run at a third two-year term. Thomas Furey, who started out on the school committee quite a few years ago, is again planning on wearing out his shoes in a door-to-door campaign.
Councilor-At-Large Joan Lovely, a recent law school graduate who topped the ticket in 2009, seems to be weighing her options. The fourth At-Large incumbent, Arthur C. Sargent III, is believed to be running for another term, but has not formally announced his intentions.
In 2009, five of the seven ward councilors ran unopposed. There were only choices in candidates in Ward Three and Ward Five. This year looks like it will bring out some opposition in Ward Three and Ward Six. Ward Five also has heard some rumblings of an opposition candidate.
Recent years have produced some perennial candidates, chief among them Ken Sawicki who in 2009 ran pulled nomination papers for multiple offices. Sawicki told me he will be running again as a Councilor-at-Large candidate.
Nomination papers can be pulled in the Elections Office at . Those wishing to run will need to get the required signatures turned in by the end of July. Councilor at-Large and School Committee hopefuls will need a minimum of 100 signatures. Individual ward candidates need at least 30 signatures. The City Clerk recommends each potential candidate exceed the minimum by 20 percent, as each signature will have to be verified as a Salem resident and registered voter. Nomination papers must be returned to the elections office by July 29, 2011.
Spring is soon to be here followed by what should be a good summer. The political winds are beginning to gently blow. We will be here to help you gauge them.
Corrections: A former version of this article indicated there are four School Committee seat when, in fact there are six.
Jerry Ryan contacted Salem Patch directly and said he pulled his papers on March 17 to run for reelection.