To no surprise the announcement by Mayor Lambert on Thursday evening that he would not be running for a 7th term in 2007 has set the political wheels in motion.
By 8 a.m. Friday morning WSAR was announcing that City Councilor Al Alves had thrown his had into the ring and that there were at least 2 other potential candidates. By the end of the day that number had grown from 3 to 6 and this morning the Herald News had the list up to 11 and with WSAR announcing that School committeeman Mark Costa was considering a run the list is up to 12!
Let's take a look at who could be our next mayor!
Alfredo Alves is our first confirmed candidate for mayor in 2007. A veteran city councilor, he is serving his 7th term on the city council. He also has the distinction of being the council's only Republican.
Bill Whitty is another veteran councilor who has been elected to the city council 8 times in three different decades! He has often served and currently does serve as council president. Whitty has also run for mayor on 3 separate occasions and lost to Carlton Viveros, John Mitchell, and current Mayor Ed Lambert. He also served as director of Rep. Barney Frank's local office.
F. George Jacome is probably best known as the man who almost beat Ed Lambert back in 2003, losing by just under 1,000 votes. Jacome also lost to Lambert in 2005 and had a failed City Council bid in 2001. Still while it may seem odd for a three time loser to consider mounting another bid at public office, Jacome has constantly been praised as being a thoughtful candidate and certainly has motivated supporters.
Henry Gillet reintroduced himself to Fall River and Fall River politics with a mayoral run in 2005. Gillet promoted himself as a man of experience and with a background as a state legislator, lobbyist, and Special Assistant to former Fall River mayor Wilfred Driscoll. He criticized Mayor Lambert for concentrating too much on LNG while ignoring other issues. Gillet's call for an independent audit was seen as a 'gimmick' by Ed Lambert but gained momentum and support. This support, however, didn't apply to the candidate himself and although the city seemed wallpapered by Gillet campaign signs he failed to get past the primary.
Brad Kilby continues the cycle of city councilors looking for promotion! Kilby is serving his second term on the city council and had previously served 8 years on the school committee. Mr. Kilby has earned a reputation as someone who puts in the hard work, asks the tough questions and looks for answers.
Representative David Sullivan is a former city councilor and currently a state representative for the 6th Bristol district. When I heard Sullivan's name mentioned I was surprised, not that he would be interested in the office, but that I had forgotten him! Rep. Sullivan works tirelessly and passionately for what he believes in. Although he is usually in agreement with the rest of the delegation he is not afraid to express a difference of opinion.
Anthony Cordeiro is a prominent businessman. His belief and forward vision for Fall River is evident with a look at downtown. Cordeiro has built several new building and rehabbed several others. The big question is whether or not this business prowess translates into someone who could successfully run the city. Cordeiro has been rumored as a candidate since he had a falling out with the Mayor several months ago. In fact some say it is his support and ability to fundraise that have kept Ed Lambert in office. If Cordeiro does decide to run his reputation as a builder and his experience as a fundraiser will make him a viable candidate.
Joseph Camara is yet another councilor who is considering making a run for mayor. Camara is serving his 6th council term. It is said that he is not afraid to go against the status quo or to explore every available option. He has served at Council President and is active as a coach and on the board of Fall River Youth Soccer. Councilor Camara ran for State Representative in 2003 and lost to incumbent David Sullivan.
Carole Fiola is certainly a known name in Fall River. She is an area realtor and a former employee at WSAR. For the last 6 years she has been the District 1 representative on the Governor's Council a position she is currently campaigning for re-election of. If Carole Fiola decides to make a run for mayor is her position on the Governor's Council and name recognition enough?
Raymond Hague first served on the City Council in 1997 when he finished the term of David Sullivan upon Sullivan's election as State Representative. He was elected in his own right in 1999 and has served ever since. He was instrumental in the lawsuit against BFI that resulted in an 11 million dollar award and called for an independent financial and performance audit 2 full years before Henry Gillet used it as part of his 2005 mayoral campaign. He is often credited for his constituency service.
Kevin Aguiar was elected to the Fall River School committee in 2001. In 2002 it was alleged that Aguiar had assisted in an illegal gambling operation, which he denied. He was re-elected to the School committee in 2003 and again in 2005. In 2006 he announced plans to challenge Representative Bob Correia but lost the primary race getting only 21% of the vote.
Mark Costa was elected to the School committee for the first time in 2005. The fact that Costa is already being mentioned as a possible candidate for mayor says a lot about the impression he has made as both a candidate for school committee in 2003 and 2005 and now as a school committeeman.