Woonsocket primary likely needed to sort out candidates

Woonsocket primary likely needed to sort out candidates

Fifteen declare for council, five for mayor

WOONSOCKET - The final declarations are in, and if all of the potential candidates for Woonsocket's municipal elections complete the nomination process, the city will hold a primary for both the City Council and mayoral position on Oct. 8.

Mayor Leo Fontaine is likely to have plenty of competition in his third run for office, with four candidates planning to challenge the incumbent.

Challengers Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, a state representative, David Fisher, a local chef and environmental advocate, and Michael Moniz, a perennial candidate, were joined on Tuesday by Zoning Board member Roland Michaud in declaring intent to seek the job.

Michaud has been a vocal opponent of the Budget Commission's five-year plan to resolve the city's ongoing deficits and has been a key player in establishing the Woonsocket Legal Defense Fund, a class-action suit challenging the recent supplemental tax bill.

For the City Council, 15 candidates have declared their intent to run, the benchmark for triggering a primary election. All seven incumbents had filed declarations with the city's Board of Canvassers by the 4 p.m. deadline on Tuesday, along with two members of the School Committee: Christopher Roberts and Anita McGuire-Forcier.

There will be no election for the School Committee this year. The five-member board will be appointed, as requested by voters during the last local election cycle.

Council President John Ward, who also serves as a member of the Budget Commission, waited until on Tuesday, the final day to submit papers, to declare his intent to seek the seat again.

"The circumstances were such that I was seriously considering not running again," said Ward. "But after thinking about it, and seeing who was running I decided to throw my hat in the ring."

With the addition of Ward, the full board of incumbents running will include: Daniel Gendron, Robert Moreau, Albert Brien, Roger Jalette, Christopher Beauchamp and Marc Dubois.

Newcomers seeking Council seats include Melissa Murray, owner of The Opulent Squid, a new jewelry shop in Le Moulin; CVS corporate employee Eric Cartier; Zoning Board members Kathryn Dumais and Richard Fagnant; real estate broker Garrett Mancieri and Jeffrey Belknap, a School Department maintenance employee.

City Solicitor Joseph Carroll advised the Board of Canvassers last week that as a city employee, Belknap would not be eligible to hold office, and the panel met after the nomination period closed on Tuesday to discuss if his campaign could move forward.

"He can run," Estelle Corriveau, manager of the city's Board of Canvassers, told The Breeze Wednesday morning. "Under the law it states that if he wins he'll have to resign from his job."

On Sept. 3, the nomination papers for al 20 candidates will be made available at City Hall. In order to qualify for a Oct. 8 primary, all 15 council candidates would need to return the forms with 100 signatures by Sept. 17. At least three of the mayoral candidates must also complete this next step in order to trigger a primary for the city's top office. The final election will be held Nov. 5.

Winners will serve three year terms rather than the usual two-year cycle, putting Woonsocket's municipal elections in synch with state and federal elections by the year 2016.