Student, political aide joins race for Pittsfield council at large seats

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PITTSFIELD —A 24-year-old city resident with a demonstrable interest in politics has jumped into the crowded race for at large City Council seats.

Meanwhile, in Ward 1, Tammy Ives, of Sadler Avenue, has taken out nomination papers to challenge incumbent Councilor Lisa Tully, and Irwin Moiseff, of Partridge Road, has taken papers for School Committee.

Taylor DiSantis, of Pembroke Avenue, said recently he wants to put his enthusiasm and political experience to work to help people improve their lives and the community. DiSantis has taken papers to enter the race for one of four at large council seats.

"I see this as an opportunity to bring new ideas and perspectives to the council," said DiSantis, the seventh person to take out nomination papers for the contest, "and I am happy to dedicate my service."

He said his priorities would include increasing opportunities for residents, particularly employment opportunities for young people.

DiSantis, a senior majoring in political science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, expects to finish his credit requirements in August. He first became an intern working with Evan Falchuk's independent bid for governor in 2014, and then interrupted his studies to work for the candidate and his new United Independent Party full time.

After the November election, DiSantis has continued to work as political director with the newly established independent party while continuing his work toward a bachelor's degree. He said Falchuk "understands that this [serving on the council] would be my No. 1 priority," if he wins an at large seat.

DiSantis, a graduate of St. Joseph's High School, also worked on the congressional campaign mounted by former state Sen. Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. in 2012.

In the fall election, DiSantis could face a solid, veteran lineup in the race for four at large seats. Those having taken nomination papers include incumbents Churchill Cotton, Kathleen Amuso and Council President Melissa Mazzeo, as well as former at large Councilor Peter Marchetti, and two former ward councilors, Peter White and Joseph Nichols.

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Incumbent Barry Clairmont has said he won't seek a third term.

In Ward 1, Ives seeks a contest against Tully, a one-term incumbent. The potential challenger gained some experience in 2013, mounting an unsuccessful council primary race against former Ward 1 Councilor Christine Yon and Tully, who won in the general election race.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Lothrop's decision not seeking a seventh term in Ward 5, has prompted three candidates to announce a bid for the seat. They are Donna Todd Rivers, of Jason Street, former ward Councilor and Council President Richard Scapin, of Gale Avenue, and attorney Devon Grierson, of Harris Street.

Candidates who have taken out voter signature papers in the other ward races include incumbent Kevin Morandi and Michael Merriam, of Allengate Avenue, in Ward 2; incumbent Nicholas Caccamo in Ward 3; incumbent; council Vice President Christopher Connell in Ward 4; and incumbent Anthony Simonelli and Kathy Lloyd, of Lakeway Drive, in Ward 7.

John Krol is the incumbent in Ward 6. He has said he'll seek another term but has yet to take out nomination papers.

In the race for mayor, Craig C. Gaetani, of West Street, Eric N. Bassett, of Harryel Street, Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi, and current City Clerk Linda M. Tyer have taken out papers for the office.

As Tyer is not seeking re-election to run for mayor, potential candidates having taken out papers for clerk are former Clerk Jody L. Phillips and newcomer Aureline Peguero, of Wahconah Street.

The race for six at large School Committee seats has eight potential candidates thus far. They are Richard S. Backer, of Beverly Street; Salvatore Frieri of Holmes Road; and committee incumbents Pamela Farron; Katherine Yon, the current chairwoman; and Cynthia Taylor, Joshua Cutler, Anthony Riello and Daniel Elias.

Candidates have until July 24 to bring their papers to the Register of Voters office to have the required number signatures for the office they seek certified. They then must bring the certified nomination papers to the city clerk's office by Aug. 7.

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.


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