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Newcomer Spirito tops School race

LYNN – Former Assistant Superintendent and 40-year School Department veteran Vincent Spirito shot to the top of the Lynn School Committee race Tuesday, topping the primary election with 1,804 of the 4,450 total votes cast.The winning tally bested veteran committeewomen Donna Coppola and Patricia Capano, who finished second and third respectively.While some candidates commented that they “did not have a crowd to wave at” while out campaigning, others said they were surprised with the turnout, especially in Wards with heated City Council races.With 10 candidates running for six open committee slots, no one was eliminated from the race with Tuesday’s vote, and some candidates said they would base the future direction of campaigns on the results of the primary.Coppola, who spent the day campaigning alongside her husband Harry, who is running for Ward 7 City Council, received 1,768 votes for second place, followed by Capano with 1,608.Fellow incumbent John E. Ford Jr., followed with 1,594 votes with challenger Donald Castle’s 1,587 votes coming in fifth position, and first-time candidate Maria Carrasco rounding out the top six with 1,464.Carrasco, who is running with the support of the Neighbor to Neighbor organization, said she was pleased with the tally in her first attempt at the School Committee, and praised minority voters for coming out to support her.”We are very happy to see this in my first time running,” she said. “We are going to keep working hard, and go out with more energy to try and get more minority voters to come out.”Incumbent Jeffery Newhall received the lowest amount of votes, 1,382, among returning committee members, followed by first-time challenger Charlie Gallo, 1,252, and candidates John Krol, 1,145, and George Meimeteas, 677.Despite the low number of votes, Meimeteas and Gallo both said they are confident in moving forward with heir campaigns.”I think we are looking very competitive, it is still any person’s race and I am quite happy that as a first time candidate with almost no endorsements we were able to come within a few hundred votes of sixth place,” said Gallo.”We are OK. It wasn’t a great turnout and it is just a primary, so I wanted to see where the votes put us after tonight,” said Meimeteas. “I have signs that I haven’t even put out yet, so we are going to keep working hard.”Spirito, who served as a principal at several elementary schools in the city for 31 years, credited hard work and experience for topping the ballot. He retired as principal of the Lynn Woods Elementary School in June, and stated that he wanted to remain active in the education of the city’s youth by joining the School Committee.Since that time his campaign signs have been highly visible across the city, and he has made a conscious effort to get his message of improving school safety, increasing achievement and establishing pre-school programs out to the masses.”I am very surprised (with the number of votes) but it shows that people want someone with experience,” he said. “I have worked with children my entire life, and I have always put the child first. Now we are going to go back and work even harder, we aren’t going to let up.”

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