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Early-bird special on menu in Ward 7

LYNN – The next City Council election may be more than a year away, but the Ward 7 race is already on with a familiar face and political newcomer – both lifelong Lynners – bidding to replace Rick Ford, who is running for councilor at large.John Ford, 69, who has served on the Lynn School Committee since 2002, is vying to fill the seat held by his cousin and at one point by his late father, John E. Ford Sr., who represented the West Lynn ward from 1956-72.He will be opposed by funeral director Brian Field, 38, who has never run for public office.?It?s something I always had in mind,” John Ford said. “I never thought they?d be an opportunity to run for Ward 7, but when Rick told me he was running for at large, it didn?t take me long to decide I wanted to do it.”John Ford said it was a very difficult decision to leave the School Committee because “I love the job and I think the administration is doing a great job.”John Ford worked at GE for 34 years in a variety of areas, including budget, inventory, customer service and overseas sales. He has spent the last five years as an aide in the office of state Rep. Steven Walsh, who resigned earlier this year to take a position as executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals.Walsh?s seat will be filled by councilor at large Brendan Crighton, who will leave city government at the end of this term, creating an opening that has already drawn three candidates: Rick Ford, School Committee member Rick Starbard and political organizer Brian LaPierre.John Ford feels working in constituent services at the State House has prepared him to serve as a ward councilor. “I?m well aware of what a councilor does and what people want,” he said.Field, who has worked for Solimine Funeral Homes since 1996, has similar experience, albeit in the private sector, taking calls day and night from families dealing with the loss of a loved one.?That?s the profession I chose,” said Field. “If I have to leave my kids opening presents on Christmas morning, I know there is a family that needs me.”Field grew up in Ward 1 and lived there until he and his wife, Stefani, built a house on Lois Lane in 2007. He said he has always wanted to run for elected office, but he was not inclined to take on an incumbent.?I never really wanted to be a challenger,” said Field, who worked on campaigns as a youth and recalled former councilor Robert Fennessey donating money to neighborhood block parties. “To me, that says you think the incumbent is not doing a good enough job. That?s not how I want to be perceived. I?m a positive person.”Field was the first candidate to announce and was the only one for about a week, until John Ford declared his intentions. Field said he would not be surprised if others join the fray. As for taking on John Ford, who has the deepest of roots in West Lynn and has traditionally garnered significant support in Ward 7 in School Committee elections, Field knows he has his hands full, but seems up for the challenge.?I know I have to get out there and let people know who I am,” he said. “I?ve already started knocking on doors. I?m taking this very seriously, and I will be working very hard.”It may be a contested race, but don?t expect it to get overly contentious. “I will tell people what I think I can do,” John Ford said. “It doesn?t have to be about negative politics. That doesn?t do anyone any good.”John Ford and his wife, Sheila, have four adult daughters and five grandchildren. His sister, Joanne Eagan, is the longtime principal of Sacred Heart School.Field and his wife, the daughter of retired Lynn firefighter Richard Messinger, have two daughters and a son.

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