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Five candidates vying for mayor's seat

Date: 4/28/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM -- There are five potential candidates but only one will sit in the mayor's oversized brown leather chair next January.

Mayor Susan Dawson, former Mayor Richard Cohen, City Council Vice President Cecilia Calabrese, City Councilor Paul Cavallo and Peter Boadry of 188 Line St. have taken out mayoral papers for the November election.

"I think Agawam deserves better [than the current administration]," Cohen said at his official announcement at the Senior Center last Friday. "I think I have a good shot [at winning]."

Cohen noted he'd received over 25 signatures toward the 100 needed within the first 30 minutes of taking out papers from the City Clerk's Office.

"I did make some mistakes [during my eight years as mayor] but I do believe my accomplishments speak for themselves," he said of why residents should vote for him. "We need to have someone in [the mayor's office] with experience at these [difficult] fiscal times."

Cohen noted that his accomplishments while mayor included building the new senior center, library and School Street Park while maintaining fiscal responsibility and avoiding layoffs.

He said he has been keeping busy with "private business consulting" since losing office in the previous election.

Dawson said she had no comment about Cohen's announcement to run for mayor or her possible bid for reelection.

Calabrese explained that she's been working on campaign strategies and assembling her campaign committee since announcing her bid for mayor last fall.

"This is not something that I feel that I have to do," she said. "It is not something that I want to do to keep from being bored at home ... There is not a single candidate that can come close to my credentials."

Calabrese added that her abundant personal and professional experience as a 19-year attorney uniquely qualifies her to be mayor.

She said she plans to introduce several new projects including increasing the accessibility of Tuckahoe Turf Farm property to residents; reevaluating handicapped accessibility of Town Hall; and establishing a year-round farmers market.

"My vision for Agawam is to maintain what we do well, improve where improvements are required, and take new paths previously obscured," Calabrese said.

Boadry, a 46-year resident of Agawam, said he is running for mayor "for the people, not for the office."

He noted that he will lobby for lower salaries for those in town government who receive "ridiculous pay" and will also fight for lower taxes.

"I'm not a politician," Boadry said. He added that he is currently unemployed but worked as a Meals on Wheels driver until 2007.

Cavallo could not be reached for comment by press time.