Supporters cheer Thomas Bernard, the city's new mayor.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city has a new mayor in Thomas Bernard, who posted a landslide 2-to-1 victory on Tuesday night.
Bernard bested his opponent, City Councilor Robert Moulton Jr., to become the city's 32nd chief executive in a vote of 2,404 to 1,023.
"I started this race in my parents' living room because my roots in North Adams and my love for our city means more than I can tell you. I am excited by the great things happening in North Admass and a realizer that deep needs and problems that we need to address," Bernard told his supporter celebrating at the Richmond Grill.
"I am humbled and grateful to celebrate with so many friends so let's have a toast to North Adams and let's wake up tomorrow ready to roll up our sleeves, work together, reach across the aisle and we need to recommit ourselves to the hard work on behalf of this city we love."
Voting was steady but light overall in all five wards at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center.
Voters opted for a new face for mayor but stuck with a mostly familiar City Council, voting to keep all five incumbents — Benjamin Lamb, Keith Bona, Eric Buddington, Joshua Moran and Wayne Wilkinson — for another two years.
Newcomers are Marie T. Harpin, considered a favorite because of her mother's long tenure on the council, Paul Hopkins, Jason LaForest and Rebbecca Cohen.
In addressing his supporters at the Richmond Grill, Bernard said he'd called Moulton and thanked him for his service.
"I thanked him for his service to North Adams and for running a campaign that reminded us that there are needs in this city and we need to build bridges of understanding and of shared responsibility with people who feel left behind by the positive developments happening in North Adams," the mayor-elect said. "It was a race well run that we can all be proud of. A race based on vision, planning, optimism and pragmatism and tonight is the night for thanks."
Bernard said he was eager to work with the new City Council when they are sworn in on Jan. 1.
"It was so exciting to see people stepping forward to serve our city I look forward to working with the new council to move the city forward," he said.
Moulton, a five-term city councilor, who was spending the evening with family and supporters at Mingo's, thought he'd brought out some important issues that seem to keep getting kicked down the road. There would have been a big difference in the city almost immediately if he'd won, he said.
"I wouldn't do anything different," he said. "I think there's a lot of apathy. I think a lot of the issues I brought up are very valid and I think the city has to address them. ...
"I brought up very important issues, I thought I had answers to those issues. I don't think Tom did but it didn't catch on."
Moulton lost a mayoral election four years ago but got back on the City Council again two years ago. He'd planned on being mayor for no more than two terms and said he doesn't plan on running again.
"I'm blessed, I've got a really good live," he said, but grinned, "never say never," adding he might start showing up at council meetings and he still has his public access show.
"Tom may do good job and give him the chance to do it," he said.
Voting was lower than the last few elections with only about 3,400 votes cast. Two years ago, almost 4,500 votes were cast for mayor and, in 2013, there 3,628. In that election, Mayor Richard Alcombright had bested Moulton in his first run for mayor by 2,149 to 1,479.
All nine top vote-getters for councilors in the last election had scored more than 2,000 votes; in this election, only two — Benjamin Lamb and Keith Bona — broke 2,000 votes.
"I am where I was last time," said Bona. "Didn't go up and didn't go down, which is good because I am very outspoken during elections and typically that can sometimes affect you."
Wilkinson had lost his re-election bid on the council two years and was returned at the resignation Nancy Bullett this past June.
"I was on pins and needles all day and I guess the word is ecstatic because I have a number of things I want to bring to council," he said.
He'll be joined by his longtime colleague on the Planninb Board, Paul Hopkins, who finished fifth out of the 16 candidates.
"I think this shows a renewed spirit and I think I have never been more optimistic about the future of North Adams ever in my 35 years here," he said.
Joshua Moran, who is now entering his third term, said he was happy with the overall direction of the city.
"I think once again the voters have said we are moving in the right direction," he said. "I think there will be two more good years with a strong mayor and we have another outstanding council."
On School Committee, Heather Boulger was easily returned with 2,362 votes. However, James C. Holmes — who formally requested to withdraw from consideration but could not remove his name from the ballot — came in second with almost 200 votes over the next two candidates, Ian D. Bergeron in third and Raya Kirby in fourth.
There are three School Committee seats open; should Holmes confirm he cannot fulfill his duties, the committee and City Council can jointly elect a replacement.
Paul Gigliotti and George Canales Gary Rivers were elected unopposed to the McCann School Committee.
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