Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

December 5, 2013

Vispoli gearing for 2nd Senate run

Finegold weighing political future, statewide bid

By Dustin Luca

---- — As state Sen. Barry Finegold weighs his political future, one town official in his hometown of Andover is ready to wage a campaign for his seat next year.

Board of Selectmen Chairman and Republican candidate Alex Vispoli on Tuesday announced his plans to mount his second campaign for the Second Essex and Middlesex District seat that has been held by the Democratic Finegold since 2011. The district includes Andover, Dracut, Lawrence and Tewksbury.

Vispoli, a 56-year-old married father of four, is a three-term selectman in Andover, first winning election to the board in 2004. He has spent 25 years in the information technology business, currently serving as director of business development for an Andover-based technology company.

His announcement comes on the heels of last week’s news that the vice chairman of the Lawrence School Committee, Democrat Pavel Payano, is also eyeing a run for the Senate seat next year.

Payano told The Eagle-Tribune last week that he would consider running for Finegold’s seat if the incumbent decides to campaign for state treasurer. Finegold is widely considered to be a possible candidate for the state post.

But Finegold this week declined to even hint at his plans. He said he hasn’t decided whether to seek re-election to the state Senate next year or whether he is interested in the treasurer’s job.

“(I have) not made any official announcements. I’m still considering it, but there isn’t any definite decisions,” Finegold said.

He did not rule out a run for state treasurer or a bid for a third term in the state Senate. He also didn’t give a timetable for when he would announce his plans.

“I’m giving it a hard look,” Finegold said. “It’s a decision I have to make and something I have to consider.”

Vispoli said he had read last week’s news story referencing Finegold’s political options for 2014, but that didn’t factor into his decision to launch his campaign.

In 2012, Vispoli waged an unsuccessful bid for the Senate seat, narrowly losing the Republican nomination to state Rep. Paul Adams by 91 votes in the primary election. Adams would eventually lose to Finegold in that year’s general election.

“It was a close race, and we certainly look forward to starting earlier than we did last time, and moving quicker,” Vispoli said. “The issues are more dramatic than they were a year and a half ago.”

In his announcement, Vispoli listed his top issues in the race as providing more job opportunities for the people in the district, fiscal accountability, local aid fairness, improving education and restoring integrity to the State House.

Vispoli pointed to recent activity on Beacon Hill, including the passage and then abrupt appeal of a technology tax and the built-in, no-debate structure of the gas tax in Massachusetts, which he said can increase year to year without a legislative vote, as one of the driving forces behind his campaign decision.

But even more so, Vispoli said his location in the state — just a heartbeat from the New Hampshire state line — gives him a better perspective on the impact various issues of concern stand to have on people.

“You can’t stand by and watch the same type of attitude that really hurts our district,” Vispoli said. “Decisions like that hurt our district, specifically being a border region.”

Nomination papers to run for state office must be available by Feb. 11, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website. State primaries will be held Sept. 9, with the general election set for Nov. 4, 2014.