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Valley Voice

Patrick Lawlor

Patrick Lawlor, ’12,  Associate Editor in Chief

Senator Steven Baddour Resigns from Senate, Sparks Valley Race

BOSTON— Sen. Steven Baddour, D-Methuen, one of Merrimack Valley’s state legislators, announced his resignation from the Massachusetts Senate recently. Baddour, who has been a legislator in the General Court for a decade, will take a government affairs position at McDermot, Will & Emery, a prestigious Boston law firm.

Baddour’s First Essex District includes Amesbury, Haverhill, Merrimac, Methuen, Newburyport, Salisbury, and part of North Andover.

There will be no special election for the post, according to Senate President Therese Murray; it will be filled in the regular state election this fall.

The resignation of Baddour has already inspired many Valley politicians to consider running for the post. So far Methuen City Councilor Sean Fountain, Amesbury City Councilor Jim Kelcourse and Haverhill School Committee Member Shaun Toohey have taken out nomination papers, as have Methuen resident Sharon Birchall and Haverhill resident Sam Meas.

Many others are still considering the run for Baddour’s seat, including Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday, Haverhill Mayor Jim Fiorentini, and former Methuen Mayor William Manzi. Former state Secretary of Public Safety Jim Jajuga of Methuen is also considering running. Jajuga, a retired state trooper, formerly held Baddour’s seat before moving to the executive office. He recently announced his resignation as CEO of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce.

Baddour was the chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation, a powerful committee of the General Court. In 2010, he joined ranks of Senate leadership when Murray appointed him vice chairman of Ways and Means, the budget writing committee.

State senators serve a constituency of 140,000 residents, and base pay is around $66,000. They are also compensated for travel and receive higher pay if they chair committees. The election for Baddour’s seat will be held in November.


Former Lawrence Superintendent of Schools in Jail

LAWRENCE — Former Superintendent of Schools Wilfredo Laboy is currently serving a 90-day sentence in the Essex County Alternative Correction Center, informally known as “the farm.” Laboy was indicted in 2009, and he placed himself on medical leave. Shortly after the investigation began, the Lawrence School Committee decided to fire him.

Laboy was found guilty of using city employees for his own advancement and interest. He used graphic designers to create pamphlets for an organization he was president of — the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents — as well as printing and designing for his son’s Sal’s Pizza franchise. He also used city employees to drive his son around; his son was unable to drive because of a DUI conviction. Investigators also confiscated 16 bottles of alcohol from his office. Drinking on school property, by anyone, his against the law in Lawrence.

While in jail, Laboy is teaching GED classes to inmates. He resided in Methuen, and earned more than $200,000 a year as schools chief in Lawrence. Under his tenure, the brand new $110 million high school was built, as well as other secondary level schools were constructed.

Currently, the Lawrence School System is nearly fully funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The state Department of Secondary Education recently appointed a receiver to run the system.



Grand Jury Investigation on Lawrence Mayor Continues with Testimony

LAWRENCE — Mayor William Lantigua is facing both a state and county investigation for alleged election law violations and violations under campaign and political finance laws. Last week the deputy police chief, personnel director, and licensing chairman all testified at Salem Superior Court. Last month Lantigua’s former chief of staff also testified at the same grand jury.

Attorney General Martha Coakley and Essex County District Attorney Johnathan Blodgett are leading the multi-jurisdictional investigations of  Lantigua and his administration.

Lantigua, elected mayor in 2010 is the city’s first Latino mayor. He was serving as a state representative when he was elected mayor.

Information from the Eagle Tribune was used in these reports.

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