, Salem, MA

Local News

September 16, 2013

Salem man has front-row seat in Boston mayoral race


In the most recent presidential campaign, he was national coordinator of the Polish-American vote for President Barack Obama.

As a board member of another Polish organization, he has been invited to the White House for meetings on immigration reform and other issues important to ethnic communities.

Locally, Barcikowski is best known for opening, with his family, Cafe Polonia, a Polish restaurant in downtown Salem that closed last year.

Two years ago, in his first run for political office, he just missed winning a councilor-at-large seat in Salem after running an impressive campaign — for a newcomer — that relied heavily on social media and a loyal band of supporters. After that race, he moved over to the organizational side of politics, managing Joan Lovely’s successful campaign for state Senate.

Along the way, he became chairman of the Salem Democratic Committee, a position he still holds.

He worked on U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch’s bid for the U.S. Senate and, after a primary defeat, was asked to help Lynch’s primary opponent, Edward Markey. After Markey won the June 25 special election, Barcikowski took off the month of July, returning to Poland and traveling in Europe. Before he left, however, he said he was contacted by staff of four of the candidates for mayor of Boston.

When he returned in early August, Barcikowski was asked to manage the campaign for Walczak, a community activist who has stood out in the field of 12 mayoral candidates due largely to his independent stands on several issues, including opposition to a casino at Suffolk Downs.

Running a campaign for mayor of Boston is a big job.

“It was a huge undertaking, but for some reason I felt very confident from the very beginning,” Barcikowski said.

“I was very impressed with Bill and a lot of the ideas he had. ... I know a lot of people in this business and they go where the money is, or where the opportunity is, or where the jobs are. But for me, I can’t imagine working for a candidate I wasn’t passionate about.”

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