SALEM | It has been a quiet race for councilor of Ward 6. Even though a preliminary election looms on Tuesday, there have been no debates, no money expended, little campaigning and absolutely no mud-slinging.

Quite the contrary.

Challenger Steve Harris voted for incumbent Paul Prevey two years ago and gives him a passing grade for his first term.

"I think Paul has done a reasonably good job," said Harris, a native son who lives in the house he grew up in and is making his first run at elective office. "... Yeah, I do have some issues with some things he has done, but I'm not going to make that the focal point of the campaign."

The other candidate in the amicable three-way race, Richard Hudson, who ran and lost two years ago, went one better.

"I think Paul Prevey has done a wonderful job," he said. "I'm sure if they elect him again, he would continue to do a fabulous job. It's just that I have a few things I would like to do differently, and that's why I'm running."

For example?

"Well, I wouldn't put a one-way sign on Flint Street without considering the people on Oak Street -- that's one thing," Hudson said.

The one-way experiment on Flint Street was a low point of Prevey's first term. Residents of Oak Street, which got the brunt of the detoured traffic, rose in protest, and the city aborted the experiment.

"It was a kind of bruising experience for me," Prevey said. "I felt somewhat left out there on my own and took a lot of criticism for it, but it ends up being a learning experience." What he learned, he said, is to continue to search for a solution to Flint Street's traffic woes, but to find one that doesn't negatively impact another street.

Prevey got caught in the middle of another political controversy when he became the swing vote on Mayor Kim Driscoll's proposal to put a community life center in the St. Joseph Church redevelopment, a project Prevey eventually opposed.

Harris said he would have voted differently. "I feel it was a win-win for the city," he said. "And that was a good spot for it."

One of the big issues facing the next Ward 6 councilor is the redevelopment of the North River Canal Corridor, a recently rezoned district that extends from the North Street overpass to Boston Street. On the table right now is a developer's proposal to raze the Salem Suede leather factory and build 148 apartments.

Prevey and Harris agree that it is too big and has to come down in size. Hudson thinks it's a bad idea and that small businesses should go there instead.

Stephen Harris

Age: 52

Address: 148 North St.

Occupation: Bricklayer, Local 3 of the Eastern Massachusetts Bricklayers

Education: Salem High, Class of 1972

Political experience: Former member of Board of Appeals

Family: Married, one son

Quote: "I just feel I want to help the people in my ward."

Richard Hudson

Age: 50

Address: 33 Franklin St.

Occupation: Owner of private livery service

Education: Attended Peabody High and North Shore Community College

Political experience: None

Family: Married, two stepdaughters

Quote: "I'd like to see some changes take place in the ward."

Paul Prevey

Age: 40

Address: 26 Tremont St.

Occupation: Probation officer, U.S. District Court

Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from St. Hyacinth College

Political experience: Ward 6 councilor, 2006-present

Family: Married

Quote: "I know people try to cast you in one group or another, but I just want to focus on what I think is the best solution for the people of Ward 6 and Salem."

Trending Video

Recommended for you