Gerard says she won't run for re-election

Beth Gerard

Editor's note: This article has been updated since its original publication to correct Tyler Terry's address. Terry lives at 22 School St. 

SALEM — City Councilor Beth Gerard said Friday she will not run for re-election. 

Gerard, who represents Ward 6, has served three terms on the council. 

"A few things led to this decision," she said. "Number one, I think my day job has gotten much more busy, so it's making it more and more of a challenge for me to be as flexible with my schedule as I used to be — and I don't think that's fair."

In 2016, Gerard joined the North Shore Medical Center full-time as a health care analyst. As time has gone on, the job has become more demanding, she said.

Secondly, "six years is plenty of time," Gerard continued. "Part of the reason why I got into this is because I wanted to learn more about the city and do great things for the city. In six years, I've gotten a lot done, so it's time to pass on the torch."

Gerard, 44, was first elected in 2013, when she challenged and edged out then Ward 6 councilor Paul Prevey by 16 votes. The narrow margin led to a recount which proved Gerard victorious.

Gerard is not the only incumbent councilor not seeking re-election. At-large Councilor Tom Furey, 70, who is in his 11th term on the council, announced in November that he isn't running again. 

In Ward 6, three people so far have pulled nomination papers: John Hayes, of 21 Fairmount St.; Megan Riccardi, of 23 Orchard St.; and Tyler Terry, of 22 School St.

It's the only race in the city as of Friday morning that had enough candidates to trigger preliminary elections if all nomination papers were returned and certified. To have a preliminary election, the race must have one more candidate than two times the number of open seats; in other words, for a ward seat, there must be three or more candidates, and for City Councilor-at-large, there must be at least nine people fighting for the four spots.

Gerard said Ward 6 candidates will have challenges to face that aren't seen anywhere else in the city.

"We're going to have the old Oil and Grease, the old Legacy Park, come online. Salem Suede will hopefully come online if everything comes through," she said. "We're going to have more alternative transportation models coming out."

As for the next Ward 6 councilor, Gerard said she hopes it's "someone who really has to think outside the box, someone who is going to get things done, answer their phone, answer their emails and will really care about what happens in their ward — because they're an important part of the city," Gerard said. "It's going to take someone who really can see the big picture."

As of Friday, eight people are circulating papers for the at-large contest. George McCabe, a 12-year veteran of the City Council from 1985 to 1996, has joined the seven who pulled papers last week. McCabe was also an aide to former Congressman John Tierney from 1997 to 2011.

Races in Wards 1 and 7 have both their incumbents — Bob McCarthy, and Steve Dibble — and neighborhood challengers — James Willis in Ward 1, and Andrew Varela in Ward 7 — circulating papers. Tim Flynn, the current councilor to Ward 4, returned papers this week and has been certified to run for re-election. He is currently unopposed. Lisa Peterson has also pulled papers for a second term serving Ward 3.

Contact Salem reporter Dustin Luca at 978-338-2523 or DLuca@salemnews.com. Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/dustinluca or on Twitter @DustinLucaSN.

2019 ELECTION

The following candidates have taken out nomination papers:

Councilor-at-large (two-year term, four seats): Jeff Cohen, Domingo Dominguez*, Gary Gill, Ty Hapworth, George McCabe, Alice Merkl, Brendan Murphy, Maribel Steadman.

Ward councilor (two-year term)

Ward 1: Robert McCarthy*, James Willis.

Ward 2: No candidates

Ward 3: Lisa Peterson*

Ward 4: Timothy Flynn* (papers certified)

Ward 5: Josh Turiel*

Ward 6: John Hayes, Megan Riccardi, Tyler Terry.

Ward 7: Steve Dibble*, Andrew Varela.

School Committee (four-year term, three seats): No candidates.

* Denotes incumbent

Source: Salem City Clerk’s office