By Cary Shuman
The election season has begun.
Lifelong Winthrop resident Barbara A. Survilas has taken out nomination papers for the office of president of the Winthrop Town Council in the Town Election to be held on Tuesday, November 3.
Survilas hopes to succeed Thomas Reilly as president of the nine-member council that includes six precinct councilors, two at-large councilors and the council president. Reilly, who has served as president since the town switched to the current form of government four years ago, announced last month that he won’t run for re-election.
Survilas said friends and neighbors encouraged her to run for the office. “Once Mr. Reilly said that he would not run for re-election, I had a lot of people calling me and writing to me and stopping by my house and seeing me in the street, urging me to run,” said Survillas. “I told people I would consider it and make a decision. I went to the town clerk’s office [on August 3] and pulled my nomination papers.”
Survilas, 64, has been going door-to-door in town, meeting voters and seeking signatures for her nomination papers.
“The response has been wonderful,” said Survilas. “A candidate needs 150 certified signatures to be on the ballot. We’ve already obtained close to double that number of signatures.”
Survilas has named her daughter, Stephanie Locke, as campaign manager. Jean Barry will be her campaign treasurer.
Survillas said she will be running as “a uniter” of the town. “I want to bring people together and end the divisiveness I’ve seen in the town,” said Survilas. “As I’ve been going to door-to-door, I’m hearing about how the town is divided and I’m really concerned about it. And that’s the reason that I’m running for office. What I want to say is, say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it meanly.”
If elected as council president, she will ask precinct councilors to hold regularly scheduled meetings with voters within each precinct.
Survilas has been recognized for her community service in the past. She has been the recipient of major awards for community service, civic involvement, and leadership from the Eastern Region of the United States Valley Forge Foundation.
Survilas, who was president of her graduating class (1962) at Winthrop High, intends to make a public announcement about the standards she will uphold in her campaign.
“I feel the standards should be high and that you should not attack people who are in an adversarial position with you,” said Survilas. “You should always remember that your constituents are friends and neighbors before, during, and after the campaign. On November 3, when all the votes have been tallied and someone prevails in the election, you don’t have to think of candidates as losers – rather, they’re just brave individuals who put their names and their energies and their resources on the line to make the town a better place.”
Survilas said a resident approached her this week and asked about the election while she was with her 6-year-old grandson, Andrew Survilas.
“My grandson wanted to know who else was running [for council president],” said Survillas. “I responded, ‘Nana wants to tell you a story about great runners. Great runners don’t look to their left or their right or over their shoulder to see who’s running after them. They keep their eye on the finish line and their eye on the goal, and that’s what Nana is going to do.’”
Survilas has run once before for council president in 2005, finishing second in the race behind Reilly. She also ran unsuccessfully for town clerk.
She and her husband, Edward A. Survilas, have five children and eight grandchildren.