Receiving widespread support across all six precincts of the town, Jeffrey R. Turco swept to a convincing victory in the race for Town Council President in Tuesdayâ€™s election.
Turco, an attorney who has lived in the town for five years, was the top vote getter in each precinct, recording a total of 2,018 votes to prevail handily in the field of three candidates. Barbara Survilas finished in second place with 1,056 votes. Sue Bolster was third with 896 votes.
After an energetic campaign that seemed to ignite the interest of Winthrop voters, many observers were predicting an election that was too close to call. But Turcoâ€™s high-energy, door-to-door effort and his experience in state and county government positions paid dividends as he gained a clear mandate from the Winthrop voters.
Turco had to beat two formidable challengers to earn the preeminent position of leadership in town government. Survilas campaigned hard and her years of service in the community appeared to give her an edge at the start of the campaign. Bolster had shown townwide strength in past elections and is the reigning representative to the Northeast Regional School Committee.
But Turco was able to articulate his vision for the future of the town and confidently state that he was the best choice to lead the town through these challenging fiscal times.
After appearing on Ron Vecchiaâ€™s election show on WCAT, Turco headed to the AMVETS Hall where supporters were waiting to celebrate his election as town council president.
Turco and his wife, Melissa, entered the hall as supporters and friends responded with warm applause for the newly elected leader. After receiving congratulatory handshakes and hugs from supporters, he took the podium and addressed those in attendance.
â€œI want to take a minute to say thank you to everyone in this room for all your support, your friendship over the last couple of months of this campaign,â€ said Turco. â€œWe worked very hard and many of you took a leap of faith with me in my campaign.
â€œA lot of people in town believed we couldnâ€™t do this â€“ as somebody that was perceived as a newcomer in town, but you took the time out of your schedule and out of your lives to join me and join my family on this venture. I will do all that I can to use my judgment and my thought to move this town forward in a direction we can all be proud of.â€
Turco thanked many supporters in the room, including his neighbor, Town Harbormaster Chuck Famolare.
Worcester County Sheriff Guy Glodis said he was proud of Turco, who is second in command in the Sheriffâ€™s Office. Turco was also chief of staff of Glodisâ€™s office in the state senate for six years.
â€œThe people of Winthrop got a great leader and a great council president with Jeff Turco,â€ said Glodis. â€œHe certainly resonates with voters. Heâ€™s a hard working, middle-class individual that I think most people can relate to. He has boundless energy and boundless focus. I really think heâ€™ll bring all sides together. Heâ€™s a great unifier and I think heâ€™ll do a tremendous job as council president.â€
Glodis said he and Turco have known each other since their college days at the University of Massachusetts.
â€œJeff is one of the most intelligent individuals Iâ€™ve ever met in my entire life,â€ said Glodis. â€œHe wants to serve in government for all the right reasons because he wants to help people.â€
Turco will take office in January, 2010. He will be joined by two new councilors. Joseph Larry Powers was elected to the position of councillor-at-large. Paul F. Varone is the new Precinct 1 councillor. Precinct 3 Councillor Nicholas DelVento and Precinct 5 Councillor Russell Sanford were re-elected to their positions without opposition.
In the School Committee race, three candidates, William Holden III, Brian J. Perrin, and Todd A. Sacco were elected to the committee.
Richard Honan triumphed over a four-candidate field to win election to a two-year term on the Winthrop Housing Authority. Honan received 2,380 votes to defeat Ronald Vitale Jr. (843 votes), Cynthia Dolph-McKenna (314), and James Molloy (198).
Richard Tyrell and Betty Nicolas Peabody were elected to the Board of Library Trustees. Lawrence Holmes and Joseph A. Boncore were elected to the Housing Authority for four-year terms.
Voters say yes to
Winthrop residents voted to approve a measure that authorizes the Licensing Commission of the town of Winthrop to grant licenses for the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants and function rooms having a seating capacity of not less than 25 persons.
The measure lowers the number of seats needed for a restaurant or dining establishment seeking a license from 99 seats to 25 seats.
The vote was 2,255 yes; 1,458 no.
Winthrop voters had passed the question in a November, 2007 referendum, but it requires two â€œyesâ€ votes in separate elections to win passage.