Political season heating up in West Springfield as challengers step up

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Mayor Will Reichelt may not be facing any challengers in November, prompting him to thank voters on Twitter, but several other municipal races are expected to be closely watched as West Side’s political season heats up this summer.

Several candidates made Tuesday’s deadline to file nomination papers to get on the November election ballot, instantly sparking municipal races for Town Council and School Committee. 

Six candidates are running for five at-large seats on the Town Council, including incumbents Brian Clune, Bruce Gendron, Brian Griffin and George Kelly and challengers Bob Mancini and Sean Powers. 

Other Town Council races include two candidates for the District 1 seat and two for the District 2 seat. District 1 incumbent Jill Fortier is facing a challenge from Michael Eger, while District 2 incumbent Nathan Bech will square off against Lida Powell.

For School Committee, eight people are competing for six seats on the seven-member panel led by Mayor Reichelt. Joining incumbents Kathy Alveras, Nancy Farrell and Pat Garbacik in the race are Bill Garvey, Anne Kelly, Colleen Marcus, Carlee Santaniello and Sue Wilson.

Meanwhile, District 3 Councilor George Condon and District 4 Councilor Dan O’Brien are both running unopposed. 

Reichelt was the only person to submit nomination papers to run for mayor by Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline to get on the ballot for the upcoming municipal elections.

With no apparent challengers, the 30-year-old attorney is expected to begin his second term as mayor in January. However, it will be Reichelt’s first four-year term as mayor, following a townwide vote in November 2016 to extend the term of mayor from two to four years.

In Decmeber, the Town Council approved a $15,000 pay raise for the position of mayor, bringing the job’s annual gross salary to $125,000.