Heading to September 21: Two Women Could Make History. By José Ayala

Heading to September 21: Two Women Could Make History.

By José Ayala

            In Lawrence “when it is not one, it is the other or” if it is not Juan, it is Juana “, as the people say. There is always a reason to comment, regret or celebrate. You choose one of the options. The” issues “menu of what to talk about is broad: the high rent, the fires, the noise, the garbage and recycling, the noise of the illegal fireworks, the petitioners at the traffic lights and under the bridge, increased taxes.

            Other times we entertain ourselves by criticizing or highlighting the vote of this or that councilor on a controversial issue, or the good and the bad of festivals and parades. But we also have the sensitivity, humility, and overflowing love to unite, hug or let a tear of solidarity roll in the face of the pain of a Lawrence family.

            In the midst of crying and joy, hot or cold, pandemic or not, Lawrence is well known for her community activism and politics, whether from here or there. The passion and involvement in the noblest and just causes are drawn on every face, on every corner, in every warehouse, in every taxi driver, in every neighbor. Let no one dare to doubt it: In the democratic process of electing and being elected, we are the most passionate. Don’t try to fix it because it gets damaged. That’s how we are, period.

            Now, with COVID heading to the trunk of memory, and the pressure of September that is three feet away from June, the engines of politics are igniting.

            Gentlemen, we are in the campaign and as my friend Pastor Victor Jarvis would say: “There are souls to save.” Candidates will have to get signatures; look for the updated list of voters. You can already see the signs on the corners and fronts of houses. Candidates began knocking on doors.

            Cell phones, WhatsApp, and Facebook are red hot. They are taking every opportunity to get their message out to the voters through radio, TV, newspaper, social media, and whatever medium comes out, especially if it’s free.

            I anticipate that there will be moments before and after the primaries on September 21 where some will not speak or greet each other for a while, and will even be blocked on FB and WhatsApp supposedly because “we are handsome.” That is bulky. We are a lot of foam and little chocolate.

            Every 2 or 4 years we go through the same hangover from defeat. It is a temporary symptom as the political fever subsides and we finally congratulate the winning candidate. They are the secondary effects of the blessed elections, or the fuzzy elections (as the indifferent would say, those fed up with the same blah-blah-blah).

            Friends of the Rumbo newspaper, this is how we began a series of deliveries on the elections of this year 2021 in the Immigrant City.

Who has returned their mayoral nomination papers and delivered and certified at least 250 signatures of registered voters?

            Vilma Martínez, William Lantigua, and Brian De Peña have done it in order of delivery, according to the Lawrence Elections Division. Being irrelevant in this work, I decided not to include the number of signatures submitted by the candidates. The important thing is that they collected the required signatures and were certified because they passed the necessary checks well.

            Lantigua, Martinez, and De Peña have a guaranteed space on the September 21 ballot. The applicants Kendrys Vásquez and Doris Rodríguez are awaiting the signatures for their certification.

            Vasquez is the current interim mayor after assuming the position by a vote of the councilors to finish the remaining time of then-mayor Dan Rivera.

            Rivera resigned after being nominated and confirmed as President and CEO of MassDevelopment.

            At my request for information on his nomination papers and signatures, Kendrys responded, “Our signature collection efforts are going super positive. Very soon they will be turned over to the elections department to be verified and certified.”


If Doris and Vilma went to the final election on November 2, it would be the first time that two Latina women have faced each other in a Lawrence mayoral election.

Doris Rodríguez, not so well known in politics and with a heavy academic resume and extensive work experience in government and private business, is a lawyer and business administrator.

Doris collected the nomination papers, but until this past Friday she had not delivered the required signatures, which are a maximum of 300 to certify a minimum of 250 “good signatures,” that is, signatures that have been verified as authentic from Lawrence registered voters.

Doris, born in Methuen to Dominican parents, but raised, educated, and a Lawrence resident, has 3 children. Her first experience running for political office was in 2014 when she ran for State Senator after then-Senator Barry Finegold of Andover unsuccessfully ran for Massachusetts Treasurer General after being defeated at the Democratic convention by Deb Goldberg. by Brookline.


Vilma Martínez-Domínguez (known as Vilma Lora before she married) came with her family to Lawrence from the Dominican Republic in the early 1990s, and very soon people identified her leadership on issues related to the defense and development of Lawrence’s wife.

Vilma, along with the also activist Wendy Luzón, became known especially for being the main head of the “March of the Brides”, an event that takes place annually (except last year for COVID-19) to create awareness on domestic violence against women and remembrance of Gladys Ricart, a Dominican immigrant who was murdered by her ex-husband on their wedding day on September 26, 1999, and other victims of domestic violence. This event is sponsored each year by Delamano, Inc., in collaboration with the YWCA of Lawrence, local merchants, and volunteers.

Vilma studied at Northern Essex Community College and graduated Suma Cum Laude from Springfield College in Human Services. Her professional development has been reinforced through special programs and workshops such as the Nonprofit Practice Institute and Tisch College at Tufts University. Without a doubt, her daily practice and education show Vilma as a promoter of women’s rights and a life of community service.

“Vilma is running for mayor because she believes that residents deserve to live in a city where all individuals and families have access to opportunities that help them reach their full potential,” she describes her biography on her campaign page.

Vilma is married to her partner of 17 years. She is the mother of 3 children over the age of 21 and a grandmother of 2.



August 3: last day for applicants to return the nomination papers complete with the required signatures.

September 1: Last day for city residents who are citizens to register to vote in the September 21 primary elections.

September 15: Last day to return an absentee ballot request for the September 21 primary election.

September 21: Primary Elections. Polling places will open from 7 AM to 8 PM. The two mayoral candidates with the most votes will face off in the final election on November 2. Don’t forget to vote.

October 13: Last day to register to vote in the final election on November 2.

October 27: Last day to submit an absentee ballot request for the final election on November 2.

November 2: Final choice. Polling places will be open from 7 AM to 8 PM.

The mayoral candidate with the most votes will be the next mayor of Lawrence.

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