Published in the November 12, 2019 edition.

Ann McGonigle Santos

WAKEFIELD — Town Councilor Ann McGonigle Santos plans to announce that she is running for the Democratic nomination to fill the 32nd Middlesex State Representative seat soon to be vacated by Democrat Paul Brodeur.

Last week, Melrose resident Brodeur defeated at-large City Councilor Monica Medeiros to become the next Mayor of Melrose. Brodeur is expected to officially resign as State Representative next Monday morning. He was elected to his fifth term as State Representative last November and will leave the post with one year remaining on his term.

The 32nd Middlesex District encompasses all of Melrose, precincts 4, 5 and 6 in Wakefield and Precinct 2 of Ward 5 in Malden.

Santos, a Converse Street resident, was first elected to the Board of Selectmen in 2013, topping the ticket in that race. She was re-elected in 2016 and 2019. She was a vocal supporter of changing the name of the Board of Selectmen to the more gender-neutral Town Council.

Prior to serving on the Town Council, Santos was an elected member of the Board of Health.

An attorney, Santos is currently Associate Dean of Students and Law School Disability Compliance Officer at Suffolk University Law School. Prior to that, she was an Associate Professor of Legal Writing at Suffolk Law School.

Santos graduated from Wakefield Memorial High School in 1984. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University in 1988 and subsequently earned her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.

Last Tuesday, Paul Brodeur was elected chief municipal officer in Melrose. He said during the campaign that if he won the position, he would resign as state representative.

His election is expected to set off a scramble for the soon-to-be vacant 32nd House seat, which will require a quick primary election and then a general special election sometime in March, officials have said. Then the seat goes through the regular election cycle, with a primary in September and the general election in November 2020.

Brodeur bested Monica Medeiros in each of the city’s 14 precincts a week ago. He was a vocal supporter of last April’s successful $5.18 million override of Proposition 2 1/2, which raises property taxes for everyone. Medeiros was just as vocal in her opposition to it.

Brodeur got 6,074 of the 10,167 votes cast. About 50 percent of the city’s 20,127 registered voters slogged through periods of rain to participate in Tuesday’s election, which also saw a mostly brand new City Council elected, along three School Committee incumbents who were unopposed.

“I want to thank the people of Melrose for their support and thank Monica for running a positive campaign,” Brodeur said. “This election is about all of us, our shared values and the future of the city we love. I am committed to hitting the ground running and working to create a stronger, brighter tomorrow for Melrose. I could not have done this without the support of my family and dedicated volunteers. Representing the people of Melrose is a great honor, and I am proud to be able to serve as your mayor.”

Tuesday’s vote must be certified within 10 days of the election, or by Friday, Nov. 15. Brodeur then becomes the city’s chief municipal officer. He will succeed Gail Infurna, who was the president of the then-Board of Aldermen and by city charter provisions, became the mayor in February 2018 when Rob Dolan left to take the top municipal job in Lynnfield. Infurna said back then that she would not be a candidate on this week’s ballot.

Both Brodeur, a Democrat, and Republican Medeiros have deep ties to Melrose, where they have lived all their lives. Before being elected to the state House of Representatives, Brodeur was an at-large alderman for years. Medeiros served as a School Committee member (elected city-wide), a ward alderman and an alderman-at-large. Last month, the name of the Board of Aldermen was officially changed to City Council.

Medeiros said, “I congratulate Paul Brodeur on his victory in this race to be the next Mayor of Melrose.

“While I am disappointed in the results, I am proud of the positive campaign we ran based on local issues and ideas. We did our best to reach every voter. Our grassroots campaign team knocked on every door in Melrose, and then started again. We made thousands of calls, put up hundreds of lawn signs, held signs, wrote letters and hosted neighborhood meet and greets. I want to thank these volunteers who worked tirelessly to get me elected. Their generosity and enthusiasm was unmatched.

“I want to offer my sincere thanks to each and every person who had enough faith and trust in me to cast their vote for me in this election. Serving Melrose in our local government for these many years has been a true honor, and I wish nothing but the best for our future,” she added.

An election of this significance hasn’t happened in Melrose in nearly a generation.

Last April, after a months-long campaign, voters passed a more than $5 million override of Proposition 2 1/2, a decision that created something of a division in the city. A lot of the override money will be spent on School Department needs.

Both candidates acknowledged during the mayoral campaign, which included a preliminary election in September, that the override’s impact was going to be felt by some residents more than others. Brodeur said older folks in the city “feel they’re not welcome here anymore,” while Medeiros spoke of the need to address the “income inequality” among Melrose residents.

Medeiros said on many occasions during the campaign that if elected mayor she would shake up the office in order to better communicate with the public about future decisions and how they’re made. As an alderman, City Councilor and School Committee member, she consistently talked about the need for much more transparency in city government.

Brodeur said he has proven in his long public service career that he can build consensus among diverse points of view. He has said this year that that talent is needed now more than ever before.