By Jim Coughlin
Richard Cipro who began his challenge to District 1 Worcester City Councillor Sean Rose as an underdog several months ago when he began his campaign, last night in the city’s preliminary election topped incumbent city Councillor Sean Rose by 157 votes, coming in first place in 8 out of the districts 10 precincts and capturing 1,384 votes to Rose’s 1,227 votes and a third candidate, David Shea was a distant third with 95 votes.
This reporter spent his time on primary night just shortly after 8 p.m. when the polls closed until about 11 o’clock with Cipro and his supporters who were gathered at Glendale’s Restaurant on West Boylston Street where his campaign manager kept a close watch on the election results on a computer screen as the were released from the city’s Election Commission at City Hall.
When I arrived at Glendale’s, Cipro was huddled with his campaign supporters and was seen greeting his more than 50 supporters as they arrived to the restaurant.
Shortly after 8:15 when I had arrived, Cipro said, ” We beat (Sean) Rose in eight of ten precincts and I am waiting for more official results before I actually declare victory.”
Then at about 9, Cipro who was introduced to the gathering by one of his supporters told the crowd, ” Everyone contributed to where we are today,” in referencing his win over the two term district Councillor.
In announcing his win over Rose, he called it “awesome” and “huge.”
“We ran to make change,” he said.
With a beaming smile he said, “We beat out the machine.” His words cannot be underestimate because Rose is married to the daughter of former Massachusetts State Senator Thomas P. “Tommy” White and many of the insiders on the political scene here were openly backing Rose, including Massachusetts 2nd District U.S Congressman James P. McGovern.
Earlier in the day, McGovern was observed campaigning alongside Rose outside a polling precinct in the district.
In an interview with Cipro, he said he had no endorsements during this campaign.
” I only had the endorsement of the people,” he said.
When asked to comment about his victory, he said “I’m very excited about my win, tonight. Our message is resonating. It is time to bring true leadership back to the city council.”
He said in his serving as a long-time member of the Worcester Police Department for 27 years, and currently as a Sergeant, “I am not just a police officer. I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a police officer. I am not a ‘one trick pony.’ I have proven leadership, ability, education and experience to be a District One City Councillor.”
In his campaign literature, he pledged to support the lowest residential tax rate for homeowners, tackle the Opioid, homelessness and mental health issues in District One, safeguard our vibrant lakes, parks, trees and open spaces and support law and order by firmly rejecting the misguided ideals of the ‘Defund’ (the police) movement.
Among those in the audience at Glendale’s to celebrate Cipro’s victory was George Stratman who was also a successful candidate in the District 5 contest where he finished in second place in that contest in which he edged out fellow candidates Yelli Desroches and Michael Quist, in which he garnered 569 votes to top vote getter Etel Haxhiaj who received 1,215 votes.
Stratman, when asked to comment on Cipro’s win over the incumbent Councillor Rose, he said he was very happy Cipro won, calling him “a dynamo who gets things done.”
Echoing Stratman’s support for Cipro in his win over Rose was his wife, Elaine who works as “a ventilation nurse.” She said, “I am so happy about the direction that Worcester is taking” with both Cipro’s and her husband’s second place finish in the District 5 council race.
In echoing Cipro’s position regarding the movement to “defund the police ” Elaine said, ” We need to support and defend the police, and not to defund the police.”
Stratman is also a colleague of Cipro’s in the law enforcement community having served for 27 years as a Massachusetts State Trooper. Back in 2015, Stratman on the day of the Boston Marathon Bombings in Boston’s Copley Square, (April 15, 2015) was on assignment in the Charleston section of Boston after the bombings took place earlier in the day.
” After the bombings took place, and one of the suspects had carjacked someone on Memorial Drive (in Cambridge, MA) and were headed towards Watertown, I was part of the support team for that effort. The actual apprehension of the (bombing) suspect was done by the Special Operations Team, that day.”
“It was an eighteen hour day for us, Stratman said.
Cipro, in savoring his victory on primary night warned his supporters not to become complacent over his first place finish over Councillor Rose.
In addressing his supporters at Glendale’s Restaurant, he said, “We can’t rest on tonight.”
Both Cipro and Rose will face each other in the final municipal election on November 2nd.
In the meantime, Cipro said there are three one on one debates planned between him and Rose before the final election. They are before the Worcester Research Bureau, the Worcester Area Chamber of Commerce and the YMCA.