Fall River Votes for Change as Coogan Wins in Landslide
FALL RIVER —A city beset by political drama and controversy is set to turn the corner with a new mayor.
Paul Coogan was overwhelmingly elected as the newest mayor of Fall River, receiving 10,653 votes for 79.43 percent of the ballots cast.
"When people mention they are from Fall River, people laugh," said School Committee member Mark Costa as he introduced Coogan as the mayor-elect. "Well, that ends tonight."
City Administrator Cathy Ann Viveiros, who jumped into the mayoral race as a write-in candidate just a few weeks before the final election, received 1,756 votes for 13.09 percent. Correia placed third with 1,002 votes for 7.47 percent, despite having withdrawn himself from the race last month in order to focus on the federal indictments he is facing.
As Fall River's newest mayor entered the Our Lady of Light Band Banquet Hall, chants of "Coogan! Coogan!" filled the room.
“I would like my time in office to focus on two words: integrity and together," Coogan said. "Integrity because I believe the strong moral core is fundamental in securing your trust and confidence. Together, because to succeed we have to work as a team.”
Coogan also said he plans to "put an end to revenge politics, dirty politics and political infighting."
"We deserve something different. We deserve something better," he said. "My job, starting tonight, will be to try and unite us all."
In the race for the nine city council seats, council president and current acting mayor Cliff Ponte led the balloting with 7,898 votes for 10.4 percent. Also re-elected was Shawn Cadime (5,833 for 7.68 percent), Brad Kilby (5,072 for 6.68 percent), Pam Laliberte-Lebeau (5,016 for 6.6 percent), and Leo Pelletier (4,893 for 6.44 percent).
Joining them will be Trott Lee (6,403 votes for 8.43 percent), Linda Pereira (5,996 for 7.89 percent), Christopher Peckham (4,774 for 6.28 percent) and Michelle Dionne (4,607 for 6.06 percent).
Ousted were incumbent councilors Joe Camara (4,102 votes for 5.4 percent) and Steven Camara (3,938 for 5.18 percent).
In the race for the Fall River School Committee, Kevin Aguiar (7,218 votes for 14.96 percent), Thomas Khoury (6,616 for 13.72 percent), Mark Costa (6,311 for 13.08 percent) and Joshua Hetzler (6,230 for 12.92 percent). They'll be joined by Michelle Larrivee (5,898 for 12.23 percent) and Paul Hart, Sr. (5,469 for 11.34 percent).