The New Bedford City Council meets on January 11 to elect a member to serve as president for 2021. That person is expected to be Ward Six Councilor Joe Lopes, the current city council president.

Several council members tell me Lopes has the vote in the bag. They say he is likely to be unchallenged in his quest to serve back-to-back terms in the president's chair. Lopes has served three terms as president, having been elected in 2015, 2017, and again last year.

Councilor Lopes has served Ward Six and as council president with distinction. He does his job with little fanfare and seeks to avoid public confrontation to the degree possible. In other words, he shows up and gets it done without the need to draw attention to his accomplishments. That's rare for a public official.

Lopes' name surfaces from time to time as a possible candidate for Mayor of New Bedford. I believe he came close to pulling the trigger on a run for the corner office at least once before. Lopes is a young man and has plenty of time to consider his future options. I suspect when and if he feels the timing is right, he will make a move for that or some other position where he can serve the public.

Lopes has established a solid working relationship with the administration of Mayor Jon Mitchell. If New Bedford is to make it all the way back from the COVID-19 crisis, it will take strong leadership from the corner office, as well as the council chambers to get it done.

Joe Lopes has displayed the type of steady leadership to help guide New Bedford forward. Lopes' re-election seems like a pretty sound move.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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