By Richard Gaines
---- — Ward 5 Councilor Greg Verga Tuesday announced the start of a campaign for one of the council’s four at-large seats.
In a statement to the Times, Verga said he was making “an early announcement to allow potential candidates time to consider a Ward 5 run.”
But Verga’s declaration also kicked off the 2013 municipal election season, which will features the election of mayor and six elected school committee members (not including the mayor) as well as for the nine City Council seats.
Mayor Carolyn Kirk, now in her third term, was fund-raising in 2012 and said in a telephone interview Tuesday that she intends to announce her plans within a week or so. At least one at-large councilor, former Mayor Bruce Tobey, has made clear for some time that he would not be running again.
Verga, 44, a real estate agent, was elected to the council’s Ward 5 seat in 2009 following eight years on the School Committee and the last two as chairman.
Verga has been mentioned as harboring aspirations to be mayor. He said his decision to run citywide this time, however, was not part of a plan of progression, but instead aimed at giving him greater opportunity to work on citywide issues.
“I have been very active on many of the ‘big picture’ issues over the past three years, primarily through my membership on the council’s Planning and Development committee — infrastructure improvements and a potential hotel at the Fort and permitting of the wind turbines at Gloucester Engineering being just a couple of examples,” Verga said. “Additionally, I now represent the City Council on the Newell Stadium Building Committee, the Fisheries Commission and the Harbor Planning Committee.”
While noting that he has always been very responsive to constituent concerns as well as keeping residents informed with his “Ward Five Update” e-mail newsletter, Verga said it would benefit the ward to have new blood and some new ward-specific ideas.
“I hope that I can count on the support of Ward 5 – as well as the rest of the city – in this next election,” Verga said in his statement. “I will continue to speak out for equity for all water ratepayers regarding infrastructure updates; relief for those with failing septic systems that have no sewer option – even though their tax dollars subsidized projects throughout the City; and for seeking community input on major decisions such as the future use of the Fuller School site.”
A lifelong resident of Gloucester, Verga has been a homeowner since 1993 and works as a real estate broker associated with RE/MAX Advantage in Gloucester.
Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3464, or at email@example.com.