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New York Gov. Hochul announces "parameters of conceptual" budget deal, two weeks after deadline

Orlando Ramos announces bid for mayor of Springfield

State Rep. and former Springfield City Councilor Orlando Ramos announced his campaign for mayor of Springfield on February 16th, 2023.
Paul Tuthill
State Rep. and former Springfield City Councilor Orlando Ramos announced his campaign for mayor of Springfield on February 16th, 2023.

Says he'll tackle affordability and public safety issues

The field of announced candidates for mayor in Springfield, Massachusetts grew larger today with another veteran politician jumping into the race.

Declaring the time has come for change in City Hall, State Rep. Orlando Ramos, who served a decade on the Springfield City Council before being elected to the state legislature in 2020, announced his candidacy for mayor Thursday morning standing in front of Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, where he graduated more than 20 years ago with a degree in carpentry.

“We need someone with a new vision who can move the city of Springfield forward,” Ramos said.

He is the fourth person – and the third current or former City Councilor – to announce a challenge to Mayor Domenic Sarno, who was first elected in 2007 and is the city’s longest-serving chief executive. Sarno has confirmed to WAMC that he will run for re-election this year.

Ramos said the incumbent has become “out-of-touch” and has made “bad decisions” such as raising property taxes during a time of record price inflation.

“I think we have to be clear about the differences between myself and the current mayor because that is the only way people are going to get a clear vision of who the candidates are,” Ramos said.

In a prepared statement, Ramos said his top priorities are to make Springfield more affordable and improve public safety. He said he’ll be offering up specific policy details as the campaign progresses.

During Ramos’ tenure in city government, he served as City Council President and was chairman of the Public Safety Committee for several years. He promoted efforts to improve police community relations, restrict law enforcement use of facial recognition technology, and passed ordinances to crack down on illegal dirt bike operators.

“I’ve been very vocal about all the things that have been happening in the police department and as mayor I am going to make those changes (required) by the DOJ and that we are hiring men and women and training them the right way to serve and protect and to become members of our community and not just throw people in jail,” Ramos said.

He joins a field of challengers that now includes City Councilor Justin Hurst, who announced his candidacy last November, City Councilor Jesse Lederman, the current council president who announced his campaign for mayor last week, and David Ciampi, a mental health counselor who has never held elected office.

Ramos had fueled speculation about a run for mayor issuing a statement earlier this month that confirmed he was indeed considering it. He also considered running for mayor in 2019 but ultimately decided not to.

“After having a heart-to-heart talk with my family, I decided at the time the city was not ready for change and I feel a lot has changed over the last four years,” Ramos said.

Four years ago, Sarno barely broke a sweat campaigning for re-election and defeated community activist Yolanda Cancel by a large margin.

Partly as a result of not facing serious electoral challenges in the last 10 years, Sarno has amassed a campaign fund that dwarfs those of all the announced challengers. His campaign reported more than $300,000 in cash on hand. Hurst, Lederman, and Ramos each have less than $100,000 in their respective campaign accounts. Ciampi reported a campaign fund totaling just over $500.

“Mayor Sarno may out raise me, but he will not out work me,” Ramos said.

Nomination papers for elected offices in Springfield will become available to candidates on February 24th. Mayoral hopefuls will need to collect 500 certified signatures by June 6th.

If three or more candidates qualify for the ballot there will be a preliminary election on September 12 to reduce the final field to two for the November 7th municipal election.