My dad was elected to the Lowell City Council in 1965 and served continuously until 2005 – a term of service that spanned 40 years, 20 elections and 20 inauguration ceremonies. I think I made it to 18 of the inaugurations, missing 1980 and 1982 while stationed in Germany during my US Army service. Most of my memories are of the political intrigue that was often involved in electing the mayor, but in the early days I was always fond of missing school. With this year’s inauguration just days away, I thought it appropriate to share some memories (refreshed with some old notes and clippings) of some inaugurations from years past:
Monday, January 3, 1966 – A city council that included five new members unanimously elected 34 year-old Edward Early mayor on the first ballot. Thomas Crowley, in his first term on the council after several on the school committee, was unanimously elected vice chair. Rev. John Giles of St Michael’s gave the invocation and Rev Bruce Lambert of First United Baptist Church gave the benediction. Judge Elliott Cowdrey of the Lowell District Court administered the oath of office. In attendance were former Mayors Raymond Lord, John Janas, Henry Beaudry and Leo Roy. Mayor Early announced he would appoint Victor Forsley, a teacher at the Shaughnessy School, as his secretary.
Monday, January 5, 1970 – Richard P. Howe was elected mayor on the fifth ballot receiving the votes of Leo Farley, Phil Shea, Brendan Fleming, Paul Tsongas and himself. Armand LeMay received the votes of John Mahoney and Sam Pollard. Ellen Sampson voted for herself. Phil Shea was then unanimously elected Vice Chair. Judge Elliott Cowdrey of the Lowell District Court administered the oath of office. The invocation was given by Rev John McLaughlin of Sacred Heart Church and the benediction was given by Rev Victor Scalise of the Cavalry Baptist Church.
Tuesday, January 2, 1990 (Monday was New Years Day that year so the inauguration was moved to Tuesday) – Richard P Howe was elected to a second consecutive term as mayor on the first ballot by a 6 to 3 vote, receiving support from Bud Caulfield, Robert Kennedy, Kathy Kelley, Curtis LeMay, Ray Rourke and himself. Tarsy Poulios received three votes: his own and those of Gerry Durkin and Brendan Fleming. The result of the election was unknown until the votes were actually cast since neither Kennedy nor Rourke had made prior commitments to either candidate. Curtis LeMay was unanimously elected Vice Chairman. The oath of office was administered by Judge Joseph Grasso of the Lowell District Court.
Monday, January 6, 1992 – Tarsy Poulios was elected mayor on the second ballot. On the first ballot, he had received four votes – his own and those of Gerry Durkin, Curtis LeMay and Bernie Lemoine. Bud Caulfield had two first ballot votes, his own and Richard Howe’s; Kathy Kelley had her own and Dick O’Malley’s; and Bob Kennedy voted for himself. On the second ballot, Kennedy voted for Poulios, giving him five and the mayoralty. The other four councils then changed their votes to make it unanimous. Bud Caulfield was then elected vice chair by a unanimous vote.
Monday, January 3, 1994 – Richard P. Howe was elected to his fourth term as mayor on an 8 to 1 first ballot vote. Howe received votes from himself, Bud Caulfield, Laurie Machado, Larry Martin, Matt Donahue, Mike Geary, Steve Gendron and Grady Mulligan. Tarsy Poulios voted for Caulfield but then switched to Howe to make the vote unanimous. The invocation was given by Rev Francis Hassett of Immaculate Conception Church. The benediction was offered by Rev Gene Parker of Chelmsford Street Baptist Church. Judge Neil Walker of Lowell District Court administered the oath of office.