1989 City Election – English Only Referendum

Here’s a report on the 1989 Lowell City Election which included an “English only” referendum which prevailed by a wide margin. To see the individual candidate vote totals, please see our new 1989 City Election page.

On November 7, 1989, voters reelected council incumbents Bud Caulfield, Robert Kennedy, Kathleen Kelley, Curtis LeMay, Tarsy Poulios, Brendan Fleming, Gerald Durkin and Richard Howe. Joining them was former councilor Raymond Rourke. Incumbent Joseph Fitzpatrick did not seek reelection.

On the school committee, incumbents Regina Faticanti, Kathleen Janas, George Kouloheras and Mary Anna Sullivan were all reelected. They were joined by newcomers Steven Panagiotakos and Raymond Riddick. Incumbents Sean Sullivan and Kathryn Stoklosa lost.

On the regional school committee, William Kirwin with 9,750 votes and John Reid with 9,737 were elected. Unsuccessful challenger Albert Abrahamian received 4,569.

Voters endorsed a referendum asking this question: “Shall it be the policy of the people of Lowell that English is the official language of the city of Lowell and that our city government requests: (1) Our Senators and Congressmen to vote for English as our National Language; and (2) Our State Legislators make English our official state language?” The “Yes” side prevailed with 14,875 votes to 5,679 votes for “No.”

Richard Howe was elected to a second consecutive term as mayor on a six to three vote. Howe received votes from Bud Caulfield, Robert Kennedy, Kathleen Kelley, Curtis LeMay, Raymond Rourke and himself.  Tarsy Poulios received votes from Brendan Fleming, Gerald Durkin and himself.

In the summer of 1990, the school committee reached an agreement with Superintendent Henry Mroz wherein Mroz would leave the superintendent’s office at the end of 1990 with six months left on his contract, in exchange for working as a paid consultant for that six months. A community panel appointed by the school committee recommended that Assistant Superintendent George Tsapatsaris be considered for the position before any search for additional candidates was conducted. On November 14, 1990, the school committee unanimously elected Tsapatsaris as the next Lowell superintendent of schools to begin on January 1, 1991.

On September 6, 1991, City Manager James Campbell resigned to become commissioner of the state’s Department of Industrial Accidents. Local candidates who applied for the manager’s position included Brian Martin, James Milinazzo, Philip Shea, James Connors, Rosanne Riddick, Paul Sheehy and Mike McLaughlin. The council met on November 26, 1991 to elect the new manager. After 40 ballots, a three way deadlock had evolved with Tarsy Poulios, Gerald Durkin, and Raymond Rourke voting for Philip Shea; Richard Howe, Bud Caulfield and Curtis LeMay voting for James Milinazzo; and Robert Kennedy, Brendan Fleming and Kathy Kelley voting for former Taunton Mayor Richard Johnson. On the forty-first ballot, Howe, Caulfield and LeMay switched to Johnson, giving him six votes and the city manager’s job.