Below is a narrative account of the 1987 City Election and related events that occurred during that two-year term. To see the order of finish and vote totals of the candidates, visit our 1987 City Election page.
On November 3, 1987, voters reelected incumbents Richard Howe, Brian Martin, Robert Kennedy and M. Brendan Fleming. They were joined by newcomers Edward Bud Caulfield, Curtis LeMay, Tarsy Poulios, Joseph Fitzpatrick, and school committee member Gerald Durkin. Incumbents Kathleen Kelley, Gus Coutu, and Edward Kennedy lost. (A recount completed on November 24, 1987 confirmed that Kathy Kelley finished tenth, 73 votes behind Brendan Fleming). Incumbents Armand LeMay and Richard O’Malley did not seek reelection.
On the school committee, incumbents George Kouloheras, Kathryn Stoklosa, and Regina Faticanti were reelected. Joining them were newcomers Kathleen Janas, Mary Anna Sullivan, and Sean Sullivan. Incumbent George O’Hare lost. Incumbents Gerald Durkin and David Allen both ran for city council (Durkin won; Allen lost).
On the regional school committee, incumbents George Kouloheras and John Ryan were reelected. Kouloheras received 11,057 votes and Ryan received 8,550. The losing candidate was John Reid, with 7,343 votes.
There were also two questions on the ballot. The first asked whether the city of Lowell should build a trash-to-energy plant on the site of the existing landfill on Westford Street. The “Yes” side received 9,949 votes. The “No” side received 8,044 votes. The second referendum asked whether the United States government should enter into “a bilateral, verifiable, comprehensive ban on the testing of nuclear weapons.” The “Yes” side received 10,448 votes. The “No” position received 6,270.
On January 4, 1988, Richard Howe was elected mayor on the first ballot by a unanimous vote.
In the summer of 1988, a majority of the school committee voted to not renew the contract of School Superintendent Henry Mroz and to begin the search for a new superintendent. However, on May 24, 1989, school committee member Kathleen Janas announced that after interviewing seven superintendent finalists, she would instead join committee members George Kouloheras, Kathryn Stoklosa, and Sean Sullivan in granting a new contract to Mroz. Mayor Richard Howe and members Mary Anna Sullivan and Regina Faticanti voted against the new contract.
When Assistant City Manager Roseanne Riddick resigned in May 1989, City Manager Campbell selected Brian Martin to replace her. Because hiring a sitting city councilor would violate the city’s charter, Campbell needed special legislation. The council requested this and the state legislature approved it in the fall of 1989. Martin resigned from the city council and was replaced by tenth place finisher Kathleen Kelley.
October 26, 1989, the school committee voted four to three to endorse English as the official language of Lowell. Voting for this were committee members Kathleen Janas, George Kouloheras, Kathryn Stoklosa, and Sean Sullivan. Voting against it were Mayor Richard Howe and school committee members Mary Anna Sullivan and Regina Faticanti. This same question would appear as a referendum on the 1989 city election ballot.