Voter Identification and Long-Standing Ties Helped Sannella Return to School Committee

When Fred Sannella looked at the election numbers two years ago after finishing just out of the money in the School Committee race, he often scratched his head and wondered what happened.

It’s something he said many others also asked him.

“Everywhere I went, everyone I talked to, they just kept saying, ‘How did you lose, Fred?’” People couldn’t understand it; I couldn’t understand it,” he said in an interview this week.

It’s something he doesn’t have to think about any longer as the long-time School Committeeman was returned to office last Tuesday, Nov. 3, in a close vote that saw him – this time – just inside the circle and claiming the sixth seat on the board after a two-year absence.

“I thought that maybe some of my ties weren’t as strong in the community as they had been, but people really responded,” said the retired Whelan School assistant principal. “We ran a good campaign and people remembered me. I’m looking forward to it. It’s great to be back. You’re around long enough, people have a kindred spirit with you.”

Sannella said he worked really hard this time around, identifying people who came out and voted in the Mayoral and Council Preliminary on Sept. 1. He said he made sure to visit voters and inform them about the School Committee race.

“This time, with the mayoral fight, it was the right time to be in the right place,” he said. “My strategy worked.”

The last time around, he said, he was hampered by the casino referendum question.

“In my opinion, I got caught up in a vortex,” he said. “It brought out a completely different person than in the past elections and people who had never voted in the City Elections, but only in presidential elections. It also gave a super vote in Beachmont, and Beachmont has it’s own voting patterns where three members of the School Committee were from Beachmont…The climate just wasn’t right for me. The new voters coming out were not interesting in the School Committee. They were interested the casino referendum question. It was the perfect storm and didn’t work my way.”

This time he said he concentrated on three or four issues, including the middle school lottery, the new high school issue  and the school religious holidays.

“The religious holidays are something I feel are very, very important to address,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s really separation of church and state, but people refer to that. It puts an extraordinary burden on working parents because now they have to cover eight to 10 days extra.”

He said he looks forward to working with the superintendent and the Committee members to address the issues.

“These are all long-standing issues and I believe they can be rectified,” he said. “Hopefully, with the support of the superintendent and my new School Committee colleagues we can address these things logically and do the right thing.”

Sannella will join incumbent members Michael Ferrante, Carol Tye, Dan Maguire, Stacey Rizzo and Susan Gravellese on the new Committee in January.

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