Under normal circumstances, the race for the Democratic nomination for state representative in the 16th Suffolk District (that includes parts of Revere, Saugus, and Chelsea) would be the ‘talk of the town’ among political observers.
Earlier this year popular state representative RoseLee Vincent announced that she would not be seeking re-election, so there is no incumbent in the race.
Revere residents Joe Gravellese and Jessica Giannino are vying for the position that will be on the ballot in the Sept. 1 Democratic primary.
Because of the coronavirus and social distancing guidelines, the two candidates have not been able to host the traditional campaign receptions at local gathering spots like DeMaino’s and Casa Lucia. This campaign is unlike any other in the city’s history due to the limitations imposed by the coronavirus.
One event that residents are hoping to see is a political debate between Gravellese and Giannino, a Revere councillor-at-large who participated in a candidates’ forum last fall on the road to re-election.
City Council President Patrick Keefe feels that a debate would create excitement in a city known for its zest for politics and hard-fought elections.
“Revere has two outstanding candidates running for state representative and I look forward to seeing a debate in which they discuss the many important issues facing our city at this time,” said Keefe.
Gravellese and Giannino have been in negotiations for a debate and it appears there will be one held in August, although the format and sponsor have not been finalized.
Giannino has indicated that she would participate in a debate.
“I am looking forward to participating in a debate that allows the voters of the 16th Suffolk District to hear more about my candidacy and priorities as a legislator,” said Giannino. “For nearly 10 years I have had the honor of representing the City of Revere and have never shied away from being a voice for those who needed it most. I’ll do the same in the Legislature for Revere, Chelsea, and Saugus.
Gravellese said he welcomes the opportunity to participate in a debate. He added that he would like to see as many as three debates if possible.
“I think we owe it to the voters to be talking to them as many times as we can,” said Gravellese. “I’ll work with her on that, but I want to negotiate at least what the format is going to be. If that’s not possible, so be it.”
There has been talk that the Saugus Democratic Town Committee may hold a candidates’ forum. Said Gravellese, “I’m ready, willing, and able to show up any time to any forum that anyone puts on.”