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Agawam mayor faces election challenge from local business owner

Agawam, Massachusetts, Mayor Bill Sapelli debates challenger Charlie Alvanos on October 27, 2021.
Courtesy WWLP
Agawam, Massachusetts, Mayor Bill Sapelli debates challenger Charlie Alvanos on October 27, 2021.

Bill Sapelli, the mayor of Agawam, Massachusetts, is running against Charlie Alvanos to get another two-year term.

Sapelli is the former superintendent of the Agawam schools. Alvanos is also a former educator who now runs his own financial planning company.

At a recent debate hosted by WWLP, each candidate shared why he is the right man for the job.

Sapelli stressed the connections he's made with City Council members and in the governor's office.

"I think it's important you have someone in the office that has those relationships with people and can expand upon those to get more things done in Agawam," Sapelli said.

Alvanos focused on his life experience.

"I plan to bring my background — my experience as both an educator, a successful business owner and family man — to our town to provide a higher level of transparency to the mayor's office and our government," Alvanos said.

The candidates agreed that sewer service should be expanded to all residents.

They also discussed traffic issues around Six Flags and whether they supported building a new high school.

Alvanos said he was a strong proponent. 

"Having a preeminent high school, one that is technologically in tune to the 21st century, I think, is a major imperative," he said.

Mayor Sapelli agreed, and said the town has already applied for state funding.

"We were one of 30 communities that put in for a new high school. We were whittled down. Now [it's at] 12 — so we are in the process," he said. 

If Sapelli wins, he'll see a bump in pay. The Agawam City Council voted to increase the mayor's salary to $110,000 a year effective in January.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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