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Springfield mayoral field continues to grow as Ramos joins fray

 State Rep. Orlando Ramos announcing his candidacy for mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, on Feb. 16, 2023.
Adam Frenier
State Rep. Orlando Ramos announcing his candidacy for mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, on Feb. 16, 2023.

The challengers to Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno continue to line up ahead of this year’s election.

State Rep. Orlando Ramos announced Thursday he’s entering the race, becoming the fourth hopeful seeking to knock off the city’s longest-serving mayor.

Whether Ramos, a former City Council president, would run had been the subject of speculation of late, with Ramos putting out a press release that he was still mulling over a decision.

During his announcement event, held across the street from his alma mater, Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, Ramos said he thought about running four years ago, but felt like the city wasn’t ready for a change.

Now, he said, the city needs a change, and a change from Sarno.

"Domenic Sarno has changed," Ramos said. "He is out of touch. He is not accountable to the people. And he is beholden to special interests. As a resident, I thank him for his 16 years of service as mayor, but right now we need someone with a new vision who can move the city of Springfield forward."

Ramos ticked off several goals should he be elected: improving workforce training; taking on large utilities, such as Eversource and Comcast; and working to change the embattled police department.

"I'm running for mayor because I envision a city where we invest not only in our buildings and infrastructure, but in our people,” he said. "I'm running because I believe in a transparent and inclusive government where the average citizen can feel as if they are part of the process. I'm running because I want to be mayor for every resident of this city, not just the elite and not just the special interests."

Ramos and the other challengers — City Councilors Justin Hurst and Jesse Lederman, and psychotherapist David Ciampi — are all at a disadvantage against Sarno when it comes to campaign cash. According to state data, Sarno had just over $307,000 on hand as of the end of January. Ramos had the next most at nearly $52,000.

“Mayor Sarno may outraise me, but he won’t outwork me,” Ramos said when asked about fundraising.

Ramos, 40, is a carpenter by trade, who was elected to the Springfield City Council in 2013 and served as its president for two years. He was elected to the Massachusetts House in 2020 and reelected in 2022.

Assuming more than two candidates get the necessary signatures on nomination papers, Springfield’s preliminary election is scheduled for September 12. The top two finishers would then face off in the general election November 7.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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