New Bedford Mayoral race heats up

By Kirsten Glavin

kglavin@abc6.com

@kirstenglavin

NEW BEDFORD –   It’s down to the wire for campaigning in New Bedford.  The mayoral race has been picking up traction as incumbent Jon Mitchell seeks a third term. Challenging him is opponent, Maria Giesta.

Both mayoral candidates were optimistic Monday night, after a long, final day of campaigning throughout the city.

"We’re pretty confident," said Mitchell.

"The response from the residents of New Bedford has been amazing,” Giesta proclaimed.

The incumbent, saying he’s confident in the progress made over the past few years and highlighted New Bedford’s job growth as a prime example.  "The city has grown some 3,000 jobs since I got into office,” said the Mayor.

But according to Maria Giesta, she and her supporters see the city’s progress in a different light.  "Does he actually live in new Bedford? Because he’s not seeing what we’re seeing,” Giesta said.

The two have been butting heads over New Bedford’s future; particularly in the controversy surrounding the city’s school system.

"I said we would reform our school system and we’ve done that very aggressively. It’s a work in progress, but it’s certainly going forward,” said Mitchell.

"Being 290 out of 291 school districts doesn’t bode well for us,” contested Giesta.  Giesta sent a clear message of change in her final hours of campaigning.  The former chief of staff for Congressman Barney Frank, put New Bedford’s high crime rate at the top of her list of things she wants to address in the upcoming years.

"We need to put our officers back on the street within the community,” she added.

On Tuesday, voters will get the final say on which vision they have in mind for the city.