Sign Holders of Somerville

2017 electionsPhoto by Tim Gagnon.

Although Mayor Joseph Curtatone certainly made the rounds to polling locations earlier today as Somerville decided whether to re-elect him or side with challenger Payton Corbett, the hand-shaking and general waving was slightly pared down with a sling around his arm.

A fall on the ice at his son’s hockey practice was the cause, but the mayor had plenty of hands and volunteers holding re-election signs on his behalf.

“I’m really proud of what we’re seeing in the city today,” Curtatone said outside of Somerville High School. “It’s been such a robust turnout, which is good for Somerville. If we want to exercise democracy, there’s no better place to do it than in your own city and town. At a time where we see the challenging of Democratic values in Washington, it’s refreshing to be in a community like Somerville where people are engaged and active, whether they’re working for a candidate or going out to vote.”

We here at Scout have spent a fair amount of time over the past few weeks covering Curtatone and Corbett along with all of the candidates running for office this election, but we decided to direct our lens toward the sign-carrying volunteers on Election Day. Although we couldn’t speak with volunteers for every candidate, our aim was to show the backgrounds, beliefs, and stories of those who decided to step out in the chilly November air to support their favorite candidates.


John Barrett. Photo by Tim Gagnon.

“I’ve known Bob for quite a few years. He’s just a great, supportive guy. Good friend. Likes the community, likes what he’s doing. He’s very good to the constituents and answers their questions. He returns their phone calls, which, to me, is important. So many don’t.” – John Barrett

“I’ve been supporting Payton’s mayoral campaign since the beginning. I think there was a lot of mudslinging that came from people that work for Joe [Curtatone]; that’s where all those stories came from early in the campaign. To me, Payton’s a stand-up guy that fights for working people. And he will fight for the people of Somerville when he gets elected mayor.” -Donald Cronin


Pennie Taylor. Photo by Tim Gagnon.

“Ben is a long-time friend of mine and was my roommate on School Street for several years. He was a great roommate in a house with a lot of people! I’ve talked local issues with him for a long time obviously, but, after last year’s election, a group of friends started meeting up pretty frequently called ‘Now What?’ One of the short answers is ‘get really involved in hyper-local politics’ to the point where one of our friends decided to run. [Ben] asked around, went to several of our friends to see if they’d want to run, but eventually, we were at a series of meetings about granting a developer a waiver on affordable housing units. A lot of people showed up and were upset, but Ben noticed the Ward 3 alderman was not there. He thought the alderman should be at these meetings and he decided to run that day.” – Pennie Taylor

Michael Grunko. Photo by Tim Gagnon.

“I’ve been chair of the Democratic Ward Committee for 24, 28 years or so. The whole Democratic City Committee made an extraordinary effort at the Democratic campaign last year and got 3,000 people involved in phone calling for Hillary Clinton. After the loss, many of those people who volunteered kept showing up for activities the committee was sponsoring. I had 40 or more new people coming to committee meetings and the energy was incredible. These people were willing to ring doorbells, even when there wasn’t a campaign, to talk to people, to just go ahead and start the process of building a progressive Democratic party. It meant new blood, a new generation of folks getting involved in local politics, and potentially a whole new generation of folks who will be available to move up the ladder in legislature and Congress. I’m part of the Baby Boomer generation and I am not the solution to the problem; these younger people are.” – Michael Grunko