By Steve Klamkin WPRO News
His young age didn’t prove to be a problem for Fall River’s 23-year old Jasiel Correia II, who won election as the city’s youngest ever mayor.
“Although it was made to be a disadvantage, we changed that into a positive,” said Correia in a post-election interview Wednesday morning inside Government Center. Correia accepted congratulatory handshakes from city workers and others as he walked into the building holding a cup of coffee.
Unofficial results reported by the Herald News newspaper indicated Correia polled 8,268 votes to incumbent Sam Sutter’s 7,621, or a margin of about 52% to 48%.
Correia said he accepted congratulatory phone calls from U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congressman Joseph Kennedy and others, and was thrilled that his sister came from college to join him outside a polling place on Tuesday, and to join his Election Night celebration.
Correia said he has been told that he is the youngest mayor of any city of more than 50,000 population, and he intends to join with other young mayors, including Holyoke’s Alex Morse, sworn in in 2012 at the age of 22.
Correia credited his “incredible team” for helping him to unseat Sutter, the winner of a special recall election in December, 2014 that ousted Mayor William Flanagan. Correia said that Flanagan had brandished a handgun during a late-night meeting in Flanagan’s SUV at a waterfront bar, where Correia had gone at Flanagan’s request to discuss political differences.
The incident propelled Correia into the public’s consciousness. He had been appointed to the City Council when one member had resigned to join Flanagan’s administration.
Correia acknowledged that an unpopular solid waste disposal fee that Sutter had implemented to close a budget shortfall was one factor that contributed to his win.
He said he intends to begin an immediate transition process leading to his inauguration in early January, planning a brief vacation around the Christmas holidays.
“I’m not going to ask for patience, I’m not going to ask for time, because they’ve had a lot of patience, they’ve given a lot of mayors a lot of time,” Correia said of the citizens.
“I’m going to get to work immediately. You will see some serious change in the first year of my administration, some big change. Those things have been in motion, and this is just a culmination of the opportunity to make sure those changes happen.”