All of Worcester’s incumbent city councilors held off challengers on their way to reelection Tuesday, including Mayor Joseph Petty, who won his seventh term.
“It feels good. I worked hard for it,” Petty said after declaring victory at his watch party Tuesday night.
In Worcester, candidates for one of the six at-large council seats can also run for mayor. Incumbent Khrystian King kept his at-large seat but finished second in the mayoral race, which means he’ll be the first Black vice chair of Worcester City Council when it begins its next term in January 2024.
“This is a historic election,” King said. “It’s an honor to serve this city. I come from humble beginnings.”
The election was the first in more than two decades that all 11 City Council seats — including mayor — had multiple candidates running. Several more liberal challengers ran campaigns calling for more aggressive action to make Worcester housing more affordable, police more accountable and education more equitable. The challengers had hoped to put progressives in control of the council.
But Worcester’s moderate incumbents fended them off. Voters such as John Brissette said they supported incumbents because of what they’ve done for Worcester over the years, with Brissette citing Mayor Petty’s oversight of the postindustrial city’s revitalization.
“Our city looks a lot different than it did 10 to 12 years ago because of his leadership,” Brissette said. “He’s brought in development, growth.”
The only two new faces on council will be the members representing District 1 and District 4. Jenny Pacillo will succeed Sean Rose as District 1 councilor after Rose decided not to run for reelection, and Luis Ojeda will replace Sarai Rivera as District 4 councilor after Rivera also declined to run.
“I feel really happy that I can get to work,” Pacillo said. “I’m really excited about increasing transparency and listening to people and making sure people feel heard and valued.”
2024-25 Worcester City Council members after Tuesday’s election:
Mayor: Joseph Petty
At-large: Khrystian King, Kate Toomey, Donna Colorio, Morris Bergman, Thu Nguyen
District 1: Jenny Pacillo
District 2: Candy Mero-Carlson
District 3: George Russell
District 4: Luis Ojeda
District 5: Etel Haxhiaj