Haxhiaj-Rivera fisticuffs carry over to district seats’ debate

Full and original article posted on The Worcester Guardian

WORCESTER – Incumbent District 5 City Councilor Etel Haxhiaj and local boxing luminary Jose Antonio Rivera earned reputations as fighters in two very different arenas. This was fully apparent on Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the sparring that took place between them during a district city councilor seats’ debate at Mechanics Hall.

The evening also featured appearances by: Jenny Pacillo and David C. Peterson, who are facing off in District 1; incumbent Candy Mero-Carlson, who challenges Robert A. Bilotta for District 2; incumbent George J. Russell, who goes up against Feanna Jattan-Singh in District 3; and first-time candidates Katia Gisela Norford vs. Luis Albizu Ojeda for District 4 representation.

In seeking a second term as D5 councilor, Haxhiaj describes herself as “a candidate for the future” who has proven to be a forceful, outspoken and at times fly-in-the-ointment presence on the floor of city council. A single mom who fled Albania with her parents, she is director of public education and advocacy for the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance (CMHA) who “identifies with struggling families.”

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