Councilors, left to right, Edward Kennedy, John Leahy, Rodney Elliott, William Martin, Rita Mercier, James Milinazzo, Daniel Rourke, and William Samaras.
Councilors, left to right, Edward Kennedy, John Leahy, Rodney Elliott, William Martin, Rita Mercier, James Milinazzo, Daniel Rourke, and William Samaras. Not pictured, Corey Belanger.

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LOWELL -- The nine members of the 2014-2015 City Council were officially sworn into office during a 10 a.m. ceremony at Lowell City Hall Monday.

Returning incumbents were Councilors Rita Mercier, Rodney Elliott, Edward Kennedy, William Martin and John Leahy.

New members were Corey Belanger, Dan Rourke, William Samaras and James Milinazzo. Belanger was a member of the city's Zoning Board of Appeals. Samaras is a former Lowell High School headmaster and Milinazzo is a former councilor, having served a term as mayor.

In the council's first vote, it elected Elliott as its mayor for the next two years. During his remarks, Elliott said his priorities for the next two years will be public safety and economic development.

Elliott was sworn in as his family looked on. In attendance were his mother, his wife Laurie, daughters Katelyn and Mikayla, as well as his granddaughter Brooklyn.

The councilor, entering his ninth term, had long-sought to become the city's mayor.

"All good things come to those who wait," Elliott said to open his speech.

Elliott thanked his colleagues for their support and pledged to live up their expectations.

"Your confidence will not be squandered and I pledge to work as one, in the best interest of the taxpayers and residents of Lowell," said Elliott, 53, a resident of the city's Pawtucketville neighborhood.

Elliott also thanked the voters.


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"To the voters, once again you have placed your trust in me and I pledge to you, that I will continue to strive to bring transparency to government and make it open and accountable to the people," Elliott said.

As mayor, Elliott said two of his main priorities will be addressing public-safety issues and boosting economic development.

"Priority number one is cracking down on the gun violence that has hijacked our neighborhoods and threatened our residents," Elliott said.

"We cannot stand for children's bedroom windows to be shot out or shootings at gas stations."

The mayor, who chairs the School Committee, also said education will be a top priority of his. Elliott said he looks forward to working with members of the committee to address both the need to improve school facilities and improve performance in the classroom.

The council unanimously voted to select Councilor John Leahy as its vice chairman.

The Lowell High School Honor Guard handled the colors and national anthem.

Former Mayor Edward "Bud" Caulfield performed "God Bless America" to conclude the ceremony.

Father Paul Ouellette, pastor of St. Patrick's Church, gave the invocation and benediction.

The oath of office was administered by District Court Judge Barbara Pearson, a Lowell resident.

At 11 a.m., the six members of the School Committee were scheduled for their swearing in. Five members are returning: Kim Scott, Kristin Ross-Sitcawich, Connie Martin, James Leary and David Conway. Elected in November was Stephen Gendron.

For more on this story read Tuesday's Sun or click on http://www.lowellsun.com.

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