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Christopher A. Cotter

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Christopher A. Cotter
Christopher A. Cotter.jpg
Former candidate for
Board Member, New Bedford School Committee, At-large
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
High schoolNew Bedford High School
Bachelor'sUniversity of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
Military service
Service/branchU.S. National Guard
ProfessionPolice detective
Campaign website
Christopher A. Cotter campaign logo
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Christopher A. Cotter was a candidate for the New Bedford School Committee. He passed through the primary election on October 8 but lost in the general election on November 5, 2013.


Christopher Cotter resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Cotter graduated from New Bedford before earning his Associate's degree in Criminal Justice and serving in the National Guard. Early in his career, he worked in a variety of positions in the banking industry while serving part-time at the Acushnet Police Department and studying for a Bachelor's degree at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Cotter joined the New Bedford Police Department in 2000, and he currently serves as a detective in its juvenile and sexual assault unit.[1]



See also: New Bedford Public Schools elections (2013)


Christopher Cotter ran unsuccessfully against five other candidates for one of three at-large seats in the general election on November 5, 2013. Another challenger, Michael Janson, finished in last place in the primary and did not continue on to the general election.


New Bedford Public Schools, At-large General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngLawrence J. Finnerty Incumbent 19.3% 4,489
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJosh Amaral 19.3% 4,472
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJack Nobrega Incumbent 16.9% 3,921
     Nonpartisan Maria H. Mojica-Mosquea 15.9% 3,687
     Nonpartisan Christopher A. Cotter 15.1% 3,514
     Nonpartisan Brian Pastori 13.4% 3,107
     Nonpartisan Write-in 0.1% 33
Total Votes 23,223
Source: New Bedford Guide, "2013 New Bedford Election Results," accessed November 6, 2013

New Bedford Public Schools, At-large Primary Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngLawrence J. Finnerty Incumbent 19.9% 2,682
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJack Nobrega Incumbent 18.5% 2,486
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJosh Amaral 16.2% 2,183
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngChristopher A. Cotter 13.8% 1,856
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMaria H. Mojica-Mosquea 13% 1,750
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngBrian Pastori 11.7% 1,569
     Nonpartisan Michael Janson 7% 938
Total Votes 13,464
Source: New Bedford, Massachusetts, "Preliminary Election," accessed October 9, 2013


Cotter reported $0.00 in contributions and $16.01 in expenditures to the City of New Bedford, which left his campaign with $16.01 in debt.[2]


Christopher Cotter did not receive any official endorsements for his campaign.

Campaign themes

Cotter stated that his primary concerns in running for School Committee were "class size, differentiated instruction, safety of our students, and working on improving the parent-school communication and involvment!"[3]

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.

What was at stake?

Incumbents Jack Nobrega, John Fletcher and Bruce Oliveira announced that they would file for re-election. Oliveira ran unopposed for a two-year term, all other candidates competed for three seats with three-year terms.[4] On August 13, incumbent Lawrence J. Finnerty announced that he would seek municipal office rather than re-election to the School Committee, which left one board seat vacant.[5] South Coast Today journalist Natalie Sherman notes that Finnerty was an independent voice on the board, and that, "...his retirement could shift the internal dynamics of the board."[6] However, Fletcher and Finnerty both ultimately decided to reverse their decisions. Five challengers, Brian Pastori, Josh Amaral, Christopher A. Cotter, Maria H. Mojica-Mosquea and Michael Janson also filed for the four available School Committee seats. In the end, both incumbents, Nobrega and Fletcher, retained their seats and Amaral won a seat on the board.[6]

New superintendent

In August, 2013, Superintendent Pia Durkin announced that the school district would be laying off more than 200 employees, including 150 teachers. These cuts came in response to significant budgetary problems within the district, and Superintendent Durkin has confirmed that these cuts are final and will not be reversed, unlike layoffs in previous years.[7] Following the announcement of the cuts, Superintendent Durkin admitted that the cuts "created a great deal of angst" in the community.[8] The school district also has "one of the worst records in the state in terms of student test scores and graduation rates."[8] The school board has voted to open an "innovation school" to address academic performance issues in the district, which resulted in a backlash from challenger Josh Amaral and the local teachers union, the New Bedford Educators Association.[6]

About the district

See also: New Bedford Public Schools, Massachusetts
New Bedford Public Schools is located in Bristol County, Massachusetts
New Bedford Public Schools is located in Bristol County, Massachusetts. The county seat of Bristol County is Taunton. According to the 2010 US Census, Bristol County is home to 551,082 residents.[9]


Bristol County underperformed the rest of Massachusetts in terms of its poverty rate, median rates of average household income and higher education achievement in 2011. The poverty rate in Bristol County was 11.3% compared to 10.7% for the entire state. The median household income in Bristol County was $55,813 compared to $65,981 for the state of Massachusetts. The US Census also found that 25.1% of Bristol County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 38.7% in Massachusetts.[9]

Racial Demographics, 2012[9]
Race Bristol County (%) Massachusetts (%)
White 91.1 83.7
Black or African American 4.3 7.9
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.6 0.5
Asian 2.1 5.8
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 1.8 2.0
Hispanic or Latino 6.4 10.1

Party Affiliation, 2012[10]
Party Registered Voters  % of Total
Democratic 123,044 36.43
Republican 34,914 10.34
Green-Rainbow 320 0.09
Unaffiliated 177,632 52.60
Other 1,800 0.53

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[11][12]

Recent news

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