Gill Wins Council Presidency

Thursday, November 10, 2011
By Cary Shuman

Newly elected Winthrop Town Council President Peter Gill and his wife Maureen are shown at the victory celebration at the Lodge of Elks Tuesday night.

Peter Gill earned an impressive victory in the hotly contested race for president of the Winthrop Town Council Tuesday, defeating incumbent Jeffrey Turco by a margin of 116 votes.

Gill won in four of the town’s six precincts and showed political strength across the town. Gill received 2,453 votes while Turco received 2,337 votes.

It was a scene of celebration and triumphant hugs at the Lodge of Elks as Gill thanked his many supporters, including “my partner for 47 years, my wife Maureen.”

Helped by an excellent organization that included well-known residents and former town officials who had prominent roles in previous campaigns, Gill was able to unseat Turco, who had guided the Council to several accomplishments in his two years in office. Turco appeared to have gained considerable momentum following a stellar performance in the only debate between the two candidates and many considered the relative newcomer to the town a rising star on the local political scene.

While four incumbent councilors-at-large won re-election next door in Boston, Gill managed to topple an incumbent council president and that says a lot about his candidacy and his well-run campaign.

Gill, a former teacher and real estate agency owner, conducted a positive campaign and stressed a team approach in his bid for election.

“Since Day 1, T-E-A-M has always been one of my favorite sayings – there’s no ‘I’ in team and T-E-A-M is spelled ‘Together Each Achieves More,” said Gill. “It was only together that we achieved this victory. I had tremendous campaign workers and they worked truly as a team and as a family. They were wonderful.”

Gill was confident and self-assured but never cocky and those who attended his campaign reception last month remember him prefacing his remarks, “When I’m elected council president,” not if I’m elected council president.

“As soon as our group got organized, I took the word ‘if’ out of my vocabulary,” said Gill. “I felt with that group and the support of my family [including his four children, Brian, Lisa, Brendan and Gretchen] that it was a win-win situation. I think our campaign was steady from start to finish.”

Gill said he will make some changes when his new administration begins in January. “There has been some concern that I don’t want to change anything, but I’m certainly very much in favor of change but change has to be made with deliberation.”

At his victory party, family and friends praised Peter Gill while congratulating him on his great victory.

“He’s my brother and I love him” said Richard Gill, former Winthrop town councilor. “After having seen what’s happened over the past several weeks in this campaign, it’s nice to see other people affirm what I’ve always though about Peter. I’m so excited for the town of Winthrop. I’m so excited for Peter. I’m so bullish on the town of Winthrop.”

David Hubbard, former town moderator and town historian, called the election “one of the most exciting in our town’s history.”

“It was a great election,” said Hubbard. “We got a good man elected. I’m very pleased to see Peter elected. I’ve been a supporter of his since Day 1.”

Turco was a sportsman after what can only be characterized as a tough defeat. Those who watched him conduct the council meetings were impressed with his serious, no-nonsense approach and his incredible knowledge of parliamentary procedure. He made people in the town stand up and take notice of the nine-member town council.

“I congratulate my opponent,” said Turco. “As I said all along in this campaign, the election is important not because of the candidates but because of the future direction of the town. I hope he spends the next two weeks trying to formulate a vision for where he wants to take Winthrop and that he’s able to put that vision forward in a clear and cohesive fashion so the town can benefit.”

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