Peter Stefan announces write-in candidacy for Worcester County Governor’s Council

  • Peter Stefan is a write-in candidate for Worcester County Governor’s Council. Contributed photo

Staff Report
Published: 9/24/2020 4:35:51 PM
Modified: 9/24/2020 4:35:44 PM

WORCESTER — Peter Stefan, owner of the Graham, Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors and a long-standing fixture in the Worcester business community, has announced he is a write-in/sticker candidate for the vacant office of Governor’s Council District 7 of Worcester County in the Nov. 3 state election.

Stefan, who will run as an independent candidate, will face Democrat Paul Depalo, who was the winner in the state primary. No Republican is running for this office.

Massachusetts regulations state that write-in votes can be done with stickers or by manually writing in the candidate’s correct name and address, which is Peter A. Stefan, 838 Main St., Worcester, MA. However, courts ruled that a vote should be counted “whenever the intent of the voter can reasonably be determined, even if a voter omits the candidate’s address or makes a mistake in the name or address.” 

The Massachusetts Governor’s Council (also known as the Executive Council) is a governmental body that provides advice and consent in certain matters — such as judicial nominations, pardons, and commutations — to the governor. Positions are elected by the general public and their duties are set forth in the state Constitution.

As a funeral director who has regular contact with the legal system, especially in matters regarding abandoned bodies, Stefan said he is confident in his ability to identify jurists who will perform above and beyond expectations. But more importantly, according to a press release, it is his ability to connect with the people who have been forgotten by state government that will serve him best in the position.

“There’s so many people in our county who have been marginalized — veterans, indigents, single mothers, or people struggling with addiction,” he said in a prepared statement. “They feel like government is dead, that they have no voice. My primary goal is to be the voice of these people, as well as all of the residents of Worcester County, to ensure they are heard and that their needs are taken seriously.”

According to the press release, Stefan “has already spent a lifetime serving people who have nowhere else to turn. It’s most evident in his willingness to bury bodies abandoned by the state — often at his own expense — because he believes that everyone, regardless of their circumstances in life, deserves a proper burial. It has earned him a reputation as ‘the man who buries the bodies no one else wants.’”

The son of Greek and Albanian immigrant parents, Stefan is a first-generation funeral director with over 40 years’ experience in the industry. He has been involved with numerous local organizations including the P.I.P. Shelter, serving on the board of directors for many years. He has also created a number of programs to help illustrate the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

Stefan was voted by the Boston Globe in 2013 as one of the 12 outstanding citizens in Massachusetts. In 2008, he was Central Mass Volunteer of the Year, and in 2013, he was given the Key to the City of Worcester. He was one of the Founders of the Family Health Center.

His most recent charitable effort has been the establishment of a GoFundMe page intended to raise money to fund funerals and cremations for the abandoned, unclaimed, and indigent in the Massachusetts. Because the state does not provide adequate support to funeral homes for the cremation of indigent or unclaimed dead (including veterans), funeral homes are forced to turn away the dead or pay for cremation out of their own pockets. The funds will be available to any funeral home in Massachusetts.

If elected, Stefan said he has pledged to contribute his two-term annual salary, which totals $72,050, to several local charitable organizations — names and amounts to be released at a later date. Plus, Stefan will not solicit any contributions, funding the campaign completely out of pocket.

Stefan accumulated 300 of the 500 signatures needed to become a write-in candidate, but his effort was curtailed by COVID-19. In light of COVID, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reduced candidate petition signatures to 50 percent of their statutory requirements.

Over the next few weeks, Stefan intends to mail stickers to the voters of the 34 towns in District 7 of Worcester County. Those towns include Athol, Petersham and Phillipston.

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