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Phil DeCologero: Democrat of the Year

The young rising star was this year's honoree at the Democratic Town Committee Scholarship Breakfast.

Phil DeCologero: Democrat of the Year

If you ask most Democratic officials in the region to name young, energetic rising stars in the Democratic party, there is one name likely to make most people's list.

And on Sunday, Phil DeCologero was named North Andover Democrat of the Year at the Democratic Town Committee Scholarship Breakfast.

"I'm absolutely honored to have been recognized," DeCologero said afterward.  "I've been involved with the NADTC since 2006, and to be given this award means a lot to me."

DeCologero's life in politics started when he was a junior in high school and volunteered on State Rep. Barbara L'Italien's first reelection campaign. The rest, he said, is history.

The young Democrat would go on to work on the campaigns of L'Italien again, Selectman Tracy Watson, School Committee member Laurie Burzlaff and Selectman Don Stewart as well as a few other local officials in Lawrence and Andover and Methuen Mayor Steve Zanni.

DeCologero now serves as executive assistant to Mayor Zanni. While he is helping candidates this year, he is not currently running anyone's campaign.

And as if he wasn't busy enough, he also moonlights as a bartender at on the weekends and was instrumental in helping launch the North Andover Merchants Association.

It was that connection with local business that led DeCologero to immerse himself in an effort to keep the town from adopting the local option meals tax last year. The town narrowly defeated the meals tax in June but then narrowly passed it in November.

That heated issue put DeCologero at odds with some people in his party, but there was no sign of a grudge when they named him Democrat of the Year Sunday.

"[The recognition] also says a lot about what a big tent our party is, and the respect local Democratic activists have for each other," he said. "After all, many local Dems were in favor of the meals tax, which was an issue that I spent a great deal of last year vocally opposing. However, you're never going to agree 100 percent of the time, but we as a group do share the same values and passion, especially when it comes to our great town."

And when he's not running political campaigns, promoting local businesses, fighting meals taxes and tending bar, DeCologero balances all of that with a new, more important, role -- being a dad. Last year, he and his girlfriend Sara welcomed into the world their daughter, Sophia Rose.

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