BY JENNIFER SOLIS
---- — WEST NEWBURY — It’ll be just a two-way race for selectmen at the town election this spring.
Town Clerk Michael McCarron confirmed on Wednesday that while both Joe Anderson and Kristi Devine returned valid nomination papers for the three-year term before Tuesday’s deadline, a third potential candidate, Michael Vetrano, did not. After serving four terms the incumbent, Dick Cushing, has decided against another run.
Anderson has served for nine years on the Finance Committee and as its vice chairman for the past three years. Previously a member of the Regional Dispatch Study Committee and the Zoning Board of Appeals, Anderson feels his collective municipal experience will be an asset if he is chosen as the next selectman. He feels he has the skills to help address the long-term financial challenges the town faces, particularly in the area of managing future school facility upgrades within Proposition 2 1/2. Anderson said he jumped into the race because he had heard there were already two other candidate circulating papers and he wanted to give voters a third choice.
Devine is a local activist who ran once before for the office. The town is in “desperate need” of good leadership, she said. She sees the current board as divided into “two entrenched, self-serving, agenda-driven” camps. With her as the tiebreaker on the board, “the better argument wins, plain and simple — no agendas or self-interest,” Devine said.
There are no other contested races for the 13 seats to be filled this year. Candidates whose name will appear on the ballot are: Kim Cole, Board of Health; Chris Wile, Pentucket School Committee; Stephen Alvino, Glenn Coffin and Brian Richard for three seats as constables; Alexandra Guralnick, Marcia Sellos-Moura and Ann Dooley, for three seats on the Board of Library Trustees; Thomas Atwood, Board of Assessors; Greg Pope, Park and Recreation commissioner; Albert Knowles Jr., water commissioner; and Ann Bardeen, Planning Board.
Voters will head to the polls six days earlier than they typically do this spring. In the interest of improving voter turnout, town leaders moved the annual town election to Tuesday, April 30 — the same day as a special state primary to choose which candidates will run for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by John Kerry, who now serves as U.S. secretary of state.
The last day to register to vote at the April 29 Annual Town Meeting or in the April 30 town election is April 9. Anyone wishing to vote in the state primary on April 30 must be registered by April 10. The Board of Registrars will conduct registration in the town clerk’s office from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 9 and 10. In addition to registering at the town clerk’s office, voters may also register at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and certain other state agencies. Voter registration by mail is also permitted.
A special state-wide election to fill Kerry’s seat is slated for Tuesday, June 25.