ROWLEY — Residents voting in this year's town election on May 8 will have to choose the winning candidates in five contested races, the most the town has seen in as many years.
The five races are for positions on the Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board, the Municipal Light Board, as shellfish commissioner and for one of the Rowley seats on the Triton Regional School Committee.
Jack Cook of 84 Main St., who previously served two terms as selectman, is running for the seat again with the hopes of moving forward some of the projects in town. Cook also holds seats on the Housing Authority, where he has been for more than 18 years, and on the Cemetery Commission, where he has served for more than 36 years, with a slight break in between terms.
"Medical problems were part of why I left the selectmen's board last year, but health-wise I am better now and I have the time to devote to issues in town," said Cook. "Part of my reason for running is to support the project to build a new fire station. I would love to see a combined public safety building (police and fire) for the town, as the need for this is great."
Challenger John Noyes is not new to town politics, having previously served on the Finance Committee. Noyes, who lives at 71 Plantation Drive, could not be reached for further comment at this time.
The open seat on the Triton Regional School Committee is being sought by incumbent Mary Murphy of 377 Wethersfield St., who has served since 2006. She originally was not going to seek re-election, but ultimately did return papers. Murphy said in a prepared statement that her personal family situation changed to allow her the time and opportunity to serve another term.
"My commitment has never been stronger to a quality education for all students as well as maintaining a strong supportive community," she said, noting that there is important work that needs to be done over the next few years. "Even though I no longer have children attending Triton schools, I'll never stop being a caring parent and working to ensuring that all students receive a quality education."
Murphy faces Dick Cummings of 3 Arbor Way, a selectman who is serving out his second term. Cummings named several factors as his motivation for seeking a seat on the committee, most importantly that he has two children in the Triton school system and will have at least one in the schools for the next decade. "I want to be part of a solution that will make parents feel at ease and guarantee that the children they enroll in a Triton school, be it an elementary, middle or high school, will have the best educational experience we can provide, resulting in a brighter future for them in the years to come," said Cummings.
"Additionally, my service as a Rowley selectman for the previous six years and being part of the annual town of Rowley budget process that includes the Triton Regional District School budget, in my opinion, uniquely qualifies me for the School Committee position."
For the Planning Board, Peter Censullo of 15 Green Needle Lane and Michael Kovalchuk of 250 Main St. are vying for the three-year unexpired term. Kenneth Keyes of 16 Railroad Ave. and Frank Romano of 61 Summer St. are seeking the three-year term on the Municipal Light Board; and incumbent Stuart Dalzell Jr., 47 Warehouse Lane, is being challenged by Michael Cook of 10 Central St. for the three-year shellfish commissioner seat.
Voting for the town election, which will be held from noon to 8 p.m., is at St. Mary's Church Hall on Main Street.