, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 28, 2013

Lack of contested races for boards, committees

Open seats will be filled by write-ins or council appointments

AMESBURY — For all the noise surrounding the upcoming mayoral and City Council elections, the races for Amesbury’s other elected bodies have been remarkably quiet.

The School Committee, Planning Board, Library Board of Trustees and Housing Authority each have multiple seats up for grabs in the Nov. 5 election, but since only a handful of candidates will be on the ballot to fill them, the majority of the seats will have to be filled through write-in votes or City Council appointments.

The situation on these boards and committees stands in stark contrast to the heavily contested races for mayor and City Council. Fifteen candidates have stepped forward seeking nine seats on the City Council, and prior to September’s preliminary election, there were four candidates for mayor.

In the School Committee race, incumbents Peter Hoyt and Thomas McGee are both seeking re-election to the committee, but earlier this year Gale Hanshaw announced that she would be stepping down at the end of her term, and no candidate ever pulled nomination papers to take her place.

As a result, Hoyt and McGee are all but assured re-election, and a write-in candidate will likely fill Hanshaw’s seat.

While the School Committee will largely maintain its current complexion, the other three boards are expected to see heavy turnover, particularly the Planning Board and Library Board of Trustees, which could see more than half their current members move on.

On the Planning Board, Karen Solstad is the only incumbent to seek re-election out of the four whose terms are set to expire. Incumbents David Dragonas, Ted Semesnyei and chairman Howard Dalton are not on the ballot and won’t return to the board unless they are voted in as write-ins, and Stephen Dunford will depart as well to serve on the Library Board of Trustees.

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