Claremont Re-Elects Incumbents
Kathe Molloy, left, a staff member at the Sugar River Valley Regional Technical Center helps tech center student Isabelle Farnsworth, right, get oriented to her ballot at the Claremont Middle School Tuesday, November 5, 2013. Farnsworth was voting for the first time and recalling the research she did into her ward one candidates. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Claremont — The four incumbents in contested races easily won re-election in Tuesday’s City Council vote and will be joined on the council by newcomer James Reed Jr.
Voters also approved the formation of a charter commission to revise or establish a city charter. The tally was 593-327.
The City Council now must set a date for another election to choose nine members for the commission. Cynthia Howard, who led the petition drive to get the charter commission question on the ballot, said she likely would run for a seat on the panel.
In Ward III, incumbent Nick Koloski, 176 votes, defeated Walter White, 142, and Brent Ferland, 83. For the four at-large seats representing the entire city, incumbents Kyle Messier, 658 votes, Keith Raymond, 637, and John Simonds, 521, and Reed, 463, were the top five vote-getters in the field of 11 candidates. They also won in each of the three wards. Cynthia Densmore finished fourth with 344 votes and John Hamel fifth with 343.
“First I want to thank all those who came out to vote and also congratulate those who won,” Reed said Tuesday night. “I’m going to work hard for the people and make the right choices for Claremont.”
Reed said he heard from voters at the polls Tuesday who told him taxes are their main concern and he would work to see the city do more to attract small businesses to help stabilize the tax rate.
Koloski spent most of the day at the Ward III polling place at Disnard Elementary School and said he did not encounter voters eager to oust the incumbents. “There were not a lot angry individuals,” Koloski said. “I’m very honored to have won and given a chance again to serve the city.”
The large field of at-large candidates was a break from the recent past when voters had significantly fewer choices. However, the Ward III and at-large races were the only contested ones on the ballot.
Raymond was elected to his seventh, two-year term. He agreed that the results for the incumbents speak well for the council. “The way I took it is that people are happy with the direction of the city,” Raymond said Tuesday night. “There are some that just want to cut everything but that won’t move the city forward.”
Messier won her fourth term on the council. “I’m humbled by the support and want to thank everyone who came out and voted,” she said shortly after the results were announced. “I look forward to taking on the challenges of Claremont.”
The other candidates for the at-large seats were Gary Cloutier, 322 votes, Thomas Burnham, 307, Joel Tremblay, 301, Reginald Johnson, 62 and John Kinton, 54. Mayor James Neilsen, Assistant Mayor Vic Bergeron, Ward I incumbent Carolyn Towle and Ward II candidate Charlene Lovett won in uncontested races.
Citywide, 1,196 voters casts ballots out of 6,500 registered for a turnout of 18 percent.
Patrick O’Grady can be reached at email@example.com.