Andover elects historic board; Chester voters return Whalen to Select Board after hiatus

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Andover residents, faced with three select board vacancies, created what is likely an historic board with a majority of women as members.

Bill Bourque casts his ballot in Andover. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

With one member resigning his unexpired three-year seat and two members deciding not to run for re-election, Andover residents were voting to put three new members on the five-member board.

And while Melissa Gates ran unopposed for the remaining year of Chris Walker’s term, there were four candidates vying for the seats previously occupied by Jed LaPrise and Scott Kendall, opening up the possibility that Andover could have two, three or four women on its Select Board for the coming year. Those candidates were Susan Leader, Richard Griswold, Robin Trask and Paul Stoddard.

In the end, voters tapped Trask and Griswold to serve with 130 and 119 votes respectively. Leader took in 95 votes while Stoddard garnered 31. This means that Gates, Trask and Griswold join incumbents Maddy Bodin and Chris Plumb, who ran for his three-year seat unopposed, on the board

Other unopposed candidates included Leo Salazar as a Lister, Jon Bliss as moderator, Jeanette Haight for treasurer and for delinquent tax collector. Hank Mauti ran unopposed for Sexton and Cemetery Commissioner and no one ran for either of the town constable positions.


Kyle Martens casts a ballot just before the polls closed in Chester

Voters in Chester did not have a lot of choices to make on this year’s ballot for elective offices, except when it came to the two one-year select board seats.

Incumbents Leigh Dakin and Jeff Holden vied to retain their positions against former board member Ben Whalen and newcomer John Keller. Whalen had served four one-year terms beginning in 2016, then decided to step away in 2020. Update 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 2: Final numbers are in (bold).

In the end Dakin and Whalen prevailed garnering 367 (371) and 333 (337) votes respectively while Holden pulled 266 (270) and Keller received 60 votes.

In uncontested races, the following were elected to these offices by these vote totals:

  • Bill Dakin, Moderator – 515 (522);
  • Lee Gustafson, Select Board – 465 (471);
  • Erron Carey – 495, and Kathy Pellett – 480 Trustee of Public Funds,
  • Carolyn Frisa – 436, Ed Grossman – 427, Donna McNeill-Hudkins – 444, Kathryn Poston  – 475 and Rosamund Conroy – 461, Trustees of the Whiting Library; and
  • Katy Murphy – 407, Lois Perlah – 399 and Jeff Hance – 479 Directors of the Green Mountain Unified School District.

Chester’s voter rolls have grown since 2021 to 2,375, 59 more registered voters than in 2021. The number of people who voted this year is also up, from 553 last year to 589 this year.

Green Mountain Unified School District

The towns of Andover, Baltimore, Cavendish and Chester voted 648 to 277 to approve the Green Mountain Unified School District budget of $14,705,015 which represents spending of $18,770 per equalized pupil in the district’s two elementary and one high school.


With a population of about 420, Windham is one of the smallest towns in the area, but it seems to have an active political life with four contested races, including one with four candidates. Erin Kehoe was a candidate for three town offices – Clerk, Treasurer and Select Board – but fell short in each.

Among the contested races, Ellen McDuffie took 156 votes to Kehoe’s 43 for Town Clerk, Kathy Scott got 138 votes to Kehoe’s 62 to become Town Treasurer, Michael Pelton picked up 91 votes in a four-way race for Select Board. Ronald Cohen got 32, Asa Goodband 50 and Kehoe 25. In the race for Delinquent Tax Collector, Paul Wyman received 117 votes to Russ Cumming’s 81.

At the same time, however, no one stood for the office of constable or any of the open cemetery commission positions but these were filled with write-in votes. Joe Lamson was elected Constable with 18 votes, William Casey got 36 votes to become Windham Center Cemetery Commissioner, Peter Newton was elected West Windham Cemetery Commissioner with 34 write-ins and Carol Merritt became North Windham Cemetery Commissioner when 20 voters wrote in her name.

Among the offices that were uncontested were Mike McLaine 198 votes, William Casey, Lister – 148; Pat McLaine, Auditor – 177; Maureen Bell, Library Trustee – 189  and Crystal Corriveau Director of West River Modified Unified School District with 104 votes.

In the school district annual meeting, Michael McLaine was unopposed for moderator with 194 votes and Abigail Pelton, running for school district director, got 150 votes. Kathy Scott was elected school district treasurer as a write-in with 48.


Diana Lawrence casts her ballot in Grafton

There were no contested races for town offices in Grafton, but the vote totals were not available at the time of publication. We will update the numbers when we have them. Those who ran for office unopposed were: David Ross, Moderator; Gailann Fisher, Lister; John Gregory, Select Board; Gailann Fisher, Trustee of Campbell, Woolson Funds; Richard Thompson, Select Board; Gailann Fisher, Trustee of Public Funds; Kathleen Pajcic, Trustee of Public Library; Heather Gregory, Auditor; and John Saroff, Trustee of Public Library,


In the town that prides itself on its election turnout, one resident ran for every open office, but none of those races was contested. The 53 residents who voted yesterday cast the following votes: Claudia Harris for Moderator – 52, Chrystal Cleary for Clerk – 53, Andrea Ogden for Treasurer – 52, John Ogden for Select Board – 52, Liza Dee for Auditor – 49, Andrea Ogden for Collector of Delinquent Taxes – 52, Chuck Sweetman for Lister – 53, Claudia Harris for Grand Juror – 51, May Bigelow for Cemetery Commission – 49, John Wiley, Jr. for Constable – 52 and Dick Adams for Trustee of Public Funds – 52.


No vote tallies were available for Peru’s Town Meeting elections, but there were no contested races. Those running for office included Gary Ameden, Moderator; Donna Williams, Treasurer; Rebecca Williams, Lister; Ivanna Reed, Cemetery Commissioner; Mike Gayda, Constable; Tracy Black, Collector of Delinquent Taxes; Melinda Beebe, Clerk; Charles Black, Select Board; Carl Holcomb, Cemetery Commissioner; Melinda Beebe, Cemetery Commissioner; Josh Witkin, Second Constable; Ivanna Reed, Grand Juror; and  Josh Witkin, Trustee of Public Funds.


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  1. Arlene Mutschler says:

    VERY sad that we in Chester had NO choices, except for the one post. I saw that and was sadden that no one wanted to ‘get involved”. Why dont I? You ask? Cause I too dont want to get in the middle of local politics. So, I realize I cant complain. But I can express my opinion.