Town Caucus yields two contested races
Contested races have emerged for Carlisle’s Annual Town Election this spring for the Town Clerk position and for the single open position on the Carlisle School Committee. Mary de Alderete, Rachel Nelson and Eileen Blanchette are seeking the Town Clerk post, while Shannon Lavery and Melynda Gambino are competing for a spot on the School Committee. Alan Lewis is running unopposed for the single opening on the Board of Selectmen.
Forty-one registered voters signed in for the Town Caucus on March 5. Current and soon to retire Town Clerk Charlene Hinton opened the meeting by saying, “I’d like to thank everybody for showing up for this example of some of the best democracy in the world.” Gretchen Anderegg of Bedford Road was chosen to run the meeting, standing in for Town Moderator Wayne Davis, who recused himself since he is standing for re-election.
The Caucus can select two candidates for each open elected position in town government. Most positions had only one candidate placed in nomination (see table, page 12.) The single open position on the School Committee yielded two candidates.
The slot for Town Clerk had three vying for caucus endorsement. Each stated why she felt qualified for the position, after which a runoff “show of hands” selected the two Caucus nominees.
Town Clerk nominees
Eileen Blanchette referred to experience gained while working as Hinton’s assistant. “I’m familiar with the office. If I’m elected you can come into the office and get the same service as you got before. There will be no lag time.” She added that she hoped to move “the clerk’s office gently into the 21st Century. I’m a certified project manager—managed projects all over the world.”
Mary de Alderete had served as assistant to the Acton Town Clerk for seven years. She said, “I moved up the ranks. I’m currently Town Clerk in a town not far from here. I want to come home. This is my home. I’m familiar with Mass General Law. I run town meetings, town elections. I think I have the skills you would come to expect from a town clerk.”
Rachel Nelson has lived in Carlisle since 2015 “after hiking here and falling in love.” She said, “I’m active in the Zero to Five Family Network. Right now I work in the Department of Children and Families as a consultant. I’m a liaison. I mediate; I facilitate to have everyone come to the table and navigate a complicated system. This is a skill set that would be applicable to a Town Clerk role.”
De Alderete and Nelson received the most votes and were the Caucus-designated candidates for Town Clerk. Blanchette has taken out papers and says she intends to add her name to the ballot through the alternate method of filing as a petition candidate.
The following day Lewis commented that he was surprised to be nominated to be a candidate for the Board of Selectmen. “My initial reaction was to decline, especially because I have another year to go on the Board of Health. But I have had a couple of emails that have enthusiastically encouraged me to run, including from the Board of Health, so I will go to the Town Hall tomorrow and sign the candidate papers.”
Still time to become a candidate
Additional candidates can be listed on the election ballot by collecting 34 signatures from registered voters on a form that can be obtained from the Town Clerk. Extra signatures are suggested in case some are illegible or invalid. A completed petition is due at Town Hall by 5 p.m. on March 12.
A candidate who misses that deadline can still participate as a “write-in” on the election ballot. To vote for a write-in candidate, the name and the address must be written on the ballot, accompanied by an “’X’ next to the name.
Concord-Carlisle League of Women Voters member Barbara Lewis announced a “get to know your candidates” event to be held at Town Hall from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 22 with the public invited. ∆