Here are the final results from both the Annual Town Election and U.S. Senate Primaries:
Wrentham Town Elections:
Keith S. Billian - 1240
Carol A. Mollica - 1292
Joseph F. Botaish - 1065
Gail L. Pratt - 945
George R. Smith, Jr. - 745
Joan A. Dooley- 1231
Planning Board (2)
Thomas P. Wrynn - 1044
Michael F. McKnight - 1079
Board of Health
Debra M. Dunn - 1134
Fiske Library Trustee
Lori Yarworth - 8 (write-in)
Wrentham School Comm.
Eric A. Greenberg - 1148
KP School Comm.
James M. Killion, Jr. - 1196
Stephen R. Hamlin - 1067
Richard J. Gillespie - 1179
Peter W. Preston - 1074
Wrentham Housing Auth.
Robert H. Morrill - 1227
Special Senator in Congress Primaries
Stephen F. Lynch - 459
Edward J. Markey - 351
Gabriel E. Gomez - 246
Michael J. Sullivan - 143
Daniel B. Winslow - 445
Total Voters - Annual Town Election - 1656 - 21.5%
Total Voters - State Primary - 1647 - 21.3%
Wrentham Public Schools will receive Bronze Awards from the US Department of Agriculture as part of its HealthierUS School Challenge. Both Delaney and Roderick Schools join the ranks of an elite group recognized for health, nutrition and fitness excellence. Only about 6 percent of 101,000 schools in the nation have achieved HealthierUS status.
On May 3rd, at 11 a.m. Congressman Joseph Kennedy, USDA Representative Bob Foley, MA Dept of Education Katie Millett and Wrentham Superintendent Jeffrey Marsden will be on hand in a ceremony in the Delaney School, Vogel Auditorium to honor the achievement.
The Challenge is a part of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation. Schools participating in the Challenge voluntarily adopt USDA standards for food they serve at their schools, agree to provide nutrition education and provide opportunities for physical activity. Challenge certification also includes monetary incentives for use by school food services - $2,000 for Gold Award of Distinction, $1,500 for Gold, $1,000 for Silver and $500 for Bronze. For more information about the Challenge, visit the HealthierUS web site.
The Board of Selectmen race was the only contested race. Turnout for the election was 23 % - higher than predicted and significantly higher than 2012 when the annual town election only saw a 11 % turnout. Town Clerk Carol Mollica, who was also re-elected, thought the turnout was impressive. "It was very good for today," she said. "I projected it to be lower."
Unofficial numbers are Botaish receiving 1,065 votes and Pratt garnering 945. Smith received 745 votes.
Norfolk's Dan Winslow sees himself as a problem solver. When he was the Town Moderator for Norfolk, one of the first issues he tried to address was low turnout at town meeting. He spearheaded an effort to create new bylaws to make the meetings more efficient. He also wanted to give residents incentives to attend so pre-meeting meals were offered, raffles were held and babysitting services were provided. As a state representative, he helped town officials during the prolonged power outages in 2011 and 2012 by pestering utility companies and demanding answers. One of his common themes is the Massachusetts political system is broken with the dominance of the Democratic Party and he attempts to gain attention for the issues he believes in with dramatic gestures, a steady media presence and heavy use of social networks.
Now, the state representative is hoping to head to D.C. as a U.S. Senator, replacing John Kerry who was appointed U.S. Secretary of State. But first he'll need to win the April 30th republican primary over U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan and former U.S. Navy Seal Gabriel Gomez. If he wins the approval of the GOP, he will then face the winner of the democratic primary, either Congressman Ed Markey or Congressman Stephen Lynch in the June 25th special election.
Winslow says he is the right man for the problems facing Massachusetts and the Nation. "I believe that history always has provided the right person in times of crisis or need in America," Winslow stated. "I believe my proven problem solving experience and record of reform and results will allow me to earn voters' support. I will give this race everything I've got. The stakes are too high and the consequences too important to give anything less."
Despite the stiff competition from Sullivan and Gomez, Winslow brings to the race his dogged campaign experience. When he ran for State Representative in 2010, Norfolk's Shawn Dooley served as his campaign manager and remembers a candidate working almost around the clock. "He is a constant stream of fresh ideas, so much so, that while I was managing his first campaign, I had to make sure I turned off my phone and computer every night or the calls, texts, and emails would keep me awake," Dooley says.
Both Dooley and Winslow admit not every idea is a keeper, but that dialogue and the generation of ideas are key. "He is definitely an out of the box thinker and is never satisfied with the status quo," Dooley says. "Granted, not every idea might work but when he discards one, he has a dozen more to take its place."
For example, the pre-town meeting meal has been ditched and so have the raffle tickets but the bylaw he helped get passed limiting a speaker to two times up to the microphone at Town Meeting is still in place. This procedural change was implemented to cut down on wasted time. "The goal was to prevent one or two people from unlimited time resulting in a co-opt of the entire meeting," says current Norfolk Town Moderator, CiCi Van Tine. "I know many people have told me that they enjoy Town Meeting more, now that it is run efficiently."
Not everyone likes his ideas. It should be noted the two times up rule is being considered for a change at the Spring Town Meeting.
Winslow describes himself as a fiscal conservative but a social liberal supporting gay marriage and is pro-choice on abortion. He is known for grand gestures to make his point, and most notably he sent 10 jars of Fluff to Governor Deval Patrick's office to protest planned cuts to local aid. When asked at a recent debate if this type of behavior was appropriate as a U.S. Senator, he replied, “I’m in the loyal opposition. My role is to poke back against and to speak truth to power in the state government and I intend to do the same thing down in Washington, because people have to ask the questions, and people have to take the stands, and sometimes it’s good to make a point.”
To expand on the point about theatrics Winslow turned to social media, something he often does, and tweeted, "Founding father theatrics: Give speeches about inequities of taxation, or dress up like Indians and throw tea into Boston Harbor. Hm. #Fluff"
He added via email, "We have a good track record when it comes to theatrics in federal govt!"
Winslow is a supporter of the second amendment, simplification of the tax code, job creation, and immigration reform and specifically opposes amnesty. In regards to social security Winslow, like his fellow republicans, supports delaying the age to collect and believes needs testing should be implemented, saying he didn't think someone like Warren Buffet needed social security payments.
Between now and April 30th, it is safe to say Winslow will shake every hand he can reach, find every microphone available to share his message, and push relentlessly until the voters decide. Regardless of the outcome, Winslow will continue to "poke" the opposition, find ways to make his points, and fight for the issues he believes are important.
The date of the April Town election has been changed and will now occur on April 30th, the same date as the primary for U.S. Senate special election. Wrentham’s annual town election is normally held on the first Monday in April.
The Board was able to merge the elections thanks to recent legislation that passed giving towns this power if local town voting occurs within 30 days of the April 30th primary.
The board debated the savings of merging the two elections and what impact there might be to the actual election results. Since the election is now 29 days later, the deadline to return nominations papers has been extended giving potential candidates additional time to get on the ballot. “You have to extend out the deadline to turn papers in and by extending that, we open up changing the outcome of an election,” said selectman Charles Kennedy. “There are some cost savings. I see both sides.”
Selectman Steve Langley added, “This board strives to save costs when it can.”
While an average election costs approximately $5,000, the net savings might be less. The move won’t result in any savings on printing ballots but would save on the expense of police details. The net savings won't be known until after the primary.
There was concern that by moving the election to the end of the month this year, voters will be confused on the date next year.
Both Selectmen Joe Botaish and Gail Pratt recused themselves from the vote since they appear on the ballot. The decision to merge the elections passed 2 to 1.
The Town Clerk released an update on candidates for the April 1st, Town Election. Previously, Thomas Wyrnn had informed the Clerk's Office he was not seeking re-election for his Planning Board position but has since pulled nomination papers. He is the only candidate listed that has not return his papers for certification. The deadline to return papers is February 11.
At the present time, with no contested races, April 1st looks to be a lackluster election.
Candidates seeking re-election for town office include:
Keith Billian, Moderator
Gail Pratt and Joe Botaish, 2 Selectman
Carol Mollica, Town Clerk
Debra Dunn, Board of Health
Eric Greenberg, School Committee
Peter Preston, Richard Gillespie and Stephen Hamlin for 3 Constable positions
Joan Dooley, Assessor
Michael McKnight,Thomas Wrynn Planning Board
James Killion, KP School Committee (originally appointed to the board)
Robert Morrill, Wrentham Housing Authority
Currently, there is no candiate for Fiske Library Trustee.