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Town Election features new names, a contested seat, one vacancy

Harvard’s annual Town Election will be held Tuesday, June 23. Among the four town boards and the position of moderator, there are nine open seats this year. As of now, nine candidates are running in total, leaving the Harvard Public Library board of trustees with one contested seat and the remaining positions uncontested. There is also currently one seat left without a candidate on the Warner Free Lecture board of trustees. Most of this year’s candidates are running for reelection, but there are a few new people in the mix as well, including a write-in candidate for the School Committee.

Each of the candidates elected to a town board––the Select Board, the library board of trustees, the School Committee, and the Warner Free Lecture board of trustees––will serve a term of three years. The town moderator will serve just a one-year term.

Kara Minar and Rich Maiore are running for positions on the Select Board again, uncontested for the two open seats. Minar, previously elected to the Select Board in 2017, is the current clerk. Prior to her election to the Select Board, Minar had been a member of the Planning Board, elected in 2013 and 2016. Maiore is the current vice chair of the Select Board and was elected in 2018 after Ken Swanton resigned from the position. In an interview with the Press, Maiore said that he wants to “bring a new voice” to the Select Board as he has been a member for only a year and a half. He said he hopes to “improve the town fiscal picture, preserve more open spaces,” and focus more on recreation, such as ball fields and bike paths.

As for the library trustees, Mary Abigail Coolidge is running for reelection, along with new candidates Cary Browse and William Salter. Coolidge has been a member of the library trustees for the past two terms, elected in both 2014 and 2017. Browse and Salter would be new members of the committee, though Salter ran in 2018 as well. With two open seats on the board, one will be contested.

The School Committee, on the other hand, has two open seats this year with one candidate officially running and one running as a write-in candidate. SusanMary Redinger, a current member of the School Committee, is running for reelection. Redinger has served on this board for the past nine years, elected in 2011, 2014, and 2017, and is also a chair of the Hildreth Elementary School’s building committee. 

In an interview with the Press, Redinger said that it is “important to provide continuity” to the School Committee. Redinger said that, particularly as many of the members are more recent additions and “tough financial times” are likely, her experience and “historical perspective” are important and she can serve as a mentor. Abby Besse is also running for School Committee, but as a write-in candidate. Though she has not served on this board in the past, she is a current member of both the Bromfield and HES school councils and is on the superintendent’s advisory board for altering local school start times. In an interview with the Press, Besse said she has a “passion for education” and much experience as a teacher. Besse has a master’s degree in education and was a middle school history teacher for 15 years.

For the Warner Free Lecture trustees, there are two open seats with only one candidate––Alison Thornton. Thornton is running for this position for the first time, but she has been an active volunteer in the town for years. In an interview with the Press, she explained how she has volunteered in the past as a soccer coach and a PTO member, and has been a Girl Scout leader for 10 years. Thornton said that she has always been interested in running for this position and has many ideas to contribute.

Finally, Bill Barton is running for the position of town moderator. Barton is the current moderator and has been for the past two years, having been elected in both 2018 and 2019. Barton is also a lieutenant in the Harvard Fire Department, of which he has been a member since 2007. In an interview with the Press, he said that he is running for reelection because he has enjoyed his experience as moderator and sees value in “giving back to the community” through his volunteering.

The nomination papers for candidates were due May 14, so the ballot is now closed for the upcoming Town Election. Those who wish to run for one of the open seats can still do so, however, by waging a write-in campaign.

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