AP NEWS

Chelmsford Selectmen to Have 1st Female Majority

April 3, 2019

By Alana Melanson

amelanson@lowellsun.com

CHELMSFORD -- The Board of Selectmen will have a female majority for the first time in the town’s history.

Incumbent Pat Wojtas was re-elected to a fifth term with 1,580 votes and political newcomer Virginia Crocker Timmins was elected in her first run for office, pulling in the most votes at 2,030, according to unofficial results. Glenn Kohl, a member of the Planning Board, came in last with 1,270 votes.

“That’s going to be quite a change on the board now to have a majority of women on the board,” Wojtas said regarding the historic nature of their wins. “That’s something that’s never happened in the town of Chelmsford so that’ll be exciting.

“It’s historical but it shouldn’t be anymore,” she added. “In this day and age it shouldn’t be a big deal when women make progress and are elected. It should be based on qualifications and not necessarily gender, but it still is exciting.”

Crocker Timmins said she hadn’t thought about it until someone pointed it out.

“I really just wanted to run on my own merits, and I think it’s really more about what each person brings to the table,” she said, “but hats off to us, I guess.”

Wojtas and Crocker Timmins join Selectman Emily Antul, who was elected to the board last year, George Dixon and Ken Lefebvre.

Crocker Timmins said she’s honored to be elected, grateful for all of the efforts made by the volunteers who worked on her campaign, and excited to get to work.

“One of the things I ran on was to try to increase our outreach and transparency in government and I think that’s just going to be kind of an ongoing process, but I’m excited to try to think a little bit differently about how to do that,” she said.

She said setting goals for the next fiscal year will be an important task to take up in the near-term, and the Route 40 Study Committee she serves on will soon wrap up its final zoning recommendations.

“I think certainly sorting through the controversy with the tax classification is something that’s going to be very important to do in a balanced fashion,” Crocker Timmins said.

Wojtas said she is also looking forward to serving again and is grateful to the voters for having the confidence in her judgment to re-elect her to the board.

She said she’s interested in looking at new opportunities for regionalization and resource-sharing with other communities, and talking more about traffic problems in town.

“I think lately that’s become a hot-button issue in town on a lot of different levels, so maybe we really need to take a good, hard look at that and see what we can do to alleviate that for residents and people that come to town, too,” Wojtas said.

Board of Health race

In the Board of Health race, incumbent Eric Meikle easily won re-election, receiving 1,903 votes to Mike Raisbeck’s 777 votes.

“Dr. Meikle is a very good fellow with some very good ideas, and we’ve discussed a number of them as this campaign’s gone by,” said Raisbeck, who serves as Planning Board chairman.

Raisbeck said he was grateful for the chance to get out to the public some of the concerns he had about the Board of Health and how things could be run better. He said he looks forward to future discussions about beneficial changes, including the possibility of increasing the board from three to five members.

It was a close race for Planning Board associate member. Incumbent Henry “Hank” Houle won re-election with 1,290 votes to Maura Snow’s 1,241 votes.

School Committee, Planning Board full member and other townwide seats were uncontested. Overall turnout in the election was 12 percent.

Follow Alana Melanson at facebook.com/alana.lowellsun or on Twitter @alanamelanson.