Addison races include setback for incumbent

ADDISON — Addison saw three contested races on Tuesday, one in which a long-term incumbent was unseated and two of which revolved around school issues that have been much debated in the town in the past year.
The incumbent who lost his seat was Selectman Kimball Provencher, who has been popular enough to be elected several times since the late 1990s.
Provencher, 53, an employee of hometown business Reed’s Equipment, had served almost continuously since then, with only a brief break before being reappointed to the selectboard in 2000 and then returned by voters to office ever since.
Provencher has also served on an Addison Central School building committee, the Tri-Town Water Commission, and on the Lake Champlain Bridge Project Public Advisory Committee.
But a challenger with just as much civic experience, 48-year-old dairy farmer Rob Hunt, challenged Provencher for his seat and prevailed on Tuesday, 182-136.
Hunt served on the town’s zoning board of adjustment in the early 1990s, but is better known in Addison for his 16 years on the Addison Central School board, many as its chairman.
In responding to questions to the Independent, Hunt cited a need for more “transparency” in selectboard dealings, and pledged to provide more information to residents.
Hunt also prevailed in a second race, that for a seat on the planned Addison Northwest Supervisory Union board that will own and operate all four ANwSU schools in the wake of Tuesday’s favorable vote in the five union towns — if that vote is not successfully petitioned.
Such a petition could arise in Addison, as it did a year ago, when a second vote there in May overturned the district-wide Town Meeting Day approval. This year, Addison backed unification, 177-150.
Hunt ran against Carol Kauffman, a persistent critic of unification, for one of Addison’s two seats on the proposed 12-member board, and Hunt prevailed, 210-111.
In information sent to the Independent, Kauffman said she is a former ACS board member who moved to Addison from Arizona and described herself as a mother of five birth and three adopted children. Kauffman said she would have worked toward “cost containment” and “education reform” if she had won.
Hunt said his experience would help with the transition, and that he would work for all the students in a unified union. 
Kauffman also ran for a seat on the ACS board that will be dissolved in 2012 if unification is approved. But she lost, 192-125, to incumbent Michele Kelly, who was appointed to the board in 2011.
In her responses to the Independent, Kelly said she worked for 40 years as a college professor, 18 at the Community College of Philadelphia, and described herself as a married mother of four and grandmother of six.
According to the election flyer Kelly supplied to the Independent, she had the support of the four other members of the ACS board in her election bid.
Kauffman had said ACS should consider “interdisciplinary positions” and a teaching principal to cut costs, and was critical of the school’s auditing procedures. Kelly, a unification supporter, said she wanted to continue the work that recently led to strong test scores at ACS despite spending cuts, and to help the transition to unification if that measure passed.
Both candidates sent out emails to Addison residents in the weeks leading up to the election, often disagreeing on unification and other school issues.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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