Few races loom in ACSU communities

MIDDLEBURY — Local elections will rank low on the list of reasons to draw Middlebury-area residents to their respective town meetings this March.
Candidates for local school and municipal offices had until Monday to file their petitions with their town clerks. A survey of the seven towns that make up the Addison Central Supervisory Union show there will only be a handful of contested elections when Middlebury-area residents head to the polls on Town Meeting Day, March 3.
In Middlebury, the lone race on the ballot will be for a vacancy on the Mary Hogan Elementary School board. Residents Leslie Bodette and Elaine Hammond are both vying for the three-year term to be vacated by incumbent Matthew Landis.
The Addison Independent reported earlier this month that incumbent Middlebury selectboard members Dean George, Susan Shashok and Donna Donahue would all be running for re-election. Monday’s filing deadline came and went with no challengers stepping forward. That stands in sharp contrast to just one year ago, when eight candidates were in the running for three seats on Middlebury’s top governing board. That election was fueled by what turned out to be a polarizing proposal to build new town offices and a recreation facility, a matter that has since been settled (twice) by local voters.
George this year is seeking another one-year term created by the resignation last year of incumbent Selectman Travis Forbes. Shashok and Donahue — who was appointed to the board when Forbes stepped down — are seeking three-year terms.
Meanwhile, three candidates will run unopposed to represent Middlebury on the UD-3 school board, which governs Middlebury Union middle and high schools. Steve Orzek will run for a three-year term being vacated by longtime UD-3 board member Lucy Schumer. Middlebury incumbents Mark Perrin and Bob Ritter are both seeking re-election to three-year terms on that board.
Incumbent Chris Watters is unopposed for a three-year spot on Middlebury’s Ilsley Library board of trustees.
Here’s the tentative election picture in the six other ACSU towns:
• Bridport. Incumbent selectboard members Leonard Barrett and Sue Walker are unopposed in their efforts to secure new terms of three years and two years, respectively.
Incumbents Keith Grier and Suzanne Buck are unchallenged for terms of three years and two years, respectively, on the Bridport Central School Board. Tim Franklin is the lone candidate for a one-year term on that board created by the recent departure of Chuck Welch.
Meanwhile, Rick Scott is running unopposed for a three-year term representing Bridport on the UD-3 school board.
• Cornwall. Magna Dodge and Brian Kemp will face off for a one-year term in the Cornwall selectboard created by the resignation of Abi Sessions, who is now interim principal of Cornwall’s Bingham Memorial School. John Roberts is unopposed for a three-year term on the board that is currently being held by Selectman Bruce Hiland. Incumbent Selectman Ben Wood faces no challengers for a two-year term.
Three incumbents are running unopposed for three seats on the Cornwall School Board. They are Maureen Deppman (three years), Kristianne Tolgyesi (two years) and Sarah Kemp (one year).
• Ripton. Perry Hanson will challenge incumbent Ripton Selectman Ronald Wimett for a three-year term on the board.
Hanson is also seeking a two-year term on the local school board. He is unopposed in that effort, as is incumbent Ripton School Director Carol Ford in her bid for another three-year term.
The Ripton selectboard has appointed Assistant Town Clerk Alison Joseph-Dickinson to the positions of town clerk and treasurer, succeeding the late Sally Hoyler. Hoyler passed away on Jan. 15 after a brief battle with an aggressive form of cancer. Joseph-Dickinson said the board has appointed her to fill the two jobs until March of 2016, the time at which Hoyler’s three-year term expires.
• Salisbury. Incumbent selectboard members Tom Scanlon and Jackie Devoid are unchallenged in their re-election plans for terms of two years and three years, respectively. But it looks like write-in campaigns will be necessary to fill two vacancies on the local school board. Salisbury Town Clerk Ann Dittami is rumored to have chosen not to run for re-election, but Dittami could not be reached for confirmation by press time.
• Shoreham. Former Independent State Rep. Will Stevens is jumping back into the political fray this March, albeit at the local level. He has decided to run for a one-year term on the selectboard created by the recent passing of incumbent Selectman Paul Saenger. Loren Wood will run without challengers for a three-year term on the board, while Karen Shackett is unopposed for a one-year term.
Ruth Shattuck-Bernstein and Christine Gibson are unopposed for terms of two years and three years, respectively, on the Shoreham Elementary School Board.
Meanwhile, Nick Causton will run for a three-year term on the UD-3 school board that is being vacated by incumbent Erik Remsen.
• Weybridge. There will be no contested races in Weybridge this March, either.
Bruce Paquin and incumbent Gwen Nagy-Benson are the lone candidates for terms of three years and two years, respectively, on the town selectboard. Jamie Northup and Chris Eaton are the lone takers for terms of two and three years, respectively, on the Weybridge School Board. And Michelle Bayliss has no competition for a three-year term representing her town on the UD-3 school board.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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