Few contested elections in Middlebury-area towns

ADDISON COUNTY — Except in Bridport and Weybridge there will be few election-related issues to draw Middlebury-area voters to their polling places on Town Meeting Day, March 7.
Candidates for local school boards, selectboards and other municipal offices had until Jan. 30 to file nomination papers with their town clerks. A survey of town clerks in the Addison Central School District communities of Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge reveals:
•  There will be no school board races of any kind.
•  Bridport will feature the liveliest local elections, with two contested races for the selectboard. Residents David Bronson, Tim Howlett and Michael Lawton are vying for a two-year term being vacated by incumbent Sue Walker, and Matthew Lawton is challenging incumbent Jerry Forbes for a three-year term on the board.
•  The only other major contested race involves a two-year term on the Weybridge selectboard. T. Charles Jordan is running against incumbent Alix O’Meara for that spot.
Otherwise, all is silent on the Addison Central front as far as local elections go.
In Addison County’s shire town of Middlebury, incumbent selectboard members Brian Carpenter and Laura Asermily have no challengers for three-year terms.
Carpenter and Asermily both joined the board in 2014 and said they’d like another three years on the Middlebury selectboard to continue work on such matters as replacing the two downtown rail bridges, economic development, climate change and strategic planning.
Carpenter currently serves as chairman of the selectboard. Asermily heads the town’s Public Safety and Health Committee.
Middlebury’s low-key election picture stands in sharp contrast to last year, when five people competed for three spots on the panel. In 2014, a total of eight people vied for four seats on the board.
There are no races for school boards — in fact, many available posts have no takers. A big reason for this has to do with Addison Central’s ongoing merger of its school governance. The new Addison Central School District board — featuring representatives from all seven district towns — is now conducting most of the business for the unified school system.
But this year’s ballot features a last hurrah for those smaller school boards, which will officially cease to exist at the end of this year. Candidates are being asked to run for 10-month terms until the boards are phased out.
The lack of work and timeframe for those boards is not wooing many candidates. For example, there are no candidates for three Middlebury spots on the UD-3 school board, which for a few more months oversees Middlebury Union middle and high schools. In Salisbury, no one has stepped forward for single vacancies on the local school board and UD-3 school board.
Write-in campaigns or appointments by town selectboards will be necessary to fill such spots.
Fortunately, there are enough candidates to fill all five vacancies on the ACSD board this year. Running unopposed (at-large) for three year-terms will be Suzanne Buck of Bridport; Victoria Jette, James Malcolm and Mary Gill, all of Middlebury; and Jennifer Nuceder of Salisbury.
The Addison Independent will provide a comprehensive overview of each Addison County’s community’s election picture in a town meeting preview section to appear later this month.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]

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