By Beth David, Editor
In an election upset, long time Fairhaven Planning Board member Wayne Hayward lost his bid for re-election. He has served on the board for about 30 years.
School Committee also had a little surprise, with incumbent Brian Monroe, who has served for 12 years, winning his seat, but coming in second to Stephanie “Steph” Pickup in the vote count, 803 to 780*. Two seats were on the ballot, with incumbent Pam Kuechler not running for re-election. Two other candidates also vied for those seats: Laura Gardner with 686 votes, and Brendalee Smith with 325.
Two seats were also on the ballot for Planning Board. Fairhaven business owners Patrick Carr and Ruy Da Silva both won seats on that board, with Mr. Carr receiving 895 votes, Mr. Da Silva receiving 786, and Mr. Hayward receiving 722.
The Select Board race saw both incumbents running unopposed for their seats, with Charles K. Murphy, Sr., receiving 1132 votes and Keith Silvia receiving 903.
Other uncontested races were: Board of Health, with newcomer Justine Frezza elected; Commissioner of Trust Funds, with Louise Ponte winning re-election; Board of Public Works, with incumbent Brian Wotton, and newcomer Daniel Lopes elected; Housing Authority, with incumbent Carol Alfonso re-elected. Voters also voted for Town Meeting members.
The town held its traditional Cable Access TV election results show at Town Hall the evening of 4/3. Select Board members, candidates, their supporters and family members gathered in the Banquet Room to hear the results. Candidates also had a chance to address voters.
Before Town Clerk Linda Fredette read the results, Select Board chairperson Stasia Powers thanked Ms. Fredette, noting that it was her last election as clerk. She is resigning in a couple of weeks.
Ms. Powers said she was “proud” of how voting went at the Rec Center, and the changes Ms. Fredette has made in the last couple of years, including the change to all precincts voting in one place.
“You’re going to be terribly missed,” said Ms. Powers.
After Ms. Fredette read the results, candidates addressed the electorate.
Mr. Silvia, who was re-elected to the Select Board thanked everyone who let him put a sign up in his yard, and the voters. He said he was “honored to serve for three more years.”
Mr. Murphy started by thanking God and then his wife and family. He also named off some of his volunteers, and especially those who stood outside all day at the polls.
“And last but not least, I’d like to thank little Alanah,” said Mr. Murphy, referring to his granddaughter. “Who always gives me the inspiration every day.”
“I’m super excited,” Ms. Pickup told voters, and thanked her volunteers who held signs in the cold.
She said she looked forward to serving the kids, taxpayers, teachers, “everybody.”
Mr. Monroe said he was honored to serve another three years, and it is not something he takes lightly. He said his family was his “rock” and his support.
“I love it,” he said. “I love serving my town.”
He also pointed out Ms. Kuechler, who did not run for re-election.
“She’s the definition of a public servant and she’s given a lot to the town,” said Mr. Monroe.
He also congratulated the candidates, encouraging those who lost to “come back” and run again.
“Serving the town is a great thing,” he said.
Laura Gardner, who did not win a seat on School Committee, thanked everyone who helped on her campaign, saying she thought it was “pretty good” for the first time.
“It was my first time running for public office, and I definitely will run again for School Committee,” said Ms. Gardner, adding it was very important to her that students have the best.
She also said she hoped some of the ideas she brought up in the campaign would be thought about.
Brendalee Smith also ran for SC, but did not win a seat.
She thanked everyone and said it was “an amazing process,” she said, one she will definitely be doing again.
“I will be the best volunteer you have ever seen,” she said to the winning candidates, to do great things for the whole school community.
She said it was cold outside on election day, but it was “great,” and amazing.
“We became friends through this,” she said of her fellow candidates. “That doesn’t always happen.”
“That says something about who we are,” she said and that they will continue to work together. “You’ll all be seeing me again, that’s for sure.”
Board of Health candidate Justine Frezza joined by Zoom, and said she looked forward to serving for the next three years, and thanked her family and supporters.
Mr. Carr said it was a good learning experience. He said his philosophy will be to welcome people to come and do business in Fairhaven. He said things will be different going forward.
“It was a great experience,” he said.
Mr. Da Silva thanked voters and said he looked forward to working with all the boards in Fairhaven and everyone who comes in front of the board.
“There’s a lot of stuff we need to do in this town,” said Mr. Da Silva. “And hopefully it’s always for the good.”
He said he will have a positive attitude towards people and try to help them.
SB member Bob Espindola said it was better for the town to have contested races, and appreciated candidates running.
“First of all, I don’t know what he’s talking about,” said SB Vice Chair Leon Correy. “I’d be okay with an uncontested race.”
He thanked everyone who ran or got involved in any capacity.
He made his familiar pitch for people to get involved.
Ms. Powers said it was a “fun and exciting experience” to run for office.
“It’s a rewarding job. You have real impact on your community,” said Ms. Powers. “And it’s worth doing.”
After the cable show was done, Mr. Carr, who was a first time candidate, said he felt “great.”
“It’s a rewarding feeling that the taxpayers put their confidence in me by voting for me,” said Mr. Carr, adding that he will do the best job he can for everyone.
Ms. Da Silva said he was glad it was over with, and he looked forward to doing a lot of good things for the town, especially getting some new taxes into the town.
“I’m speechless. I don’t know what to say,” said Ms. Pickup, who was the top vote-getter, beating out incumbent Brian Monroe, who did win re-election.
“I’m really excited and honored,” said Ms. Pickup. “I’ll do my best to improve and strengthen our schools.”
Mr. Monroe said he felt good and was glad he would be able to continue to serve and would do his best “to make the town proud.
Other candidates who did not attend included BPW candidates Brian Wotton and Daniel Lopes; Planning Board candidate Wayne Hayward; Commissioner of Trust Funds Louise Ponte; Housing Authority candidate Carol Alfonso.
*All numbers are unofficial. The results had not been certified by press time.
Click here to download the 4/6/23 issue: 04-06-23 Election
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