Large field of candidates emerges for Amherst town election 

  • Amherst Town Hall FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

AMHERST — Amherst voters will decide the three townwide positions on the Town Council and all five School Committee seats, along with choosing the representatives for the 10 district Town Council seats, at the Nov. 7 town election, when all elected positions are on the ballot.

As of the Sept. 19 filing deadline, 21 residents filed nomination papers for the positions on the Town Council, though one candidate will have to pick either an at-large or district position to run for.

Three Town Council incumbents, Mandi Jo Hanneke, 26 Foxglove Lane, and Andrew J. Steinberg, 17 Hitching Post Road, who have both served since the inaugural council was seated in December 2018, and Ellisha M. Walker, 35 Autumn Lane, who was elected in 2021, are seeking to return to their at-large positions. They will be competing against Matthew W. Holloway, 63 Maplewood Drive, and Jamie Danielle Daniels, 18 Salem Place, and possibly Vincent J. O’Connor, 175 Summer St., Apt. 12.

O’Connor also has filed papers to run in District 1, which, if he removes his name from the at-large position, would put him in a race with two-term incumbent Cathy Schoen, 519 Montague Road, and newcomer Ndifreke Ette, 125 Montague Road. Michele Miller announced she is not running for reelection after one term.

The only other district that likely won’t have a contest is District 5 where Robert Hegner, 27 Tanglewood Road, a member of the Finance Committee, joins incumbent Ana Devlin Gauthier, 883 Bay Road, on the ballot. Incumbent Shalini Bahl-Milne is departing after two terms.

In District 2, there will be a four-way race for two seats. Incumbents Lynn Griesemer, 83 Flat Hills Road, who has served as the president of the council since it was first formed, and Patricia D. De Angelis, 21 Ward St., who also has been on for two terms, are both running, facing challenges from Amber Lee Cano-Martin, 318 Grantwood Drive, and Charlotte Allegra Clark, 189 Cherry Lane.

A new District 3, redrawn following the 2020 census, features a three-way race for two positions between former School Committee member Heather Hala A. Lord, 700F Riverglade Drive, former councilor George E. Ryan, 18 Dana St. and Patrick M. Drumm, 64 West Pomeroy Lane.

In District 4, incumbents Jennifer Lynn Taub, 259 Lincoln Ave., Pamela Rooney, 42 Cottage St., and Anika Lopes, 61 Chestnut St., are all running for second terms, while Dillon Maxfield, 290 North Pleasant St., Apt. 3, a member of Board of License Commissioners, has also put his name into the race. Dorothy Pam, who like Taub is a District 3 representative and would have to run in the new district due to redistricting, is stepping off after two terms.

For School Committee, five newcomers are in a field of seven that includes the remaining incumbent School Committee members, Irv E. Rhodes, 173 Pondview Drive, and Jennifer Shiao, 291 Potwine Lane. The others competing are Laura Jane Hunter, 84 Blackberry Lane, Sarah A. Marshall, 64 Eames Ave., Martha Del Carmen Toro, 49 Glendale Road. Deborah Lee Leonard, 401 Old Farm Road, and Bridget A. Hynes, 41 Pine Grove.

Seven are running for six slots available as trustees for the Jones Library, including five incumbents. They are Robert Pam, 229 Amity St., Austin D. Sarat, 76 Snell St., Lee R. Edwards, 5 Wildwood Lane, Farah Ameen, 57 Glendale Road and Tamson Ely, 26 Middle St. The newcomers on the ballot Eugene A. Goffredo, 140 Middle St., and Edward McGlynn, 11 Emerson Court. Alex Lefebvre is not seeking another term.

Only one person, David W. Williams, 158 Rolling Ridge Road, is running for the three Amherst Housing Authority positions and no one pulled papers to serve as Elector under the Oliver Smith Will.

An initial opportunity to meet the public in person will come as the League of Women Voters of Amherst is holding candidate forums at the Amherst Regional Middle School auditorium. The first will be Oct. 5 from 7 to 9 p.m., with the first hour for district Town Council candidates and the second hour for those at large.

A week later, at the same time and place, library trustees will talk for the first hour, with the second hour dedicated to School Committee candidates.