Amherst to head to the polls to pick new leaders

  • Amherst Town Hall

Staff Writer
Thursday, November 01, 2018

AMHERST — Amherst’s first Town Council will have its first 13 councilors when voters decide both at-large and district races at Tuesday’s town election.

After narrowing the field at a preliminary election in September, 26 residents are continuing to campaign for Town Council, which replaces the five-member Select Board and the 240-member Town Meeting as the place that both makes policy and acts as the town’s legislature.

Six candidates are vying for three at-large councilor positions on the Town Council, with four candidates running for two slots in each of five districts.

During the campaign, topics candidates have discussed include how to overcome the divide created by the vote to create a new charter, how to get a new elementary school built or existing buildings renovated, the appropriate scope of development in downtown and ways to enhance the tax base.

The campaign has also seen the formation of Amherst Forward, a political action committee that has endorsed candidates, and pushback and concern from other residents worried about the creation of a town political party.

District 1 contains Precincts 1 and 3, District 2 contains Precincts 2 and 6, District 3 contains Precincts 4 and 10, District 4 contains Precincts 5 and 9 and District 5 contains Precincts 7 and 8.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 10 precincts. Precinct 1 votes at North Zion Korean Church’s hall, 1193 North Pleasant St., Precinct 2 at the North Fire Station, 603 East Pleasant St., Precinct3 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 867 North Pleasant St., Precincts 4, 5 and 10 at the Bangs Community Center, 70 Boltwood Walk, Precinct 6 at Fort River School, 70 South East St., Precinct 7 at Crocker Farm School, 280 West St., Precinct 8 at Munson Memorial Library, 1046 South East St., and Precinct 9 at Wildwood School, 71 Strong St.

Because of the historic election, the League of Women Voters of Amherst is partnering with Amherst Media for a 90-minute show, starting Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 17, that will provide viewers updates on election results, both locally and nationally.

Former state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg will be the host.

League member Adrienne Terrizzi, who helped to organize the show, said it will include Town Manager Paul Bockelman and Select Board Chairman Douglas Slaughter discussing town challenges and issues around the charter, and Mindy Domb, the Democratic nominee for the 3rd Hampshire District, talking about her priorities. Terrizzi will discuss the League’s positions on various ballot initiatives.

She said the evening will also intersperse comments and coverage of the national scene and the critical congressional seats up across the nation that will decide control of Congress.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.