Incumbents unseated in Belchertown, Granby elections

  • Belchertown Town Hall. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Friday, May 24, 2019

BELCHERTOWN — Challenger Jen Turner and incumbent Ed Boscher won the race for two Select Board seats, unseating vice chairman of the board George “Archie” Archible in the town’s election Monday night.

Turner, chairwoman of the Belchertown Cultural Council, got 597 votes — the most of the three candidates, according to Town Clerk Colleen Toothill-Berte. Turner, who was not previously on the board, works as a consultant, frequently collaborating on projects with small businesses.

“I’m excited to be working hard for Belchertown community,” Turner said in a phone interview Monday evening. “I’m just looking forward to fulfilling all the reasons I ran — to help with the economic development of the town and help with the growth and transformation for the town.”

Boscher, an incumbent who has been on the board for a year, received 551 votes. He is a certified professional planner in South Hadley at Summit House Wealth Partners.

Archible lost Monday’s election with 405 votes.

Of the 10,554 registered voters, 925 cast their vote in the high school gymnasium, according to Toothill-Berte. That’s about an 8.76 percent voter turnout.

“I’m disappointed in that but I was not surprised at the low turnout. I wasn’t expecting a large one,” Toothill-Berte said. “I’m always disappointed when more of the local citizens don’t take part in local elections.”

No other race was contested, but votes were also cast for positions on the School Committee, Planning Board, Board of Assessors, Board of Health and Housing Authority.

Some votes still need to be counted manually and the results finalized, but Toothill-Berte said the outcome will not change.

Silva wins Granby seat

Granby also held an election on Monday evening. One three-year seat on the Select Board was up for grabs in the town’s annual election along with positions on the Board of Assessors.

Incumbent and Select Board Chairman Stephen Chojnacki lost his seat to Jennifer Silva, with a vote of 218 to 465, according to Town Clerk Katherine Kelly-Regan.

Silva was unable to be reached for comment Monday night.

In a recent interview with the Gazette, Silva, 41, called for greater transparency in local government and bringing more business to the town. She also told the Gazette that she wants to change the “‘what we have always done’ mentality” she sees in the town. Silva, who ran as a write-in candidate in 2016, works at The Collaborative for Educational Services as a site coordinator.

In the only other competitive town election, Gary Aldrich, William Johnson and Keri-Ann Wenzel all ran for one two-year term on the Board of Assessors. Wenzel won with 234 votes while Aldrich received 223 and Johnson 198.

Residents voted for other positions, including those on the Housing Authority, Planning Board, School Committee and Board of Health.

Results of the election are unofficial and will be certified by the town clerk.

Of the 4,546 registered voters, 697 cast a ballot on Monday night, according to Kelly-Regan.

“That makes it about 15 percent that came out to vote, which is actually not bad for a local election,” Kelly-Regan said.

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.