Multiple contests brewing for Amherst’s town election, highlighted by School Committee and Town Council

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 09-14-2023 11:14 AM

AMHERST — Several of the 13 seats on the Town Council, five School Committee positions and six trustee seats for the Jones Library could be contested at the Nov. 7 town election, with those interested in running for elective office having less than two weeks to pick up and return nomination papers to get their names on the ballot.

With three incumbents recently resigning from the School Committee, in part citing hostility they faced from the community over the past several months, the two Amherst representatives who remain, Irv E. Rhodes, 173 Pondview Drive, and Jennifer Shiao, 291 Potwine Lane, have both pulled nomination papers, with Rhodes already returning his with the 50 signatures needed to run for townwide office.

Three other residents have also returned their forms to run for School Committee. They are Laura Jane Hunter, 84 Blackberry Lane; Sarah A. Marshall, 64 Eames Ave.; and Martha Del Carmen Toro, 49 Glendale Road. Nomination papers have also been picked up by three more residents, Patrick M. Drumm, 64 West Pomeroy Lane; Bridget A. Hynes, 41 Pine Grove; and Kimberly May Mead, 16 Berkshire Terrace.

The election will come just weeks after the Town Council and School Committee will jointly appoint new School Committee members in October who will serve until early January.

The deadline to file nomination papers with the town clerk’s office is Sept. 19 at 5 p.m. Anyone running for townwide seats needs 50 signatures from registered voters in town, while those running in district elections needs 25 signatures, all from those who are registered to vote in those districts.

Town Council interest

With three councilor-at-large positions available, three incumbents have pulled and returned papers, including 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.

Also submitting papers is Matthew W. Holloway, 63 Maplewood Drive. Others who have pulled papers for councilor-at-large include Jamie Danielle Daniels, 18 Salem Place, Roy A. Johnson, 109 Blackberry Lane, and Liana C. Sweeney, 132 Belchertown Road.

In District 2, incumbents Lynn Griesemer, 83 Flat Hills Road, and Patricia D. De Angelis, 21 Ward St., have gotten and returned nomination forms, as have Amber Lee Cano-Martin, 318 Grantwood Drive, and Charlotte Allegra Clark, 189 Cherry Lane. Sweeney has also pulled papers for the district seat.

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In District 4, incumbents Jennifer Lynn Taub, 259 Lincoln Ave., Pamela Rooney, 42 Cottage St., and Anika Lopes, 61 Chestnut St., along with Holloway, have all pulled and returned papers.

Taub currently represents District 3, which has been redrawn based on the 2020 census, while Dorothy Pam, who also serves District 3, is not running for reelection.

Those who have picked up and returned papers for the new District 3 are former School Committee member Heather Hala A. Lord, 700F Riverglade Drive, and former councilor George E. Ryan, 18 Dana St. Drumm has also picked up papers.

In District 5, Robert Hegner, 27 Tangelwood Road, returned his nomination forms, while incumbent Ana Devlin Gauthier, 883 Bay Road, and Thomas Avery Porter, 1581 South East St., have obtained nomination forms. Current District 5 Councilor Shalini Bahl-Milne previously announced that after two terms she would end her service.

In District 1, incumbent Cathy Schoen, 519 Montague Road, and Ndifreke Ette, 125 Montague Road, are the lone candidates so far.

Michele Miller, elected in 2021, recently announced that she is not running again, expressing gratitude and calling it an honor and privilege to serve.

“As I turn toward projects and work that honor my greater purpose in life, I hope to continue to contribute in some capacity,” Miller wrote.

Library trustees

Library trustees incumbents Austin Sarat, Tamson Ely, Farah Ameen, and Lee Edwards have all picked up and returned forms, and incumbent Robert Pam has picked up papers. Also getting nomination forms were Eugene A. Goffedo, 140 Middle St., and Edward McGlynn, 11 Emerson Court, and Mead.

Other positions on the ballot include three Amherst Housing Authority seats and the Elector under the Oliver Smith Will.

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