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Is Kantor unopposed for Conway Selectboard?



Recorder Staff
Thursday, May 17, 2018

CONWAY — Voters may only see Philip Kantor’s name on the ballot for a Selectboard seat today, but he apparently has an opponent.

Selectboard Chairman John O’Rourke confirmed he knows of a write-in campaign for Robert Baker, the selectman who decided against running for re-election. But, O’Rourke said, he did not believe it was led by Baker, who did not initially accept nomination papers.

Baker was not available for comment Wednesday.

Polls in the annual town election are open today from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Town Hall on Academy Hill Road.

Regardless of whether Baker is a write-in candidate, Kantor is also known in the community.

He moved to town in 2004 and has served on the school committees for both Frontier Regional School and Conway Grammar School for a number of years. Kantor, who has a daughter in 11th grade at Frontier, is currently the secretary of the Frontier Regional School Committee and head of the policy subcommittee, as well as serving on the budget subcommittee.

“Because the schools are about 75 percent of our budget, I think it’s a better situation for the town if the Selectboard isn’t always flying blind into those things,” Kantor said, who will remain on the School Committee for the last year of his three-year term.

Kantor said he was particularly proud of this week’s Annual Town Meeting. “The fact people had opinions and cared” is a symbol of a vibrant democracy, he said, in reference to the debate over the “safe city/immigrant” article. “I believe that our disagreements make us stronger.”

Kantor, who was the president of Conway’s Historical Society for about four years, mentioned that he feels, despite the opinion of some residents, that it is fitting and within the character of Conway to talk about national politics on the local floor.

He talked about a 1792 Conway Town Meeting, the only record of which says there was a declaration by residents to declare war on the Republic of France, later to be known as the “the Quasi-War,” an undeclared naval war between the U.S. and France between 1798 and 1800.

“It’s in our DNA,” Kantor said. “It’s in all of these hilltowns’ DNA, to make their voices known.”

Kantor said he looks forward to working with a board that he said he is already friendly with, and looks forward to learning from different perspectives.

Regardless of whether Baker runs as a write-in candidate, he said, “I love the family. I love everything about them. I have my pancakes there every weekend. The Baker family is the beating heart of the town and I’m honored to take his spot if I get elected.”

Other positions

Michael Merritt is running unopposed for the two-year local School Committee seat.

Russell French is running unopposed for re-election for the three-year assessor seat.

Mary McClintock, the current chairwoman, is running for re-election for one of the two three-year open seats on the Planning Board. No one is on the ballot for the other seat.

Marie Jose Iken is running for one of the two three-year seats on the Board of Health. No one is on the ballot for the other seat.

Nick Filler is running unopposed for re-election for a one-year seat as moderator.