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Progressives sweep Greenfield Council in biennial election

  • Penny Ricketts, who received the highest number of votes for at-large Town Councilor during Tuesday's election, hugs at-large Town Council candidate Andrew Killeen, after the results came in at Greenfield High School on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Precinct 7 candidate Dan Oros, right, congratulates Otis Wheeler who won the Precinct 7 Town Council seat on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 at Greenfield High School. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Andrew Killeen, from left, Marle Maloni, and Ashli Stempel talk after the election results came in for Town Council at Hope and Olive on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Candidates and their supporters gather outside the polls at the Greenfield High School on Tuesday. November 7, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Candidates and their supporters gather outside the polls at the Greenfield High School on Tuesday. November 7, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Voters make their voices heard at the polls at the Greenfield High School on Tuesday. November 7, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Candidates and their supporters gather outside the polls at the Greenfield High School on Tuesday. November 7, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz



Recorder Staff
Tuesday, November 07, 2017

GREENFIELD — Balance will shift on the Town Council with progressive candidates having swept in Tuesday’s general election.

Twenty-seven percent of Greenfield’s registered voters turned out at the polls during the Biennial Town Election. The newly elected councilors will take their seats Jan. 1. Official results, including write-in candidates, were not available by press time.

In Precinct 5, Timothy Dolan beat Marc Odato 298-99, while Sheila Gilmour took Precinct 6 with 290 votes. Her opponent, Russell Johnson, received 60 votes.

Otis Wheeler was the winner in Precinct 7 with 143 votes, beating Dan Oros, who received 100 votes. Douglas Mayo took Precinct 8 with 149 votes, beating Kelly Dixon, who received 99 votes.

Incumbent Daniel Leonovich was reelected in Precinct 9 with 159 votes, beating write-in candidate Suzanne Patnaude.

Incumbent Penny Ricketts and former Precinct 8 Councilor Ashli Stempel were elected councilors at-large, with 1,884 and 1,663 votes, respectively. They beat newcomer Andrew Killeen, who got 1,318 votes, and Precinct 6 Councilor Maria Burge, who received 872 votes.

The results mean the council, which tended to vote slightly more conservatively over the past two years, will lean slightly more to the progressive side come Jan. 1.

“I feel good about that. We’re hoping to bring balance back to the council, and that’s what this progressive wave will do,” Wheeler said at Greenfield High School after the results came in.

Despite temperatures in the low 40s, many candidates spent the day holding signs outside of the school and waving to voters.

Though she got sick the night before the election, Ricketts spent the day sitting outside wrapped in a floral comforter.

“I can’t put in this many months and then be home sick,” she said.

Ricketts, who has sat on the council for four years, said she decided to run for reelection because she has more work to do. She also hopes to resolve a recent controversy that arose after she made a comment about the “fractured” nature of the council.

“If I win today, that’s it, I’m making peace tomorrow,” she said. “We need to work professionally and get over it.”

Although Ricketts won the Preliminary Election, she said she was surprised to come in first during the General Election. She congratulated Killeen, who she said honestly cares about Greenfield, and hopes will find another way to work for the town.

“We were pretty close, so that says a lot about Greenfield,” Ricketts said.

Camaraderie was strong among candidates throughout the day. When Burge got cold sitting outside the school, Oros gave her his jacket and scarf.

“We are a team,” Burge said.

Stempel, who got to the school at 6:30 a.m., said her father made hot dogs and hamburgers in the back of his truck.

“It’s been a great day,” she said. “We’re having a great turnout. That’s really exciting. It’s been a long day, but people are coming by asking questions.”

Across the street, Wheeler kept the energy high by playing music from a speaker that he hung on a street sign.

“It’s been exciting. There’s a lot of positive energy here and I have a lot of support,” he said. “I think the turnout is good for an off-presidential, local election.”

Uncontested races

Tuesday’s election also featured several uncontested races.

Deanne L. Letourneau was elected assessor after incumbent Christopher Miller withdrew his name from the race.

Barry McColgan and incumbent Sally Ahearn both ran unopposed for Trustees of the A.K. Warner Fund, and incumbent Richard Shortell ran unopposed for Elector under the Will of Oliver Smith.

There were no candidates for Trustee of the Jennie L. Boscom Education Fund.