Newcomers were the big winners in the annual town elections on Saturday, May 19.
Political novices Wes Blauss and Matt Dyer will join the Hanson Board of Selectmen and Chris Scriven will join incumbent Fred Small in representing Whitman on the W-H Regional School Committee.
Seven percent of Whitman’s 10,589 registered voters cast ballots and in Hanson, 14 percent, or 1,013 of 7,473 registered voters cast ballots.
Blauss was the top vote-getter in Hanson with 545. Dyer received 492, Joseph Weeks III garnered 471 and incumbent Don Howard received 301 votes with 214 ballots left blank for the Hanson selectmen’s race.
In Whitman, Scriven received 516 votes to 331 for Small and 301 for Heidi Hosmer, with another 321 ballots left blank for the school committee race.
Dyer and Blauss said they were eager to go to work for Hanson as a way of giving back to the community.
“I’m blown away and very thankful for all the support and the love from all my supporters, the voters in Hanson, my family and friends who’ve all come out to support me,” Dyer said after Town Clerk Elizabeth Sloan announced results in the Hanson Middle School gym. “I think what the voters were looking for was a younger voice to come and speak and bring new ideas and come at [government] from a different angle.”
He said he thought the difference for him was getting out to talk to voters and town officials to demonstrate he is not a one-issue candidate. He hopes to make a difference and bring in business, but recognizes that will be a tough job.
“My first goal with the board is to make sure we have a good working relationship with everyone on it,” he said.
Blauss was also gracious in victory.
“I think all four of us were good candidates,” Blauss said at his victory party at the Thomas Mill. “It’s a pleasure to have won, but no matter which way the vote went, I would have thought Hanson won.”
He said he has no immediate goals because he entered the race with no agenda, but wants to see the marijuana sales issue resolved sooner rather than later so the town knows where it’s going, pro or con.
“I’m 67 years old, I’ve never run for elective office and it was one thing I felt I probably should do to give back to the town — Hanson’s been a great place to live,” he said.
They were the only contested races on the respective town ballots.
Weeks congratulated Blauss and Dyer, while pledging he would be back to run again, while Howard expressed bitter disappointment in the results.
“I’m going to miss you,” Selectman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett said to Howard. “I liked working with you.”
“I’ve been devoted to the town of Hanson for the last 10 years,” Howard said when asked for his reaction to the result. “They aren’t going to be able to do what they said they were going to do.”
Howard said he would particularly miss representing Hanson on the Old Colony Regional Planning Council, but is still a member of the Water Commissioners.
Weeks lost by 21 votes and said he would “try to jump on some other committees” to continue serving his hometown. This was Week’s second campaign for a seat on the Board of Selectmen. He just completed a term on the Planning Board and sits on the Hanson Housing Authority board.
“It’s a matter of who the folks feel should be representing them and I think the town has spoken about that,” he said. “To lose by a handful of votes is tough.”
In other uncontested Hanson results: Sean Kealy received 845 votes for another term as town moderator; Kathleen Keefe had 821 votes for re-election as assessor; Arlene Dias garnered 804 votes to return to the Board of Health; Benjamin Fletcher got 782 votes for re-election to the Housing Authority; Steve Lyons with 740 votes and August Silva with 770 votes were re-elected constables; Corrine Cafardo with 768 votes and Linda Wall with 814 votes were returned to as Trustees of the Public Library; Bob Hayes received 790 votes for re-election to the School Committee and returning to the Water Commissioners will be William Garvey with 770 votes and Denis O’Connell with 713.
In Whitman; Town Clerk Dawn Varley received 587 votes for another term; Daniel Salvucci was re-elected as Selectman with 560 votes; Priscilla Waugh had 571 votes for re-election as assessor; Wayne Carroll garnered 547 to return to the Department of Public Works Commission; Michael Ganshirt with 547 votes and Kathryn Youngman with 468 votes were returned to as Trustees of the Public Library; Sheila Salvucci was elected to a three-year post on the Planning Board with 546 votes and Barbara White garnered 581 votes to return to the Board of Health.