New Town Council in Amherst draws interest from 34 candidates

  • Amherst Town Hall

Staff Writer
Published: 6/29/2018 11:52:41 PM

AMHERST — Residents will choose from 34 candidates for the 13 slots available on the first town council, with primaries Sept. 4 to narrow the field for councilor at large and in all districts except District 1 in North Amherst before the Nov. 6 election.

Seven residents, including two members of the current Select Board and one past member, are seeking the three townwide positions, while 27 residents are seeking the two available slots in each of five districts.

Voters March 27 approved the new town charter that creates the 13-member council, which replaces the 240-member Town Meeting and the five-member Select Board. The town manager position remains.

For the three councilor-at-large seats that will be part of the 13-member council, to be seated Dec. 3, those running include incumbent Select Board members Alisa V. Brewer, 5 Fairfield St., and Andrew J. Steinberg, 17 Hitching Post Road, former Charter Commission Vice Chairwoman Mandi Jo Hanneke, 52 Orchard St., moderator James W. Pistrang, 41 High Point Drive, former Select Board member Robert B. Kusner, 49 Van Meter Drive, Holyoke Community College professor Robert E. Greeney, 76 McClellan St. and Information Technology professional Dillon A. Maxfield, 290 North Pleasant St.

For District 1, the candidates include A.J. Hastings co-owner Sharon Povinelli, 493 Montague Road; Cathy Schoen, 519 Montague Road, senior vice president of The Commonwealth Fund; farmer Sarah E. Swartz, 11 Meadow St.,; and Nicola Usher, 37 Harris St., an undergraduate academic adviser at the University of Massachusetts

For District 2, the candidates are teacher Patricia C. DeAngelis, 21 Ward St.; retired UMass Donahue Institute Executive Director J. Lynn Griesemer, 83 Flat Hills Road; Victor Nunez-Ortiz, 5 Blackberry Lane, a U.S. Marines veteran and the vice president of Veterans Advocacy Services; doctoral candidate in educational leadership at UMass Juan Manuel Ruiz-Hau, 86 Pine Grove; and attorney and Amherst Chamber of Commerce President Peter Vickery, 71 Cherry Lane.

For District 3, the candidates include former Finance Committee member Stephen R. Braun, 180 Lincoln Ave.; UMass student John R. Page, 96 North Prospect St. #15; retired academic Dorothy S. Pam, 229 Amity St.; adjunct professor at Holyoke Community College George E. Ryan. 18 Dana St. and teacher Joyce A. Thatcher, 139 Sunset Ave.

For District 4, the candidates are UMass planner Niels P. la Cour, 24 North Whitney St., teacher Jacqueline Lucette Maidana, 22 Lessey St., #512, David G. Reffsin, 117 North Whitney St., a sales director for Pierce Brothers Coffee; James Roche, 22 Lessey St, ; UMass lecturer Evan Robert Ross, 90 Cottage St., #2; and UMass professor and chairman of the Department of Architecture Stephen D. Schreiber, 100 High St.

For District 5, the candidates include Downtown Mindfulness owner Shalini Bahl-Milne, 78 Linden Ridge Road; attorney Paul C. Bobrowski, 55 Hulst Road; retired teacher Darcy A. DuMont, 142 Pondview Drive; former Select Board member Aaron Hayden, 1491 South East St., Amherst Redevelopment Authority member Jeffrey C. Lee, 815 South East St., Samuel A. MacLeod, 1114 South East St., and Theodore Parker, 26 Woodlot Road, president of Kohl Construction Inc.

The town charter mandates a primary take place to narrow the field of candidates only when there are more than twice as many candidates as positions available. The field for councilor-at-large and in each district will have double the number of candidates as slots available in the general election.

Others who pulled papers for townwide office but didn’t turn in the forms included Ivan B. Babian, 187 Colonial Village; Janaya Lynn Collins, 232 North East St., #15; and the late Bruce E. Smith, 11 Surrey Lane, who died last week.

The only candidate who obtained papers for a district seat and didn’t return them was Carroll E. Robertson, 27 Cosby Ave. for District 3.

This article was updated June 30, 2018, at a11:45 a.m. to reflect that Juan Manuel Ruiz-Hau is a candidate for District 2.

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