Cyr, Forcier win Select Board seats in South Hadley, oust Hine

  • South Hadley Select Board candidate Jeffrey Cyr speaks during a candidates forum, Monday, March 26, 2018 at Loomis Village.

  • South Hadley Select Board candidate Bruce Forcier speaks during a candidates forum, Monday, March 26, 2018 at Loomis Village.

Staff Writer
Published: 4/11/2018 12:05:09 AM

SOUTH HADLEY — One newcomer and one incumbent won seats on the Select Board at Tuesday’s annual town election, ousting 12-year veteran and vice chairman John Hine.

Jeffrey Cyr, 48, superintendent of Water District No. 1, won a seat on the board with 1,527 votes, while incumbent Bruce Forcier retained his seat with 1,162 votes. Hine had 1,141 votes. Challenger Scott Moore’s bid for a seat on the board also fell short.

In the School Committee race, incumbent Christine Phillips retained her seat with 1,390 votes, while newcomer Kyle Belanger won a seat with 1,134 votes. They beat Kevin McAllister, an incumbent, and Charles Miles, a challenger.

Running unopposed, Allison Schlachter, also won a two-year seat on the School Committee left vacant after a resignation.

“I’m really looking forward to working with them in an effort to ensure the taxpayers they’re getting what they’re paying for in the town of South Hadley,” Cyr said.

Poor weather did not keep voters from the polls at South Hadley High School, where a 24 percent of the approximately 11,000 registered voters in town cast their ballots. Last year’s town election saw a 14 percent voter turnout, while this year the contested seats on the Select Board and School Committee, as well as a ballot question that banned retail sale and production of marijuana, garnered a high voter turnout.

“I’m pleased with the amount of voter turnout,” Cyr said. “I’m looking forward to working with the people of South Hadley and moving South Hadley forward.”

Scott Feldman, a 31-year-old former journalist, said the marijuana referendum drew him to the polls more than the elected positions. He voted for Cyr and Hine for the Select Board.

“I just thought they were good candidates,” Feldman said.

Maintenance to the town’s existing infrastructure, attracting more businesses and revitalizing South Hadley Falls were priorities shared by all the candidates. None of the candidates had particularly strong feelings about the marijuana ban, with Forcier, a pharmacist by trade, and Cyr erring on the side of supporting the ban.

“Going against two incumbents I really didn’t know what to expect,” Cyr said. 

Cyr, a 43-year resident, is a member of the town’s Appropriations and Capital Planning committees, and formerly served on committees overseeing the Ledges Golf Course, Plains Elementary School renovations, and the town’s economic development.

A South Hadley resident for 27 years, Forcier said he looks forward to continuing his work on the board. Vice president of the Friends of Buttery Brook Park and chairman of the South Hadley, Granby and Easthampton Veterans’ Services District, Forcier campaigned on community engagement and sustained investment in municipal buildings and infrastructure.

“I’ve seen Bruce in action,” said M.P. “Chevy” Chevrett, 66. “He always has substantial things to say and is able to say it in a way that people understand.”

After five months of campaigning and organizing, Allyson Garcia, 39, said she has made lifelong friends with individuals helping to campaign for Miles, Belanger and Schlachter. “They’re not just great people, they’re great politicians. The real kind who care a community and want the best for everyone, not just an exclusive group,” she said. “We need that right now in South Hadley.”

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