Four-way race shapes up for Granby Select Board

Granby East Meadow School 09-15-2023

Granby East Meadow School 09-15-2023

By EMILEE KLEIN

Staff Writer

Published: 05-10-2024 4:06 PM

GRANBY — Candidates in the coming town election — including the seven candidates in contested races for Select Board and Housing Authority — recently outlined their views at a candidate night forum in hopes of swaying residents to vote for them when they head to the polls on May 20.

The most intriguing race on the ballot is a four-way race for one position open on the Select Board. John “Jake” Arcouette, David Labonte, Nathaniel Albin Masse and Micheline Turgeon are competing for the seat being vacated by Richard Beaulieu.

The other contested race features three candidates in the running — Ronald Richard, Douglas Smith and write-in candidate Dakota Richards — for a seat on the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. The board oversees 56 state subsidized elderly and handicapped apartments and 12 state subsidized family apartments in town.

The rest of the 16 candidates who spoke at the May 1 event, sponsored by the Granby Lions Club, are incumbents running unopposed.

Select Board race

Arcouette, who opened the candidate speeches, has lived in Granby for four years, but his involvement with the community began during his 20 years in Belchertown participating in the Granby Charter Day celebration over the last two decades.

Arcouette plans to apply his background in financial loss control with public safety services to the town’s budget, ensuring the municipality’s expenditures do not outweigh its revenue like the budget has shown in the past 10 years. He has experience writing grants and can assist town administration staff in locating and applying for grants to help cover capital projects and items like a new firefighting apparatus.

He currently volunteers as a shriner with Shriners Children’s New England in Springfield by writing grants for the hospital.

“I really fell in love with what Granby is. It’s a small community where everyone knows each other, and it’s just embodies fullness and I love that. That’s the reason why my daughter and I chose to make Granby our home four years ago,” Arcouette said.

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Labounte decided to make his home and raise his children in Granby 17 years ago. He brings 35 years of experience in construction and knowledge of building regulations to the candidacy, hoping to impact the West State Street Building project that will supply the municipality with a new office.

While all four candidates expressed the importance of transparency and communication with residents, Labounte zeroed in on internal and external communication of government, advocating for more communication between committees and clear communication with residents. He specifically critiqued the town website.

“This is not a place to go if you’re looking for town updates. The last meeting minutes listed for the Finance Committee are from 2016,” he said. “Information should be available in hours not years. It should be accurate informative and not lead to dead ends. It should be a place where information can be found and processes understood.”

Compared to the two candidates before him, Masse’s speech was brief and to the point. A political science major from Central Connecticut State University, Masse hopes to start his political career in his hometown of Granby. Masse said he will always advocate for the views and actions the citizens of Granby want, as long as the request doesn’t compromise his religious values.

“I firmly believe that those elected and representative government have a responsibility to the people that voted them in. That responsibility extends, but is not limited to, sitting down and actually listening to what people have to say and acting accordingly,” Masse said. “That is something I can definitely do.”

While Masse had little experience with town government to describe, the final candidate for Select Board has ample experience in public service. Turgeon listed her six years of service as the health inspector for the Granby Board of Health, 15 years on the Charter Day committee, four years as chair of the 250th anniversary committee and current position on the West Street Building Committee.

She is also a firefighter paramedic with the Granby Fire Department. After her 52-year history of community involvement, Turgeon decided to run for Select Board as the town faces multiple retirements of department heads in the next five years. She hopes to help Granby build a strong future by picking the best candidates to replace the retirees, as well as bring in new business to town.

“We are a farming community. I like to keep it a farming community, but with future amenities,” Turegon said. “By trying to upgrade the infrastructure like the water systems, sewage system, technology support, it engages businesses to look at Granby as a destination for their company.”

Housing Authority

Two seats on the Granby Housing Authority are up for grabs in the upcoming election. Joseph Furnia, the chair of the Board of Commissioners, is running unopposed for his current position. Three other candidates are competing for the last spot.

Ronald Richard has lived in town for over 10 years and currently lives in Phins Hill Manor, a subsidize housing community for elderly and handicapped residents, veterans or local employees. He has also served as a police officer and volunteer for the town.

Douglas Smith is a business owner and renovation contractor whose lived in Granby for six years. He said his expertise in housing will aid him in keeping the units in good shape.

Write-in candidate Dakota Richards, who is also running unopposed for the Board of Assessors chair, has career experience in public housing, and wants to maintain safe and secure housing in his home town.

“I believe housing is a fundamental is the foundation for everyone’s personal physical, emotional safety and well being. I’m committed to helping serve the community of people, our friends and neighbors who are served by the Granby’s public housing,” he said.

Residents can vote in the upcoming election by mail or in person at East Meadow School on May 20 from noon to 7 p.m. If a resident would like to vote by mail, they are advised to contact the town clerk no later than May 13.

Emilee Klein can be reached at eklein@gazettnet.com.