Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle wins third term in office

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  • Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, center, chats with Mike Whittemore, right, a member of the city’s Conservation Commission, in the campaign area outside the high school where voting in all five city precincts took place on Tuesday. Joining her are councilor-at-large candidate Koni Denham, left, and Shelby Lee. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle campaigns outside the high school polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Myra Oyedemi and her son, Bryce, 13, take a photo while they wait to check in at Easthampton precinct 1, located in the high school cafeteria, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Voters from all five city precincts cast their ballots at the high school. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle chats with Mike Whittemore, right, a member of the city’s Conservation Commission, in the campaign area outside the high school where voting in all five city precincts took place on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Joining her are councilor-at-large candidate Koni Denham, left, and Shelby Lee. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, left, shares a laugh with Timmy Sullivan, right, of Amherst as she campaigns outside the high school polling place with her mother, Donna O’Connor, center, of Easthampton, and her daughter, Sigrid Wendel of New York, on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 2, 2021. Sullivan, a former student of Koni Denham at the University of Massachusetts, was supporting her candidacy for councilor-at-large. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, center, stands in the campaign area outside the high school polling place with, from left, Shelby Lee, councilor-at-large candidate Koni Denham, LaChapelle’s mother, Donna O’Connor of Easthampton, and LaChapelle’s daughter, Sigrid Wendel of New York, on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 2, 2021. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, left, campaigns outside the high school polling place with her mother, Donna O’Connor, center, of Easthampton, and her daughter, Sigrid Wendel of New York, on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 2, 2021. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Voters enter Easthampton High School on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, where polls for all five city precincts were located. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle campaigns outside the high school polling place with her mother, Donna O’Connor of Easthampton, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Voters in Easthampton precincts 1 and 2 cast their ballots in the cafeteria of the high school on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Precincts 3, 4 and 5 were located in the gymnasium. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Voters in Easthampton precincts 1 and 2 cast their ballots in the cafeteria of the high school on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Precincts 3, 4 and 5 were located in the gymnasium. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 11/2/2021 10:24:17 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Nicole LaChapelle is poised to lead the city over the next four years after being elected to her third term as mayor on Tuesday in a landslide win.

Speaking to supporters at New City Brewery after her win, LaChapelle said her campaign “crushed it.”

“It’s humbling,” said LaChapelle, in comments to the media, on her win. “It’s a clear mandate to keep listening, keep working, own up to what we’re not doing so great, own up to what we are and move forward.”

LaChapelle won a decisive victory over Eric Berzins and Keith Routhier, as well as write-in candidate Donald Torrey. LaChapelle won with 67.8% of the vote, according to unnofficial results. Torrey finished second.

LaChapelle was first elected in 2017, following former mayors Michael Tautznik and Karen Cadieux. At the time, she ran against Joy E. Winnie, a 21-year member of the City Council, winning with about 54% of the overall vote. She had not previously held elected office and ran uncontested for a second term in 2019.

Residents voted to extend the mayoral term from two to four years in 2019 and the City Council recently adjusted the mayor’s salary in increments over the next several years from $82,000, effective Jan. 2, 2022, to $90,000, effective Jan. 1, 2025.

It was the city’s first mayoral election using ranked-choice voting, which voters also approved last election. The system allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference, with the lowest-ranked candidate eliminated and their votes redistributed until one candidate achieves a majority. This process wasn’t needed Tuesday night, however, as LaChapelle won in the first round.

Berzins, who owns Fort Hill Brewery, ran a campaign that often highlighted his conflicts with the city and the mayor, particularly over matters of taxation.

Routhier stayed quiet throughout the election campaign, and did not participate in any public forums.

Write-in candidate Torrey proved to be the most popular of LaChapelle’s three opponents, however, winning around 20% of the vote

In her victory comments LaChapelle said that “housing, housing, housing” would be the priority for her administration. And in comments to the media she said she would like to get at least 100 units of affordable housing in the pipeline in the next four years.

“I’m really serious about that,” she said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.
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