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PEPPERELL — Although there are no contested races in this years annual town election, and most candidates are incumbents, some partook in a luncheon at the Senior Center where each was asked why they want the job.

The lone newcomer to the electoral process is Kathy Low, of Brick Pond Way. She is seeking the North Middlesex Regional School Committee seat vacated by the retiring Sharon Santy.

”I have three kids (educated in the district), and I’ve had good experience on all levels,” Low said. “My oldest was special needs, my middle child is a high school junior in advanced placement, and I have an eighth-grader who is an average student. I’ve seen a lot of what worked with different kinds of kids.”

Low said she has regularly attended school committee meetings for the past two years and had thought about running for a seat. Now that her oldest daughter is in college she has a second-driver in the family, which frees up some of her time.

”Jim McCormick, Jim O’Shea, Jerry Martin and Mary Waight are also retiring, and I was really concerned,” she said. “We couldn’t have Pepperell with an empty spot. The selectmen would have had to appoint someone.”

A 12-year resident and customer service representative at Deluxe Pinpoint, in Groton, Low holds a degree in psychology from Manhattanville College. A Wellesley native, she later moved to Red Hook, N.Y., and worked as branch manager for Chemical Bank of New York. Returning to Massachusetts, the family moved to Pepperell largely because it is too expensive to live inside the Route 128 belt.

”I love the town. I’m very happy with the schools, but you get out what you put in,” she said. “I’ve been proactive with my children and remain in contact with teachers. You must show up for your kids.”

She sees the selection of a superintendent suited for the district as a top priority, particularly with 100 superintendent vacancies state-wide.

”We need time to research candidates. You can’t clone (James) McCormick,” she said. “Teacher negotiations will be tough. You can’t get water out of a stone. The (school committee) job requires someone who will go the extra mile.”

In addition, Stephen Themelis, of Franklin Street, and owner of Nichlaus Painting, is running for a second term on the Planning Board.

”I want to make a difference, and I bring experience to the table,” he said. “I have two years’ experience now. I understand the position I’m serving in and can give more back. Board members are people I trust and work as a team.

”I’m not in it for the money ($500 per year),” Themelis said. “You reach a point when you can give back, and the job becomes your social life. I’m glad to do it.”

Asked about the immediate future, he said, “We’re updating the master plan and the open space bylaw with the Affordable Housing Committee, and (we’re) looking at a mixed-use overlay district and mill complex. All exciting stuff.”

Current Board of Health Chairman Robert Lambert is also running for re-election.

”Having been on the board for three-and-a-half years, I have gotten to know how the town runs,” Lambert said. “We have some fine people working for the town. The other two members are doing a fine job, and especially (Animal Inspector Kenneth West, Board of Health Secretary Lynda Pozerski, Health Agent Edward Wirtanen and town nurse Ellen Castellano).

”I’ve been helping Ed,” he said. “We teach one another. I try to work with people and help them while protecting the town. At $750 per year, it isn’t for the money.”

Public Works Commissioner Frederick Farmer, a four-year incumbent, said he’s running again because he enjoys the job and loves his town. He has 34 years of work on the Cemetery Commission, Industrial Board and Personnel Board to prove that point.

”We have good people, and I’m impressed with those I work with,” he said. “I hope to continue on the job, and now that I’m retired I have more time.”

Asked about the future of Pepperell, Farmer wrapped it up in one word.

”Growing,” he said. “We’re fortunate to have good people.”

Treasurer and tax collector Michael Hartnett, on the job since 2000, is seeking a third term as well.

”When I first ran I, frankly, needed a job and the timing was right. Phyllis Symonds was retiring,” Hartnett said. “My family sold its business and the job was open.”

Hartnett is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor of science degree.

”I enjoy the job very much,” he said. “It’s a split position. The treasurer’s job is very financially-oriented. Towns are basically corporations in their own right, a $20 million business.

”The collector’s job is very enjoyable for me because I get to help people,” he said. “It is committed to strict rules, but you can work with some taxpayers who have fallen on hard times while staying within the law.

”Sometimes, at the end of a day, I feel really good,” Hartnett said.

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