Nashoba Valley about to enter political season

Pepperell, Shirley and Townsend set while Ayer, Dunstable and Groton still accepting papers

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AYER – Last week featured two Nashoba Valley towns ending the nomination period for their 2021 town elections, with three more Valley towns still working on their ballots.

March 19 was the deadline for Ayer residents to submit nomination papers for the annual town election set for May 11. According to the town website, 11 town boards and committees have openings available at this year’s election. Select Board Vice Chair Scott Houde is up for re-election for another three-year term, with him being the only one to have pulled papers to get on the ballot as of March 16.

Jonathan Deforge, secretary of the Ayer Shirley Regional School District School Committee, is also up for re-election for another three-year term. Town Clerk Susan Copeland said that two people have pulled papers to run for that seat as of March 16: Erica Spann and Kevin Bresnahan.

Seats on other town boards will also be up for grabs, including two seats on the Planning Board, one seat on the Board of Health and one seat on the Park Commissioners, each for a three-year term.

On March 16, the nomination period ended in Shirley, with its town election scheduled for May 4.

The town website notes 13 board seats up for grabs at this year’s election, including the Board of Selectmen whose clerk, Bryan Sawyer, is up for re-election for another three-year term. Shirley Town Clerk Bill Oelfke said the incumbent did pull papers to run for re-election, though no challengers have returned papers as of March 16.

Two town boards will each have two seats on the ballot: The Recreation Commission, with Brad Price and H. Keith Begun up for re-election, and the Hazen Memorial Library Trustees, with Julia O’Keefe and Thomas Lynch up for re-election. All four seats are for three-year terms.

The nominiation period in Pepperell and Townsend ended March 8. Both towns have their annual town elections scheduled for April 26.

Nine town boards in Pepperell have spots on its ballot this year, while Townsend has 14 of its boards on its ballot.

In Pepperell, three candidates will be running to fill the seat of William Greathead, the chair of the Select Board who died of a heart attack on Feb. 28. Those candidates running for a three-year term include Lisa Ferolito, Mark Matthews and Amanda Huntington.

In Townsend, Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Wayne Miller’s three-year term is expiring and only Charles Q. Sexton-Diranian returned papers in time to run. Town Clerk Kathy Spofford said that Miller did not pull papers to run for re-election.

Two other Nashoba Valley towns are still waiting for nomination papers to be returned.

Dunstable’s deadline is March 30 with its election set for May 18, while Groton needs papers returned by April 6 in time for the town’s May 25 election.

In Dunstable, 13 town boards will have positions on the ballot, including the Board of Selectmen with member Ronald Mikol’s three-year term expiring.

In Groton, 14 town boards will have spots to run for at the election, including the Board of Selectmen with its crowded race for John Giger’s seat. Town Clerk Michael Bouchard noted that Giger has yet to pull papers to run for re-election, though four other residents did pull papers: Marlena Gilbert, Peter Cunningham, Craig Bennett and Vikram Narayan.