TOWNSEND — Military veteran Theresa Morse is the newest member of the Board of Selectmen.
Morse defeated Lisa Lewand in the annual town election Monday with 453 votes to Lewand’s 326 votes. She will serve for three years, replacing now-former Selectman Vice Chair Joe Shank.
Morse won District 1 with 135 votes, District 2 with 172 and District 3 with 146. A total of 841 votes were tallied, with six write-ins and 56 ballots left blank across the three districts.
Prior to the vote, Morse, at Town Hall, thanked those who came out to support her and praised Lewand.
“I’m just here to represent the people, it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do,” Morse said. “I just want to say that I appreciate all the support that everyone has given me.”
“(Lewand) is a wonderful candidate with a lot of good people supporting her,” she said.
Morse, a military veteran who had previously served the town as a member of the Energy Committee, Recreation Committee and the North Middlesex Regional School District School Committee, said those experiences made her a better fit for the role.
“I have years of service to the town, already,” Morse said. “(Lewand) has been heavily involved in town politics, but it’s a bit different when you are behind the desk and being asked questions like ‘why did you do this,’ or ‘why didn’t you do that.’”
“(Lewand) has brought a lot of passion, which is nice to see, but passion can only go so far without that experience,” she said.
A number of voters cited Morse’s military experience as a reason for their support and said they “like what she represents.”
“(Morse) has a reputation,” said voter Marilyn Brown. “Not only is she a veteran, but she has a history in town and has been good at finding money or locating funds that have been misused.”
Another voter, who declined to give their name, said they liked “what (Morse) represents for our country” and called Morse “fair, impartial and respectful.”
Lewand congratulated Morse and said “there was no need for animosity” between the two candidates.
“All I want is to see the progress the Board (of Selectmen) has made continue,” Lewand said.
Question 1, the lone question on the ballot, a Proposition 2 1/2 override that would have allowed the town to assess an additional $350,000 in real estate and personal property taxes for the general fund and omnibus budget for fiscal 2023, was largely voted down 652-110.
Incumbents Valerie Goodrich, Susan Robbins, Rachel Palmer, Walker Mann and Todd Melanson were re-elected to their positions on the Board of Library Trustees, NMRSD School Committee, Recreation Commission, Trustees of Soldiers Memorials and Board of Water Commissioners, respectfully.
Voters also chose Elizabeth Sears to fill a vacancy on the Recreation Committee.
Karen Clement, Chris Nocella, Brian Sanford, Aaron Corn, Robert Therrien and Nathan Matilla were voted via write-in to the Amanda E. Dwight Entertainment Committee, Board of Health, Cemetery and Parks Commission, Board of Library Trustees, Planning Board and Board of Water Commissioners, respectively. James Normington was also voted, via write-in, to be the next Trust Fund Commissioner, while Laura Shifrin was voted to positions on the Board of Assessors, Planning Board and Housing Authority.
Town Clerk Kathy Spofford said via email that she would reach out to each candidate regarding the acceptance of their nominations.