Town Meeting ballots finalized in Milton, Georgia

There are only two contested races on Milton’s Town Meeting ballot this year, but in Georgia, voters will see races for two selectboard spots and a new town clerk.

Three people are running for one three-year seat on the Milton Public Library Board of Trustees, town clerk Sheryl Prince confirmed.

In the running are incumbent Tom Frank, plus Beth Bouchard and Lisa Barron. All filed their petitions with signatures from 30 registered Milton voters by the deadline, 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30.

Frank told the Independent in January he ran for office with the mission to support anyone who might win.

“I’ll support the library as much as possible no matter what happens,” he said. “I’m willing to serve, but if there’s someone else who’s willing to step up to the plate, I’d support them as well.”

The other contest is on the selectboard, for the one-year remainder of outgoing selectman John Bartlett’s three-year term. He decided to step down early, citing additional work responsibilities and a desire to spend more time with family.

Seeking his seat are Brenda Steady and Chris Taylor. Steady was last elected to the selectboard in 2014, a race in which she bested Taylor and another candidate for one of two one-year seats. She was unseated in 2015 by now-incumbent Ken Nolan.

Both Steady and Taylor ran unsuccessful bids for the board in 2016.

Also up for election are incumbents John Cushing and John Palasik, who are running for a one-year seat apiece.

And, despite being deployed to the Middle East with the Vermont Air National Guard, chairman Darren Adams collected enough signatures on a petition to run for his three-year seat once again. He faces no competition.

Voters will recognize one candidate for school board: Cathy Vadnais decided to run for the same three-year seat she fills now.

But two newcomers also put their names forward: Shoshawna Mastin and Jennifer Taylor – the latter married to selectboard candidate Chris Taylor – are in the running.

Due to some confusion, Mastin and Taylor ended up pinned against one another for former member DeWayne Nolan-Watkins’ unexpired team. Mastin officially withdrew her petition for that seat and plans to mount a write-in campaign for the one-year term, for which no one filed a petition, she said Tuesday morning.

Mastin said she’ll reach her constituents on Facebook; she’s friends with the majority of people who signed her petition on the social network, so she assumes she won’t have too much trouble getting the 30 votes needed to win the seat.

A mother of three, Mastin said she decided to run for office because she thinks current school board members have stopped listening to the community.

“I’m not afraid to speak up if there’s something that needs to change,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a good thing to have someone who never shuts up.”

As a former Mountain Transit bus driver for Milton, Mastin said she knows first-hand the discipline issues in Milton schools. That’s just one issue she hopes to address if elected.

“I’m not going to back down,” she said. “My kids need an education.”

In Georgia, voters will see a three-way race for the three-year selectboard term. Incumbent Tara Wright is seeking the seat, previously held by Ric Nye, who swapped with Wright and will seek her one-year spot.

Newcomers David Vincent and Scott Richards are up against Wright for the three-year term.

Vincent has waged unsuccessful selectboard bids for the last several years. Richards is a former Georgia Fire Department assistant chief who resigned last year in solidarity with six formerly dismissed firefighters – who were since reinstated – following a battle over a contentious confidentiality policy.

Three candidates are running for the two open one-year spots, including Nye and newcomers Kevin Camp and Tammy Hardy.

For the first time in 15 years, voters will also select a new town clerk. Two candidates seek the three-year term to replace retiring clerk Laurie Broe: Mari Jo Hanbury, who was elected to a town auditor position last Town Meeting, and Cheryl Letourneau, a former Georgia school trustee and wife of current selectboard chairman Chris Letourneau.

There are no contested races for Georgia’s open school board spots – in fact, one term will remain vacant.

School board chairman Carl Laroe is seeking re-election to his three-year position, as is incumbent Kate Barnes for her one-year term. The other one-year spot currently held by Meghan Sweeney is up for grabs, as she isn’t running, and no one filed a petition for the post, Broe confirmed.

A candidate can still launch a write-in campaign – securing 30 votes would elect them to the seat. Otherwise, the board will have to appoint a stand-in.

Maurice Fitzgerald and Tony Heinlein, both incumbents, are running for one four-year planning commission spots.

Elsewhere on the ballot, treasurer Amber Baker is uncontested for another three-year bid, and Carolyn Branagan, a Republican Franklin County senator, seeks another one-year term as town and school moderator.

Kevin Webster hopes to serve another year as town constable, and newcomer Linda Cramer is uncontested for a one-year spot on the Georgia Public Library Board of Trustees.

A three-year library trustee spot remains open, as do one-year terms for grand juror and town agent; no petitions were filed to fill those posts.

Stay tuned for future Town Meeting coverage in the Indy, including stories on budgets, candidate forums and candidate Q&As.

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