Newcomers fall short in Town Election

May 4, 2021

Voters ultimately favored familiar faces in the May 4 Town Election. 

Alan Slavin was reelected to his seat on the Board of Selectmen by 40 percent of voters. Nearly all write-in votes were cast in support of Tricia Wurts, who launched a late-stage write-in campaign for selectman and earned about 33 percent of the vote. Finance Committee Member Glenn Lawrence earned 26 percent of the vote. Two percent of voters did not cast a vote in the contest.

Apryl Rossi and Geoff Swett were elected to seats on the School Committee. Swett received 627 votes, and Rossi received 602 votes. Newcomer Brennan McKiernan earned 434 votes, while Ronald Besse earned 347 votes. Voters were asked to vote for two School Committee candidates, so Rossi and Swett — having earned the two highest number of votes — won the seats. 

Just under 7 percent of registered voters participated in the election, which included five uncontested races.

Candidates took to social media after the results were announced to thank voters for their support.

“We are reviewing the totals but we want to thank everyone who made their voice heard (emphatically!) that the citizens of Wareham want change,” Wurts said in a Facebook post. “In three weeks, a grassroots write-in campaign achieved something monumental! A very close vote against a long-term incumbent. We will continue to press for change!”

Lawrence congratulated Slavin on his re-election. “Big heartfelt thank you to those who encouraged me along the way and voted for me today,” he added.

School Committee candidates also thanked Wareham voters. 

“I intend to honor your trust and confidence in me by working to make Wareham Public Schools the first choice for every parent and child in the town and even for some who don't live in our town,” Swett said on Facebook, adding that it was a privilege to be back on the committee. “I will also challenge myself to be a part of the governance that makes educators and staff in our schools feel proud of their role in the education of our children and to feel they have a voice in the continuous improvement of that education.”

Rossi congratulated the other winning candidates and thanked voters. 

“I want to thank all those who chose to run for School Committee and Selectmen this election,” she said in a Facebook post. “I hope your continued love and passion for this community grows and you don't give up trying to find ways to improve our town!! Running for an elected position is not for the faint of heart.”

Although the newcomers to town politics did not prevail in the end, their presence on the ballot — or as a write-in candidate in Wurts’ case — energized some voters. 

Change and fresh faces — that was the buzz at the Ethel E. Hammond School polling place, located at 13 Highland Ave.

One woman voting at the Hammond School said she would have voted anyway but said she was there to support Tricia Wurts because she was so angry about how the existing selectmen handled the Notos Group’s controversial “Hospitality District” zoning proposal. 

“I would have voted for a jar of mayonnaise if it was against Notos,” she said. 

When asked why she decided to vote, Marilyn Ramsey said “it’s nice to see change happen.” She said she’s lived in Wareham “forever” and has voted in every Town Election she has been able to.

“I’m excited that there’s a new face [running for] School Committee,” she said. “That’s mainly why I’m here — the Selectmen and the School Committee [races]. I’m excited to see how many people turn out.”

Ramsey said it seemed a little slow as of about 6 p.m., but also pointed out that not everyone was out of work yet. “So I still have hope,” she said. 

Laurie and James, who also voted at the Hammond School and declined to provide their last names, said they were still pretty new to the area, so this was their first time participating in a Wareham Town Election.

“It’s nice that there’s some new choices,” Laurie said. “Some refreshing choices.” 

James agreed: “I think some changes would do well.”

Jerry Kiley said he votes every time he can — and added that he’s been voting since John F. Kennedy ran for president.

“I think [the boards] are all important,” he said. “People want to give their time to the town.”

Additional results

Five officials ran unopposed for reelection to their seats.

Sandy Slavin will serve another three-year term as a Sewer User Commissioner, and James Giberti will spend another three years as a Non-Sewer User on the Sewer Commission.

Deputy Moderator Joseph Ashley will serve as the Deputy Town Moderator for another three years. As Deputy Moderator, Ashley has moderated Town Meeting votes on warrant articles from which Town Moderator Claire Smith has recused herself, and would serve in her stead if necessary.

Longtime Assessors Steven Curry and John Donahue were elected for another three years on the Board of Assessors.