Champoux, Peterson, Martinson & More Discuss Yesterday’s Town Election Results

WILMINGTON, MA — 2,370 Wilmington residents voted yesterday in the Annual Town Election.  After the polls closed at 8pm, six of the eight candidates on the ballot traveled to Town Hall to learn of the results and speak with the press.

Town Moderator Race

In the race to replace outgoing 25-year Town Moderator Jim Stewart, Robert Peterson, Jr. (1,296) defeated Leigh John Martinson (1,049), 55.3% to 44.7%.

Here are highlights of what Rob Peterson had to say:

On why he ran for Town Moderator.  “Last year, when [Town Moderator Jim Stewart] had to recuse himself for a few articles, he gave me a call and asked me if I would mind stepping in…. When I got up there to do it, I found it fascinating.  I really enjoyed it.  It was something I could see myself doing, moving forward.”

On campaigning.  “I did enjoy campaigning.  My family is ready for it to be over, though.  They’re sick of making phone calls and reaching out to people, and people might be sick of hearing from them, too.”

On the best part of the campaign.  “I made a few phone calls [to let people know I was running], and then people started calling me.  That was the greatest part of the whole race – You expect to be reaching out to folks, but when folks start reaching out to you, it makes you feel good.”

On his political future.  “Down the road, I do continue to see myself involved in public service.  I don’t know to what extent that will be.  Right now, I’m focused on this position… I wouldn’t shut any doors moving forward.”

On his time at the State House as a Legislative Aide.  “I loved working for State Representative Ken Gordon.  It was one of the greatest jobs.  He was a great boss.  If the state paid a little more, I might still be doing that.  Law school loans came due and Sally Mae doesn’t like you to be late.”

On his opponent.  “I want to congratulate Mr. Martinson on a great race.  He’s a good guy.  There’s no bad guys in this race…  I can’t say a bad word about him.”

On his supporters.  “I want to thank my fiancée, my sisters, my brother, my brother-in-law, my aunts and my uncles.  The person I admire most in my life is my old man.  He’s helped me out.  I couldn’t  have done any of this without him.  And, obviously, he can’t do anything without my mom.  It’s one in the same.  They’ve been great.  I also want to thank [Selectman] Mike McCoy, [Selectman] Mike Champoux and all my endorsements.”

Here are highlights of what Leigh Martinson had to say:

On why he ran for Town Moderator.  “It’s really the only job I can do for the town.  Having lived here for the past 12 years, it was a way I thought I could give back to the community by using the skills I had developed in the courtroom and around my law practice to do some good for the town.  We have some difficult personalities sometimes that you have to deal with, and in order for the town to conduct its business in an efficient manner, I thought I could lend a hand.”

On campaigning. “It was a very rewarding experience for me and for my family.  I was able to meet a bunch of people who I likely would not have met.  It’s been nice to meet some of the more established families in town.  It’s been wonderful to meet people who you normally would not run into down at the hockey rink or the soccer field.  For that, I’m extremely thankful.”

On the best part of the campaign.  “It’s brought my family a lot closer.  My kids got a real charge out of this.  We’d be driving around the town and they’d count the signs…  It sort of became a family event. They’re now as invested in being a Wilmington family as I am.”

On his opponent.  “You know, the town is pretty lucky to have two people who really want to help the town who are very qualified to do the job.  I know Rob’s going to do an excellent job for the next 3 years and hopefully for many years to come.”

On his supporters.  “I want to say thank you to everyone who came out and voted today.  It’s a pretty big turnout for a race that you wouldn’t expect to be as hotly contested as it is.  I’d like really thank my wife Kelly, my family, my friends, Selectman Mike Newhouse, Selectman Lou Cimaglia, and everyone else for all their support.”

Selectman Race

In the race for Selectman, 2-term incumbent Mike Champoux (1,954) received a mandate for three more years, soundly defeating challenger Kevin MacDonald (330), 85.5% to 14.5%.

Here are highlights of what Selectman Mike Champoux had to say:

On campaigning.  “I’ve had a strange run in elections, I will admit…  My last two campaigns were against Kevin MacDonald.  That speaks for itself.  I have approached it very much from the perspective of not being presumptuous that the people Wilmington want me just because I’m not Kevin MacDonald.  I really wanted to present myself to the people of Wilmington as a bona fide, real candidate for office.  I hope they come out and vote for me because I’m worthy of the jobs and bring some value to it.”

On the best part of the campaign.  “Portions of campaigning are very rewarding, such as being able to meet folks throughout town that you wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to talk with.  The campaign process engages you and gives you a forum with folks that you otherwise wouldn’t have conversations with.”

On his supporters.  “I’ve been more humbled in this campaign than in my previous efforts by the outpouring of support — the gratitude that many people have expressed to me for staying in the race and staying in local government.  It’s very fulfilling and rewarding for me, this race more so than any in the past.  I’ve made more connections with residents that I feel I haven’t made in the past runs.”

On his supports (continued).  “I’m very grateful to the people of Wilmington for showing up.  It seems like a pretty good vote count today with really one contested race…  We want to get people out and engaged in civics and be involved in local government.  I think this was a positive day.”

On his political future.  “I’m very glad to have the next three years to offer my voice and votes at Board of Selectmen meetings and convey my ideas through town management to the rest of the community.  Beyond that, no long range plans for public service.

Challenger Kevin MacDonald did not make an appearance at Town Hall.

Uncontested Races

School Committee members M.J. Byrnes (1,809) and Manny Mulas (1,578) each earned their second terms, running unopposed.  Both shared some thoughts last night.

“Even though we’re uncontested, I wanted to show that I’m very appreciative of the seat that I sit in, so I did a little bit of campaigning,” said Byrnes.  “I appreciate everyone who came out to the polls to vote today to support the work that myself and my colleagues do on behalf of our students and our community.”

“I’m honored to serve Wilmington on the School Committee for the next three years,” said Mulas.  “I think the residents are proud of what the committee has done as a group.  We’ve worked very hard over the past year, bringing on a new Superintendent.  The committee brought a great leader to the school system for the hopefully the next 10 to 20 years.  We’re very excited we opened up a new high school…  A lot of exciting things are going on.”

Longtime Shawsheen Tech School Committee member Jim Gillis (1,934) and longtime Wilmington Housing Authority member Leona Bombard (1,821) both earned another term, running unopposed.  Gillis was present, Bombard was not.

Retired Town Manager Michael Caira Hosts Election Coverage

Wilmington Community Television did a great job with their 45-minute election result show.  Retired Town Manager Michael Caira was fantastic in his first time as host, asking spot-on questions that evoked great answers during candidate interviews.  Caira showed off his quick wit and charm while demonstrating a firm grasp on the campaign issues and the candidates.  Hopefully Caira will be back in front of the camera next year!

A Look Ahead To Next Year

It’s never too early to look to the next election cycle, right?  On Saturday, April 30, 2016, Wilmington’s Town Election will feature races for 2 Selectmen seats, 3 School Committee seats, and 1 Shawsheen Tech School Committee seat. Selectman Mike Newhouse, Selectman Lou Cimaglia, School Committee Chair Peggy Kane, School Committee member Julie Broussard, School Committee member Kathleen Carroll, and Shawsheen Tech School Committee member Robert Peterson will be up for re-election.

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