UPDATED, April 11: Results have been received in an annual town election, held Saturday, April 10, that saw three contested races -- for Select Board, the Board of Assessor and the Housing Authority board.
The first two contests were relatively quiet, and the last was heated, marred by charges of harassment in the final week, as newcomer Kelda Fontenot, endorsed by Arlington Fights Racism, lost to 20-year incumbent Nick Mitropoulos, 2,926 to 2,303, in unofficial counts.
Winning three-year seats on the Select Board were Town Meeting member Eric Helmuth (4,035) and incumbent John Hurd (3,170). Jennifer Susse, a former member of the School Committee, lost by 42 votes (3,128).
Keeping one three-year seat on the Board of Assessors was 30-year incumbent Kevin Feeley, who received 2,216 votes, topping first-timers Philip Lohnes (1,889) and Guillermo S. Hamlin (1,288).
Two School Committee incumbents, Jane Morgan (4,393) and Jeff Thielman (4,280), were unopposed.
Here are the results for Town Meeting >>
Reports about ballot casts in a variety of precincts indicated a possibly low turnout, but without knowing how many cast ballots that were placed in drop boxes or by mail, it was hard to predict. From 2000 through 2018, the average turnout in town elections was 21.64 percent.
Turnout for this town election was 19.46 percent, according to the unofficial numbers from the town.
At 5:20 p.m. Election Day, Precinct 12 was reported to have run out of ballots. YourArlington asked Town Clerk Juli Brazile, and she responded:
"I knew they asked for more ballots and we sent them. I only later heard reports that the precinct ran completely out. I'll follow up with the Warden to understand the sequence of events and how they handled it."
Postelection statements issued
YourArlington requested statements from all candidates for key contested offices.
Helmuth wrote April 11: "I'm deeply grateful to the people of Arlington for entrusting me with this opportunity, and I am thrilled to have this chance to serve the town that I love so much.
"I'm also grateful to Jennifer and John for running positive campaigns and for their outstanding service to the community. I congratulate John for his reelection to the board and look forward to working with him and many others to tackle the challenges Arlington is facing. It is an honor to have earned the support of Arlingtonians from many walks of life and I will work hard to keep listening and work collaboratively to find the best path forward together.
"I hope I can play a small part in making our government even more inclusive and responsive to everyone who calls Arlington home."
Susse wrote April 11: "I am proud of the positive and issues-focused race I ran for the Arlington Select Board. I am especially grateful for the many hours that supporters put into the campaign.
"With a loss this close, it is easy to second-guess campaign decisions -- should I have knocked on doors, made more phone calls, held signs earlier, etc.? -- but the truth is that Eric Helmuth and John Hurd are both thoughtful public servants with deep and genuine support in our community. I think highly of both of them and have indicated many times in this race that Arlington would be well-served whoever won.
"I know that Eric and John will effectively represent all of Arlington’s residents on the issues that confront us—our housing affordability crisis, our efforts to be a more inclusive and equitable community, the effects of the global pandemic on our businesses and residents, the climate emergency, and the need to increase transparency and public engagement. I congratulate both Eric and John on well-deserved wins, as well as for the positive campaigns they led, and look forward to working with both of them in the months and years to come for the betterment of Arlington.
"I will continue to be active in Arlington, as a Town Meeting member, as a member of the Election Modernization Committee, and as an advocate for common sense zoning reform."
Lohnes wrote April 11: "I want to congratulate Kevin Feeley on his win in the Board of Assessors race. Perhaps more importantly, I would like to thank both Mr. Feeley and Mr. Hamlin for running clean affirmative races: both of my opponents are men of honor. One of them found my invitation to the League of Women voters debate stuck to his own and alerted the League, which is how I eventually got my invite. There is still civility to be found: I know I speak for all three of us when I say may our example help spread that civility.
"I want to share one story from my campaign: After e-mailing I went to the home of some neighbors to collect signatures. The wife had been waiting for a heart transplant the last I had heard. I was overjoyed, when I stood on their porch waiting, to see her hale and walking around. I was informed that she in fact had her transplant many months before. Fast forward to election day, and I saw them walking to polls together: a sign of further recovery. There are some things that transcend politics."
Mitropoulos wrote April 11: "Citizens of Arlington, I wanted to take this moment to thank you for your support in Saturdays election. I am honored and humbled to have earned your confidence and to allow me to continue working with the Arlington Housing Authority Board of Commissioners for the next five years. I promise you I will be committed to the well being of our residents and to continue to be open, focused, and supportive to the needs of the community. Again, thank you for your support."
Hamlin wrote on social media April 10: "Good evening, I heartily congratulate Kevin Feeley & Philip Lohnes for running fair & robust townwide campaigns. I wish them both continued success, but especially Mr. Feeley in his re-election to the Board of Assessors.
"Together, we all kept to the issues & highlighted our varied experiences. With that, we received a good showing despite low turnout. These totals tonight reveal that I have been defeated & in good grace I accept this loss. We have lots to be proud of in how we ran these races.
"For the good sportsmanship that never wavered since we began this race. I wish you all the best as we enter the Spring. Finally, I look forward to continuing the work of Arlington with new, as well as returning Town Meeting members. Please join me in cohering despite the differences. To govern in a more accessible fashion. We have a lot on our plate & I’m grateful to continue being a part of it with you all. Oh, and run for office. Again & again. Exercise your civic voice."
Candidates Night, on March 31, gave Select Board and assessor candidates chances to reveal their views, and they took on affordable housing, community outreach and assessments. The public looked forward to hearing from the Housing Authority hopefuls, but were disappointed. Mitropoulos was present, but Fontenot was not, as she was giving birth, and league rules do not permit one candidate to speak.
Town Meeting candidates
Envision Arlington was the host for a virtual Town Meeting Candidates' Night, held Wednesday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. Local issues were discussed with candidates from your precinct who are running to be your representatives in Town Meeting.
There were individual break-out rooms for each precinct.
The League of Women Voters, in partnership with Envision Arlington, invited all candidates for Town Meeting to submit personal statements, which are available here >>
Here's the list to date, first for townwide offices from the town website (* = candidate for reelection):
(2 seats for 3-year terms)
Jennifer R. Susse (applied 12/16/20, certified 1/25/21)
John R. Hurd* (applied 12/16/20, certified 2/1/21)
Eric D. Helmuth (applied 12/17/20, certified 1/5/21)
(2 seats for 3-year terms)
Jane P. Morgan* (applied 12/17/20, certified 1/7/21)
Jeffrey D. Thielman* (applied 12/18/20, certified 1/22/21)
Board of Assessors
(1 seat for 3-year term: Kevin Feeley was reelected in 2018)
Kevin P. Feeley* (applied 2/4/21, certified 2/18/21)
Guillermo S. Hamlin (applied 12/18/20, certified 1/26/21)
Phillip P. Lohnes (applied 1/8/2021, certified 2/19/21)
(1 seat for 5-year term)
Nicholas C. Mitropoulos* (applied 1/7/21, certified 2/16/21)
Kelda Fontenot (applied 2/19/21, certified 2/22/21)
An additional 1-year remainder term is occupied by a vacancy appointment. On Nov. 30, Fiorella Badilla was appointed to fill a vacancy left by Richard Murray.
Town Meeting member seats on the ballots
Precinct 1 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 2 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 3 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 4 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 5 – 4 seats for 3 years, 1 seat for 2 years
Precinct 6 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 7 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 8 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 9 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 10 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 11 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 12 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 13 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 14 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 15 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 16 – 4 seats for 3 years, 1 seat for 1 year
Precinct 17 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 18 – 4 seats for 3 years, 1 seat for 2 years
Precinct 19 – 4 seats for 3 years, 1 seat for 1 year
Precinct 20 – 4 seats for 3 years
Precinct 21 – 4 seats for 3 years
April 4, 2021: Select Board, assessor responses highlight Candidates' Night
March 16, 2021: Fontenot challenges AHA incumbent, backs inclusion
March 18, 2021: AHA chairman seeks reelection, touts experience
March 8, 2021: CPA, 61, seeks seat on Board of Assessors
Feb. 12, 2021: Curro resigns from board 2 months early
Jan. 27, 2021: Hurd seeks reelection to Select Board
Jan. 17, 2021: Precinct 14 meeting member eyes Board of Assessors
Jan. 3, 2021: Susse calls housing her focus in Select Board run
League of Women Voters' guide to all of the candidates | Menotomy Matters' election guide
This news summary was published Saturday, April 10, 2021, and updated April 11, to add link to Town Meeting results.
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