Published January 21, 2021
By MAUREEN DOHERTY
NORTH READING — Rich McGowan, you may go to the head of the class. The School Committee member was the first candidate to come forward on Tuesday and pull nomination papers on the first day that they became available for the town’s 2021 spring election.
McGowan is finishing up his first three-year term on the board.
“It’s been my honor to serve as a School Committee member the last three years. I’m proud of our accomplishments, especially hiring Dr. Daly as Superintendent and helping to lead the district through the COVID-19 pandemic,” he told the Transcript.
“I’m seeking a second term so that I can continue to see the district through this unprecedented period, and make sure North Reading Schools come through stronger than ever, well positioned to move forward,” McGowan said.
He added, “I look forward to continuing our work developing the district’s digital learning capabilities, implementing more Universal Design for Learning, increasing opportunities in foreign language and science and technology, and doing everything I can to support the students and families of North Reading.”
Seats on three boards plus the town moderator’s position are up for election this year. There are two seats with three-year terms on the School Committee, Select Board and Community Planning Commission (CPC) and one seat for a one-year term for Town Moderator.
There are no vacancies for an elected five-year seat on the town’s Housing Authority this year because an appointed position to that board will be made instead, according to Town Clerk Barbara Stats.
Election Day: May 4
Provided nothing changes related to COVID-19 this year, Election Day is Tuesday, May 4. The deadline for candidates to return nomination papers to the Town Clerk’s office is Tuesday, March 16 at 5 p.m. (The Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall, 235 North St. will remain open an extra hour on the deadline day to accept the nomination papers.)
All candidates are required to obtain a minimum of 50 signatures from town residents who are registered to vote in the town of North Reading to be eligible to be included on the ballot. Therefore, Stats advises candidates to submit more than the minimum number of signatures required because her office is unable to certify signatures that are “duplications, illegible or ineligible.”
Once a candidate is certified as eligible to run for an elective office, the last day that candidate can choose to withdraw his or her name from the ballot is Thursday, April 1 at 5 p.m.
Candidates must call in advance
Since COVID-19 restrictions are still in place this will be the first time candidates will need to make an appointment with the Town Clerk’s office to obtain nomination papers.
“All persons who are interested in running for local office will be required to call us ahead for an appointment to pick up their candidate packet and nomination papers, to abide by the safety measures in place at the Town Hall and maintain distancing in the restricted ‘common’ area where all in-person business is taking place,” Stats said.
Call 978-357-5218 to make an appointment during regular business hours, Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Register to vote by April 14
The last day a resident of the town can register to vote to participate in the May 4 annual town election is Wednesday, April 14 at 8 p.m.
Elective offices for 2021
The following seats are up for election this year. The names of incumbents are listed in parentheses:
• Two seats for three-year terms on the Select Board (Kate Manupelli and Stephen O’Leary);
• Two seats for three-year terms on the School Committee (Dyana Boutwell and Rich McGowan);
• Two seats for three-year terms on the Community Planning Commission (Ryan Carroll and Bill Bellavance). Please note: Bellavance stepped down last month and his seat will remain vacant until the CPC and Select Board make a joint appointment to be in effect until election day.
• One seat for a one-year term for Town Moderator (John Murphy);
• One seat for a five-year term on the Housing Authority (no vacancy; this seat will be open for appointment).
Candidates for any municipal office are required to file campaign finance reports on specific dates per the provisions of Mass. General Laws Chapter 55. Those with questions about this process may contact the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance for assistance by phone: 617-727-8352, email: email@example.com or visit the website at www.mass.gov/ocpf.
For additional assistance the public may also call the Town Clerk’s office at 978-357-5218.