Published April 24, 2019


WAKEFIELD – To not only win a position but to top the ticket was “incredibly gratifying,” new Town Councilor Jonathan Chines said last night during WCAT’s live election night program. Most of the winning candidates stopped by the local TV studio to take a bow and thank their supporters.

“My hope was, if I could get one vote beyond fourth place I’d be thrilled,” Chines said. He credited his strong showing to “a great team of folks helping me out.”

He also attributed his success in part to the idea that some people don’t think town government is listening to them.

“A lot of voters don’t think they’ve been heard by town government,” he said. “People expect town government to be accessible and to listen.”

Current Town Council Chairman Peter May said that he wasn’t sure what to expect going into yesterday’s election.

“I knew it was going to be close,” he said. “I didn’t think it would be this close.

Going forward, May said that the big priorities include addressing the needs at the high school as well as taking care of the town’s roads. He encouraged anyone concerned about the latter to attend Town Meeting on April 29.

May said that the town is better off than it was three years ago and he credited Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio with a lot of that success.

Returning to the Town Council for a third term, Ann Santos also said that she thought the race could have gone any number of ways.

She said that the Town Council’s priorities will include continuing with the downtown infrastructure project, possibly hiring an economic development director and focusing on affordable housing.

“I appreciate everyone’s support,” she said.

Phil Courcy, the top finisher in the Municipal Light Commission race, said that he got involved because he thought he could make a contribution.

The former engineer with General Electric and National Grid said that the challenges going forward include the changes in fuels used to generate electricity. There are solar and wind projects that are starting to be competitive with fossil fuels he said, but the economic costs of converting will be a challenge.

“Rate stabilization will be an ongoing issue,” Courcy added.

Also elected to the Light Commission, Thomas Boettcher said that it was time to look at things in a different light.

He said that municipal ownership of the power company allows residents to have an impact. He said that he felt that his skill sets would be an asset to the commission and the community.

Commenting on the success of the “Yes” vote on Question 1 was Richard Greif, an advocate for increasing the threshold of petition signatures needed to call for an election to overturn a Town meeting vote.

He thought that people took a closer look at that process after the Town Meeting vote to fund the Public Safety Building rehab was overturned.

“It shouldn’t be easy to overturn a Town Meeting vote,” he said, adding that people were “just looking for a more reasonable standard. It still doesn’t take away anyone’s right to petition.”