STOCKBRIDGE — A two-way race for the Select Board seat held by Roxanne McCaffrey, the current chairwoman, is a highlight on this year’s annual town election ballot.
McCaffrey is seeking her second three-year term. In May 2019 as a newcomer to town politics, she won an upset victory over Don Chabon, the board chairman, by 302-214 with a voter turnout of 33 percent.
This spring, she is challenged by Jamie Minacci, a long-time resident who chairs the Stockbridge Bowl Stewardship Commission and is a member of the Conservation Commission. She is also the town’s representative to the Berkshire and Great Barrington Regional Transportation Advisory Boards. Last year and in 2018, she lost bids to oust Gary Johnston for three-year terms as town moderator.
Minacci, an educator, told The Eagle that she is “committed to open, transparent town government, free from special or conflicting interests, and to ensuring that the diverse interests of the community are informed and have a voice in town affairs. I am also committed to the preservation of the natural, cultural, historic, and neighborhood assets and heritage of Stockbridge, coupled with responsible, common-sense planning for the future.”
In her statement, McCaffrey wrote: “I believe I have contributed to encouraging objective, sound business practices, which have improved our town operations in a cost-effective manner. I have enjoyed building relationships with our town residents, our town employees, and have worked hard to respond to their concerns on so many important issues.”
She also intends to “continue to promote engaged discussion and a sense of community with all of our residents, both full- and part-time.”
“I have worked together with my fellow board members, town employees and residents to overcome the ravages of the COVID pandemic as well as could be expected, given the ongoing challenges,” McCaffrey stated. “Together, we have weathered that storm and hopefully voters will recognize that my efforts have been directed to improving our town in many ways.”
The only other contest is a three-way race for two five-year Planning Boards seats.
Incumbents Kate Fletcher and William Vogt, the current chairman, are seeking re-election. Also running is Elisabeth Danish Wheeler, a town resident for 47 years. She is a trustee of the Laurel Hill Association, the nation’s oldest village beautification society, founded in 1853.
Wheeler, a licensed mental health counselor working with teens and young adults and also a realtor, cited “the shortage of affordable housing, not only here but nationwide for young families and those who work here.”
“What has traditionally made Stockbridge such a wonderful community has been the vibrance of its year-round residents,” she stated. “Affordable housing options and meaningful job opportunities need review to allow young families and working class members of our community the opportunity to live here for the future health of our town.”
Wheeler also emphasized “how important it is to keep our natural resources available to everyone who visits or lives in Stockbridge. The Planning Board has historically done this by working within the parameters of the zoning bylaws and its regulations.”
“I believe it’s imperative to carefully follow these bylaws in order to preserve and protect the environment, as well as the town’s historical buildings which keep the character of Stockbridge alive and well,” she wrote. “These unique characteristics are what make Stockbridge the thriving tourist destination we rely on and I would be honored to serve this truly beautiful place we call home.”
Uncontested positions on the ballot include Teresa Iemolini for re-election as town clerk, as well as Douglas Goudey for Board of Assessors, Nick Fredsall and Nicole Fairaux for two slots on the Parks and Recreation Committee, Peter Socha for Sewer and Water Commission and Dr. John Loiodice for Board of Health.
The deadline for a candidate to withdraw is April 14 at 5 p.m. Unregistered residents who want to vote at the annual town meeting on May 16 and the annual town election on May 17 can register until April 26 at 8 p.m. at the Town Offices. The town has 1,645 registered voters currently.