Updated with additional candidate forum information Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 5:06 p.m.
In next month’s local election, all townwide races are uncontested, with incumbents running to keep all open seats, according to the official candidate list finalized Feb. 1.
On the Select Board, Vice Chair Doug Lucente and member Mark Sandeen are both up for reelection for three-year terms.
On the Planning Board, members Charles Hornig and Robert Creech are also running for reelection for three-year terms.
On the School Committee, Chair Sara Cuthbertson is running for re-election for a three-year term. According to Town Clerk Mary de Alderete, Town Meeting Member Salvador Jaramillo, who ran in the contested School Committee election last year, took out nomination papers to run again this year but did not return them by the deadline. LexObserver could not reach Jaramillo for comment by press time.
Longtime Town Meeting Moderator Deborah Brown is up for reelection for a one-year term.
The uncontested townwide election comes at a time when local leaders are grappling with controversial, high-stakes challenges with major implications for Lexington’s future. The School Committee, for instance, is in the early stages of planning for a much-needed new or renovated high school while continuing drawn-out contract negotiations with the Lexington Education Association. The Planning Board is refining a proposal for new state-required multi-family zoning that is inspiring strong community reactions. And Town leaders have just reached an agreement on a Fiscal Year 2024 budget after protracted debates about how to meet all municipal and school needs in a tight year.
In last year’s local election, a contentious ballot question about gas-powered leaf blowers and the contested School Committee race resulted in about 27% of Lexington voters turning out. But the year prior, just 12% of voters cast ballots.
In each of Town Meeting’s nine local precinct races, seven to eight seats are open, overwhelmingly for three-year terms. Precinct 7 is technically the only contested race (Precinct 9 was contested until this week, but incumbent Town Meeting Member Michael Schroeder recently passed away). In Precinct 8, on the other hand, only five candidates are running for seven available seats – meaning write-in candidates with a majority of votes could fill both empty seats. In all other precincts, the number of candidates matches the number of empty seats.
The majority of candidates running for Town Meeting seats are incumbents, but there are a few new candidates in the mix. You can view the full list of candidates by precinct here.
If you’re interested in meeting and hearing from the candidates, you can check out a list of upcoming candidate forums below. We’ll update this list with additional information as we receive it:
- League of Women Voters Candidates Forum: Thursday, Feb. 16, 7 p.m., Clarke Middle School, 17 Stedman Rd. Will be recorded by LexMedia.
- East Lexington Community Association (ELCA) and Indian Americans Getting Involved Group (iGIG) Candidates Forum: Saturday, Feb. 25, 11 a.m., Lexington Community Center, 39 Marrett Rd. Will be recorded by LexMedia.
- PTA/O Presidents Council Candidates Forum: Q&A with School Committee candidate Sara Cuthbertson. Thursday, March 2, 5:30 p.m., at the Community Center in room 237. Zoom link available by RSVP.
- South Lexington Civic Association (SLCA) Candidates Forum: Thursday, March 2, 7:30 p.m. via Zoom.
- Merriam Hill Association Candidates Forum: Will be held in conjunction with its annual general meeting, Sunday, March 5, 3-5 p.m., at the parish hall of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 17 Meriam St.
Polls will open on March 6 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Find out more about how to vote early or on Election Day here.
– With additional reporting by Jeri Zeder
How can the town bring greater visibility for these elections in order to spur greater civic engagement? This is a real failing of the town’s governance.
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