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Four Women Running for North Adams Mayor
05:54PM / Friday, July 23, 2021
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city is about to hold some historic elections: for the first time ever, the only names on the preliminary and general election ballots this year are of women. 
 
The deadline for nomination papers was 5 p.m. on Friday and all four women who took out papers for mayor will be on the ballot for a September preliminary election: Lynette Ritland Bond, Rachel Branch, Aprilyn Carsno, and Jennifer Macksey. A drawing will be held for the order of names on the Sept. 21 ballot and the two highest vote-getters will move on to the general election.
 
Mayor Thomas Bernard declined to run for a third term so the city will welcome its first woman mayor in its 127-year history come Jan. 1, 2022.
 
The City Council is also guaranteed to see at least three new faces as incumbents Jason LaForest and Jessica Sweeney did not return nomination papers by the Friday deadline and Benjamin Lamb announced his decision not to run earlier this year. Sweeney took out papers on April 9 and LaForest, currently president of the council, waited until July 13.  
 
Eighteen people total took out nomination papers for election to the nine seats for City Council but only 14 returned papers. In addition to LaForest and Sweeney, Roger Eurbin, who has run in the past, and newcomer Raymond A. Moore did not return papers. 
 
Appearing on the ballot will be incumbents Lisa Blackmer, Keith J. Bona, Marie T. Harpin, Peter Oleskiewicz, Bryan K. Sapienza and Wayne Wilkinson, and challengers Jennifer Barbeau, Barbara Ellen Murray, Michael I. Obasohan, Jesse Lee Egan Poirer, Ashley M. Shade, Heidi Shartrand-Newell, Ronald Sheldon and Joseph Smith.
 
Both Oleskiewicz and Sapienza were elected by the council to replace councilors who resigned within the past year, so this year's election will change a majority of the councilors first elected in 2019 and a third of those currently sitting. 
 
Joining the race for School Committee is its former chairman, Richard Alcombright, mayor for eight years. Alcombright said his work on the recent Greylock School Building Committee reawakened his interest after four years out of office, plus he has a granddaughter entering kindergarten this year. 
 
This year will see a realignment of the School Committee with only incumbent Emily Daunis, elected by the committee and City Council last year to fill a vacant position, running for re-election. Also on the ballot will be David I. Sookey, who ran for the office in 2019, and Joshua Paul Vallieres, a Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts student who had initially had sights on the mayor's office.
 
There are three seats up for four-year terms and one seat for two years to complete a term. 
 
Not running for re-election are longtime member and Vice Chairwoman Heather Boulger, who initially took out papers, Ian Bergeron, who said his employment had changed in the last year and he was no longer able to commit enough time to the committee, and retired teacher James Holmes.
 
There are also two candidates for two four-year seats representing the city on the McCann School Committee: incumbent Gary Rivers and former City Councilor Diane Gallese Parsons, who did not take out papers until July 16 and got them in by the deadline. The second seat had been held for many years by Paul Gigliotti, who died recently. 
 
Candidates have until Aug. 10 to withdraw from the ballot and the last day to register to vote in the preliminary election for mayor is Sept. 1. The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 2, and both elections will be held from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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