Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Board to allow House on ballot for Ward 1 School Committee seat

Date: 8/31/2011

Aug. 31, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

CHICOPEE — Ward 1 School Committee member Adam Lamontagne will not appeal the decision of the Board of Registrars that allows his challenger Trina House to stay on the November ballot.

“The Lamontagne Committee is not appealing the decision. We respect the decision and look forward to a positive campaign all the way to Nov. 8!” Lamontagne told Reminder Publications.

Lamontagne and his attorney Shawn Allyn argued that House had not filled out her address properly on the nomination papers because she omitted the apartment number at the building where she and her family resides. Allyn said this omission was a violation of state law and invalidated the signatures, preventing her from appearing on the ballot.

Registrar of Voters Janina Surdyka explained the Board of Registrars had certified House’s signatures and had consulted with the Secretary of State’s office about the address issues. They also contacted people who had signed the nomination papers to make sure they know that House lives in the ward. Everyone they called knew House and where she lived.

Surdyka said that according to past practices of the board — and that neighboring communities have different practices about the listing of an apartment number on nomination papers — there was not an issue.

Allyn objected to the explanation and said of the apartment number, “It’s not a mere technicality; it’s what the state requires.”

Lamontagne told the board, “I feel it’s important as a candidate for full and complete disclosure. Not having the address ,that was misleading to say the least.”

The vote by the board at the Aug. 24 meeting by Jaqueline Dubois, Edward Rybek, Alfred Kendall and Surdyka was unanimous.

Whether or not a city election was bound by state statue was also discussed and City Solicitor Karen Betournay expressed an opinion that this was not a case of fraud and the city did not have to require the apartment number on the nomination papers.

Surdyka noted the city charter does not require that information. She added the inclusion of an apartment number has not been something that has been enforced in the past.

Allyn said ultimately the issue would be left to the courts to review, if Lamontagne decided he wishes to continue the contest of the papers further.

“I just wanted to clarify for the record,” Lamontagne said of his complaint. “Full disclosure is important.”

Surdyka said that in the future apartment numbers would be required.


Speaking to Reminder Publications, House said she found the public hearing to be “a waste of the city resources.

“He’s afraid to to lose,” she said of Lamontagne’s motivations behind his objection. “He’s afraid to run against a mom.”

She added, “I’m not a politician, I’m a mom.”

The first time candidate for public office is active in Cub Scouts and in the Parent Teacher Organization and said what motivated her decision to seek a seat on the School Committee was that she “wanted to help make decisions for the children of Chicopee.”

The mother of a child with special educational needs, House said she has questioned educational practices in Chicopee for such students and wants to be an advocate for them and their parents.

“You shouldn’t have to fight for your child,” she said.

She is concerned about students entering their next grade without being properly prepared for it.

The 15-year resident of the city has said she is not inclined to debate Lamontagne because of “the personal nature of attacks” she said he has made.

“I’m not a politician and I don’t want to be a politician,” she asserted. “I just want to help the schools of Chicopee.”

Bookmark and Share