EAST LONGMEADOW- The Board of Selectmen swore in their newest member, Enrico "Jack" Villamaino, Jan. 24 following his victory in a special election on Jan. 23.
Villamaino won the election over William Gorman by a 174-vote difference, 985 to 811, with 18 percent of registered voters reporting to the polls.
"I was very happy with the results," Villamaino said. "I honestly did not know what to expect. It's the first time I know of that an election has been held in January since I have been a registered voter."
Villamaino said the Board was re-organized following his swearing in. "I am now the clerk, who is the number three man on the Board," he said. "Jim Driscoll is still the chair and Joe Townsend, who was the clerk, is now the chairman for the Board of Health."
Villamaino said he was nominated by Townsend to be the chair of the Board, but he declined. "I didn't think it was right for a new member to be in charge of the Board," he said.
Villamaino expressed his goal for the Board is to get things back to business as usual. "With the state of the Board recently, the Selectmen wanted to wait until there was a full Board because they had been deadlocked. Now the Board can efficiently go about its duty," Villamaino said. "People should be happy to know things are getting done."
Villamaino has wasted no time getting involved with the community. "I am the liaison to the Fire Department and the School Board, and I'm on the Senior Center Study Committee," he said.
Prior to his election, Villamaino said he was the legislative secretary to state senator Brian Lees. "When he decided not to run for another term, I ran for his seat and lost to a formidable opponent," he said. "Three days later this seat opened up. This is my first time being elected to an office."
Villamaino said he was also an appointee of former Governor Mitt Romney to serve on the Massachusetts Juvenile Justice Committee, which looks at alternatives to detention for juveniles.
Villamaino said Gov. Deval Patrick is keeping him on the committee as well. "The formal announcement should come in about two weeks," he said.
Villamaino had a message for the voters who showed up at the polls. "I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to those who voted for me," he said. "And to those who didn't vote for me, I hope to do my best to win them over."