WILBRAHAM – The nominations are in and the stage is set for the Annual Town Election on May 16 after the Democratic Caucus convened on April 2 to nominate its candidates for public office.
The caucus nominated Anna Levine as the challenger to Republican incumbent Board of Selectmen Chair Robert Russell.
Levine, an attorney for the law offices of Couture and Levine in Springfield, told Reminder Publications she decided to run for selectman because she wants to devote her time to doing “positive things” for the town.
“Law enforcement is important,” she added. “I’m a criminal defense attorney sometimes and I understand that putting money into our police force is important. I really don’t know enough about their facilities now. I’ve got to study up on that.”
Levine said ballot questions need to be “better written” during Town Meetings and elections because sometimes there is miscommunication between what town officials are proposing and what residents think they are proposing.
“I think things don’t pass or things do pass because the voters are confused,” she noted.
The Democratic Caucus also nominated Town Clerk Beverly Litchfield for reelection, who is seeking an eighth term. She will run against Republican candidate Herta Dane who currently serves as the town’s human resources coordinator.
Litchfield, who has been in the position for 21 years, said she continues to attend training conferences every year to stay “tuned up” on state laws and other information pertinent to her role as town clerk.
The Democratic Caucus did not nominate any of its members for moderator, assessor, tree warden, cemetery commissioner or to the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School Committee.
Tracey Plantier was appointed to the Planning Board to fill a vacancy left by former chair Richard Butler’s resignation in 2014. She previously served as an associate member.
“I always actually asked to join the Planning Board because I was involved with Wilbraham’s Vision Task Force,” she added. “I worked with that Vision Task Force to create a report that Wilbraham was looking to have completed [about] where the town should be heading for the future.
“The Planning Board saw the amount of knowledge, as a team, that we obtained through that process and realized that it would be really instrumental for the Planning Board to have somebody from that team on the [board,]” she continued.
Plantier has a background in project management analysis and has been on the board for about a year and a half.
John McCloskey, who was nominated for a one-year seat on the Planning Board, said he has never served on the board before and retired two years ago from MassMutual.
“Part of my role at MassMutual was to grow distribution and I was in charge of sales offices across the country in different markets,” he explained. “So, [I would] analyze the markets, making MassMutual’s presence in the market a growth opportunity.”
McCloskey said he has a “great love” for small businesses because he worked a lot with them across the country during his time at MassMutual.
“I think the opportunity in Wilbraham is obviously the difference between downtown, the residential areas, and Boston Road,” he added. “That’s probably the biggest challenge for planning and zoning; how they go about keeping it a residential community, but using the resources we have to grow the future with small businesses.”
The Democratic Caucus also nominated Michael Rustin for a three-year term as water commissioner, Russ Mitchell for a five-year term on the Housing Authority, as well as Lucy Pelland and Marjorie Williams for three-year terms on the Library Board of Trustees.
Williams told Reminder Publications she decided to run for the Library Board of Trustees because “the need is evolving” for libraries, which no longer offer books exclusively.
Candidates can still withdraw from the election until April 15.