While he considers his reelection to the Board of Selectmen a victory for the Town of Rochester, Woody Hartley is not personally viewing the win as a touchdown as much as a first-down.
“I think this is a victory for Rochester. We’re moving forward (and) we’re doing a good job of financial planning… We’ve got a lot of good professionals working for us, and we’re going to continue heading in that direction,” he said shortly after the June 17 election outside the Senior Center polling place. “I feel that, working with the rest of the board and everybody else in town over the next three years, I think we’re going to continue to do things that the town’s people will be pleased with.”
Hartley held onto to his selectman’s seat for another three years by garnering 570 votes on the 1,157 ballots that were submitted. Adam Murphy received 341 votes and Christopher Faustino 229. There were three write-in votes for the seat and 14 ballots left blank.
Of Rochester’s 1,157 ballots, 525 were cast by mail and 632 in person.
Rochester voted 528-451 (178 blank ballots) to keep the town clerk’s job an elected position as opposed to an appointee, and open seats on school committees comprised the only other contested races.
After missing the deadline to get on the ballot, Joe Pires ran a successful write-in campaign to win reelection to one of the town’s three seats on the Old Rochester School Committee. Pires got 232 votes to outdistance Jordan Latham (150).
Anne Fernandes received 857 votes and was reelected to the Rochester Memorial School Committee, and Katherine Duggan was also voted onto the committee as a write-in candidate with 111 votes. Pires got 61 write-in votes, Latham 26 and Lindsay Tallman six (complete results below).
As for Hartley, he said afterward that discussion of the issues should not cease because the election is over.
“There is a hot issue that I want to continue to work on and make sure everybody gets comfortable with it,” he said, alluding to Rochester’s participation in the Duxbury-based, Regional Old Colony Communications Center that also serves Halifax and Plympton.
Hartley said he refrained from making the dispatch service a talking point during Board of Selectmen meetings because it would have reflected unfairly on people he considers “wonderful town officials that I respect.”
Hartley said he never felt there was credence to the controversy but, in referencing an exchange of viewpoints with Murphy via social media, noted the importance of continual engagement with the public.
“My primary focus is to make sure people who feel there is an issue here lingering that we find out about that. I’m not going to let that die and let that lie,” said Hartley. “I don’t feel it should end with this election. … There’s a feeling that (the dispatch) left town and some people want it to be back, and I think mostly because I think they don’t understand how darn good it is right now — because they can’t see it, it’s not here.
“It’s that remote issue … but it is something that is worthy of our whole town feeling comfortable with. By the vote, I would say they believed me when I told them it’s not an issue. I think they believed me.”
Neither Murphy nor Faustino returned calls from The Wanderer in time for this story.
“I like that a lot of people voted. I’m really pleased that eleven hundred-plus voted, and that’s good,” said Hartley. “It was our first time doing our voting (with mail-in voting encouraged), and I think it helped. I think a lot of people voted that wouldn’t have voted.”
The polls were open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, but the election will be remembered by at least one candidate less for a long election day and more for the long election season.
“It was a stressful campaign and it was too damn long. Five months is too damn long for people to be talking about stuff. It really is,” said Hartley.
He and his wife Sharon, a member of the Rochester Memorial and ORR Joint school committees, attended the two “Black Lives Matter” protest marches that were held on consecutive Fridays, June 4 and 11, in Mattapoisett and Rochester, respectively. Woody Hartley also joined Sharon Hartley on the June 15 Zoom meeting of the Joint School Committee with Tri-Town Against Racism.
“I think it’s important for a public official to show up, to listen, to learn. It’s even more important to learn,” he said. “Learn about it, and don’t pretend you know everything about what’s going on. Listen to these young people, these older people, listen to their stories and try to make it better. I think I have an obligation as a public official to do that. I’m not going to ignore it.”
1,157 ballots cast
Selectman (1 seat, 3-year term): Greenwood Hartley III* (incumbent) 570; Adam C. Murphy 341; Christopher S. Faustino 229.
Tax Collector (1 seat, 3-year term): Beatrice Renald* 978; 2 write-ins, 177 blank.
Town Clerk (1 seat, 3-year term): Paul Dawson* 959, 4 write-ins, 194 blank.
Board of Health (1 seat, 3-year term): William D. Souza* 937, 4 write-ins, 216 blank.
Cemetery Commission (1 seat, 3-year term): David R. Shaw* 933, 1 write-in, 233 blank.
Cemetery Commission (1 seat, 1-year term): Daniel Blizard* 916, 1 write-in, 240 blank
Board of Assessors (1 seat, 3-year term): Debra M. Lalli* 935, 3 write-ins, 219 blank.
Park Commission (1 seat, 3-year term): David W. Sylvia* 940, 2 write-ins, 215 blank.
Herring Inspector (1 seat, 3-year term): William D. Watling* 988, 4 write-ins, 165 blank.
Library Trustees (2 seats, 3-year terms): Rhonda E. Reints* 873, Katheryn L. Besch* 772, 1 write-in, 668 blank.
Planning Board (2 seats, 5-year terms): Michael C. Murphy* 861, Christopher M. Silveira 19, 22 write-ins, 1,412 blank.
Rochester School Committee (2 seats, 3-year terms): Anne M. Fernandes* 857, Katherine Duggan* 111, Joe Pires 61, Jordan Latham 26, Lindsay Tallman 6, 11 write-ins, 1,242 blank.
ORR School Committee (1 seat, 3-year term): Joe Pires* 232, Jordan Latham 150, Michael Murphy 6, 26 write-ins, 743 blank.
Water Commission (1 seat, 3-year term): Frederick W. Underhill Jr.* 939, 2 write-ins, 216 blank.
By Mick Colageo