Rochester voters will have a choice in at least one of the races in the April 13 election, with two names on the ballot seeking one seat on the Board of Selectmen.
Incumbent Bradford Morse, a cranberry farmer, will seek his fourth elected term on the Board of Selectmen while former selectman and current Planning Board member Michael Murphy, owner of Murphy’s Auto Salvage, hopes voters will give him another go on the board.
Morse spent 12 years on the Planning Board starting in 1992 before seeking the selectman position nine years ago.
“I want to continue to make fiscally responsible decisions for the taxpayers,” Morse said during an interview on March 21. He cited his involvement with the development of the town’s assessment of the ORR school budget and his contribution to the development of the Rochester Memorial School addition as examples of his track record.
“And now there’s the potential for possibly another town building,” said Morse, referring to the town’s need to either expand the town hall, acquire a town hall annex, or build a new town hall to house all town departments.
Morse said he initially ran for the board to ensure financial decisions were made soundly and to get the town’s finances “under control.”
“And since then, we’ve brought in a full-time treasurer instead of an elected treasurer, and we’ve moved forward in a positive direction,” Morse said.
For a fourth term, Morse said he just wants to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
“I want to continue to serve the townspeople of Rochester,” said Morse. “I am a local businessman who intends to stay and be involved as long as I am in town.”
Murphy ran an unsuccessful campaign against Morse back in 2013, and he will do it again this year in hopes that voters will allow him to take the helm and hold it steady in “the right direction” he says the town is already sailing towards.
Murphy said he is impressed with the leadership and progress amongst town boards such as the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
“We’ve got an unbelievable group of people,” Murphy said on March 22 over the phone. “All the boards are doing today what I wanted them to do before … work together.”
Murphy said that if elected, he would keep his seat on the Planning Board while sitting on the Board of Selectmen. He referred to all the solar farm projects he has seen come before him, and he wants to continue to sit on the regulatory board that ensures development in Rochester stays positive.
He recalled his role as a selectman in forming the Building Needs Committee, which laid the groundwork and the plans for the police building, Council on Aging building, and the baseball fields.
“I’ve got nothing against Brad [Morse]. We get along great,” said Murphy. “I’m running because I’m doing it for the love of doing it. And I’m not getting any younger,” he added. “I enjoy doing it.”
Plus, it gets him away from his business and his cell phone that never seems to stop ringing, he joked.
“I’ll deal with whatever comes down the pike,” said Murphy, if he gets elected. “And we’ll do it in a very efficient way, hopefully, and in the best interest of the town.”
By Jean Perry