Hudson Candidates Introduce Themselves
February 24, 2017
by Laurie Jasper
GFWC Hudson Junior Woman’s Club and Hudson Community Club co-hosted Candidates Night on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Hudson Junior Woman’s Club President Linda Kipnes thanked everyone for attending the annual event.
Town and School District Moderator Paul Inderbitzen moderated the forum of both town and school district candidates, which was also televised live on Hudson Cable Television. Approximately 50 audience members filled the chairs and even some of the bleachers of the Hudson Community Center, an increase in attendance from past candidates nights.
During the first portion of the evening, Inderbitzen allowed each candidate up to three minutes to introduce him or herself and share a brief opening statement.
Margaret Huard, Stacy Milbouer and Malcom Price each registered as candidates for school board. There are two three-year positions open on the board. Their names will be on the ballot. A fourth candidate, Gary Gasdia, decided to run for school board after the filing deadline and announced a write-in campaign. Gasdia participated in candidates night.
Huard said she is a licensed, certified public accountant with additional education in psychology, and has been a leader for the Boy Scouts. Huard said, “I hope to assist the school department in utilizing the budget more effectively and recommend and implement other internal controls to prevent the school district resources from being wasted or otherwise misappropriated and gain control of the ever increasing school budget as enrollment continues to decline.”
Milbouer is currently the school board’s vice chairman and is completing her first term on the board. Milbouer has a master’s in education degree and a bachelor’s degree in English and American studies, and is a teacher and journalist. She said being a member of the school board is a lot of hard work and a big commitment. In response to what the previous speaker said, Milbouer said, “We have a lot of great people in our SAU, that (budget) is their expertise. I respect these people.” Milbouer said she cares about the happiness and the education of our children, stating, “I want them to be the best they can be.”
Price, a three-year member of the budget committee who is completing his second year as chairman, was unable to attend the forum but submitted a letter which was read by Inderbitzen. Price said his emphasis is on education. He’d like to see full day preschool and kindergarten and early substance abuse intervention. In his remarks, Price stated his slogan is, “Education is the new currency.”
Gasdia moved to Hudson in 2003, has been a Cub Scout master and coached baseball and basketball. Gasdia said he has been on the board for the senior center and for the library. “In Hudson, our goal, as far as I can tell, is to maintain the status quo, tread water and just keep ourselves off a watch list. That’s not good enough,” Gasdia said.
Voters will be electing a school district moderator to a three-year term. Paul Inderbitzen is running unopposed for re-election. For school district clerk, Patty Barry is running unopposed for one three-year term and did not attend. Two people, David Kelley and Cecile Nichols, are running for one three-year term for school district treasurer, but neither candidate attended the forum.
On the town portion of the ballot, there are three candidates vying for one three-year term on the Hudson Board of Selectmen, and all three candidates were present. Christopher Cleaver has lived in Hudson for five years. He said he would like to give back to the community as a selectman, and will keep an open mind.
Richard Maddox, a 28-year resident of Hudson, spoke of his experience as a 12-year member of the board of selectmen and 17-year member of the planning board, his dedication to be involved, do his homework and ask the tough questions, and his passion to make Hudson an even better community. Maddox said he would like to focus on the infrastructure.
David Morin has lived in Hudson for 37 years and retired last year after 33 years on the Hudson Fire Department with the rank of captain. He said in that position he worked every day with every department, which gave him great knowledge of how the town works. Morin said he has volunteered in the community, including the 9/11 Memorial, Firefighters Memorial as well as in other organizations. Morin would like to continue to serve the people of the community as a selectman.
For budget committee, there are three three-year terms for which no one placed their name on the ballot. Inderbitzen encouraged people to consider running a write-in campaign for those vacancies.
In addition to those three openings, there is one one-year term on the budget committee for which two incumbent members of the committee have submitted their names. Joseph Fernald said his past year on the budget committee was a great learning experience. Fernald announced that he would like people to vote for the other candidate on the ballot for the one-year term, Shawn Murray, and write-in Fernald’s name for one of the three-year terms. Fernald’s opponent, former Fire Chief Shawn Murray, was unable to attend but submitted a letter asking for support.
David Alukonis is running unopposed for the three-year position of cemetery trustee and did not attend the forum.
Two three-year terms on the Code of Ethics have two candidates; Todd Terrien, who participated in the forum, and Jared Stevens, who did not. There is a vacancy for one two-year term on the Code of Ethics.
There are two three-year terms for library trustee available and three people running for the positions. Barbara Blue has lived in Hudson since 1978 and is recently retired. She has a master’s in education and was a school librarian in Manchester, among other careers. She said her friend, Mary Anne Knowles, who recently passed away, convinced her to run for library trustee.
Steven Middlemiss currently serves as a library trustee and is running for re-election. He was unable to attend the forum but submitted a letter. Middlemiss has lived in Hudson since 1980 and was involved in the planning of the Rodgers Memorial Library with his father-in-law, G. Philip Rodgers.
Kara Roy was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board of library trustees in August, 2016. “I think we’ve made some progress in the administration of the library to make it run a little more smoothly,” Roy said.
Harry Schibanoff is running unopposed for one three-year term as a trustee of the trust fund, which he has been a member of for six years. Schibanoff said the three members oversee the funds of the town and invest them in a prudent and sound manner.
Following the introduction of candidates’ portion of the program, Inderbitzen read questions submitted from the audience. There were many questions.
Candidates for selectmen were asked whether they are in favor of an entrance fee at Benson Park. All three answered no.
Similarly, selectmen candidates were asked whether they are in favor of Town Warrant Article 6, the new fire station, and each answered yes.
School Board candidate Huard was asked why she did not finish her term on the budget committee, whether she felt she worked well with the other board members and, if not, what she would do differently while working with school board members. Huard replied, “First of all, I did not run for budget committee, I was running for school board and I was elected to budget committee by write-in.” Huard continued, “Being a CPA I have a certain amount of ethics and due diligence I have to perform before I can recommend a budget to the public. Unfortunately, I was met with a significant amount of opposition by my own chairman and was not able to go forward and recommend the budget to the public and chose to step down.” She concluded, “I would absolutely give the commitment to go the full term providing I wasn’t met with the same opposition.”
The school board candidates were asked about their thoughts on full-day kindergarten. Gasdia said that it has its merits, but we have to fix what we have first. Huard said that early education is very important and asked whether the benefits would outweigh the costs.
Milbouer said she is torn because it is an economic issue and that, while it is great to get a boost on education, there is a problem with anxiety in our schools, there should be more playing and that maybe a full day might be too much.
A question was posed to the school board candidates about Senate Bill 44, which prohibits the state from requiring implementation of common core standards. Gasdia said, “In the current environment, I think we’re one of the towns that probably needs common core, but I hope someday we don’t.”
Huard said she has a hard time with common core, and that it’s important to make sure it’s working. Milbouer said she thinks common core could be tweaked but that it is all about equality of education. “Even in our school district things differ from one elementary school to another,” Milbouer said.
All candidates with opponents were asked whether they would accept a position on the budget committee if they lose their bid for election. All said yes with the exception of the three school board candidates. Each of them emphatically said no.
At the conclusion of the evening, Inderbitzen thanked the Hudson Junior Woman’s Club and Community Club and encouraged people to watch the deliberative sessions and candidates night on Hudson Cable Television or online at hudsonctv.com. Inderbitzen pointed out that there was 72 percent voter turnout in Hudson in the November elections, yet town election in March usually has less than 20 percent voter turnout. He encouraged everyone to vote on March 14.