Democracy Wins, Again: Quotes from Election Night in Bedford

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Tallying the tapes: Amy Lloyd, John and Emily Mitchell, and Cathy Cordes compute their totals. The voting machines produce one tape for each precinct, so adding the totals is important work – Image (c) JMcCT 2019 all rights reserved – Click to view a larger image.

By James Brosgol

Peering at the newly-released voting machine tapes (L-R) Brian Hart, Mike Rosenberg, and Bill Moonan – Image (c) JMcCT, 2019 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

On Saturday, March 9, a total of 1,521 Bedford voters went to the polls for the 2019 Town Election.

After accompanying my family to the polls earlier in the day, I returned by myself a few minutes before the doors were locked at 6 pm in order to see the results as quickly as possible. When I arrived, there was a nervous energy in the hall as people chatted while waiting for the results to be posted. This year was certainly more interesting than most, with three candidates running in a contested election for two seats as Selectmen.

It was during the vote counting time when I got to talk with Mike Rosenberg, a longtime resident and Bedford Selectman who likes to see the results right after they come out. Why, I asked him? Because he was a journalist for 20 years, and it’s in his DNA to be close to breaking news.

Rosenberg pointed out that many of the people who remained at JGMS after 6 pm were candidates for office. He explained that in the past, most candidates didn’t stay to see the results because they thought it was bad luck- this includes the seven times that Rosenberg himself ran for office in Bedford. Times have apparently changed!

At 6:26, the door to the gymnasium opened, and that’s when the hall went quiet. The results were taped to the wall; pictures were snapped, necks were craned, and it became clear that Emily Mitchell was elected as a Selectman along with incumbent Bill Moonan with 956 and 870 votes, respectively, with Chris Gittins coming up a bit short with his 769 votes.

After emerging victorious, I asked Emily Mitchell what she wanted to let voters know.

She responded, “I would like to express my gratitude to everyone for having faith in me, and I think that I’ll represent their interests well.”

Next, I asked Chris Gittins what he wanted the town to know after this race.

He responded, “I think I was so amazed at the support and the people, how I got to reach out and talk, and how they wanted to engage.”

Following up, I asked Gittins that as a parent, what did he want to say to kids who might consider running for these positions when they’re older.

“I went ahead and did it because I believed there were good things I could do for the town. I’m not going to wait on things to happen, I’m instead going to step forward and do it.”

Finally, I asked incumbent Bill Moonan how it felt to get re-elected after this hard-fought campaign.

“It’s what you hope for all the way along. You work your tail off all day long. We reached out and used social media and mailings to win, it’s terrific. My wife was at home calling people, and we’ve been working for this since January. My opponents have been very gracious, and I look forward to working with my opponent Mr. Gittins on topics of his concern, which include environmental issues.”

Emily Mitchell and Bill Moonan will begin their three-year terms as Selectmen immediately, taking the Oath of Office at 6:45 pm on Monday, March 11 before the Selectmen’s regular meeting at 7 pm.

Town Clerk Doreen Tremblay (l) administered the Oath of Office to re-elected Library Trustee Elizabeth Hacala (c) and new Shawsheen Regional School Board member Nancy Asbedian (r). In the rear, writer James Brosgol (r) interviews Chris Gittins and Stacy Chandler – Image (c) JMcCT, 2019 all rights reserved