Maureen Richichi (Board of Health), Chris Gittins (Planning Board), and Joseph Gilbert (Board of Assessors) were elected to fill vacant positions on town boards in contested races Saturday.
Re-elected in contests were Select Board member Margot Fleischman and Anita Raj of the Board of Health. Both are in line to chair their respective boards when they reorganize.
Richichi won the open health board seat resulting from the retirement of Sarah Thompson easily, with 1,408 votes, more than 300 ahead of Raj, who won comfortably over Catherine Van Praagh and Allison O’Connell.
Gittins, who ran unsuccessfully for selectman in 2019 and served on the Conservation Commission, defeated Armen Zildjian, 1,077 to 878. He takes over for long-time member Jeffrey Cohen who did not seek re-election.
Gilbert, a former realtor with a degree in finance, won over Elliot Lovy by a margin of 135, succeeding Ronald Cordes, who also didn’t seek another term. Both Gibert and Lovy said they were running to ensure that the position would be filled.
Turnout was the highest number in many years – 2,259 as announced precinct by precinct, by election work Bob Dorer a few minutes after voting ended.
That’s about 1,000 more than last year, several hundred more than the highest totals of the past decade, but still only about 22 percent of registered voters.
Other victors on Saturday’s Bedford ballot ran uncontested:
- Incumbent Dan Brosgol for a third term on the School Committee;
- Incumbent Michael Pulizzi and newcomer and Fahad Alden, elected to the Board of Library Trustees (incumbent Dennis Ahearn also was on the ballot but chose to retire);
- Former School Committee member Brian O’Donnell, elected to the Shawsheen Technical High School Committee;
- Kim Lovy, for a seat on the Bedford Housing Authority. She is the wife of Elliot Lovy.
“I am very excited to have won — so grateful for the large voter turnout and all support I received,” said Richichi, a retired school nurse who has been involved in town affairs for decades and once served as Bedford Youth and Family Services’ prevention coordinator. “I’m eager to join Anita, Ann, Bea, and Susan in doing the work of the board.”
Raj agreed about the turnout. “I’m happy so many people came out to vote, and I’m happy to be serving on the board again.” It is her fourth term. The board meets briefly Monday but will not formally reorganize until April, she noted.
Gittins thanked his supports and congratulated Zildjian “for running a really good campaign. He speaks for a significant fraction of the town and I respect that. I plan to be there for all the town. We’ve for some really positive momentum in town and I look forward to being part of that.”
Fleischman, who won her fourth term with more than 78 percent of the vote, said she is “really grateful to the citizens for entrusting me with this job,” She also congratulated her opponent, Korben Whitt-Leitner, “for running a spirited campaign.” Whitt-Leitner, who resides a few houses away from Fleischman, is a college freshman.