DRACUT -- What has been quite an eventful past 12 months for School Committee member Matt Sheehan may become much less eventful, if no opponent steps forward to challenge his re-election bid by Monday.
This Monday, March 17 at 4 p.m., is the filing deadline for Dracut candidates to submit nomination papers to run for office in the May 5 election, according to Town Clerk Kathy Graham.
And so far, no one has done the paperwork to challenge Sheehan's quest for a third term, Graham reported.
If he's still unopposed come St. Patrick's Day, Sheehan, 35, shall consider it a blessing that has more to do with his six-year track record as an elected official, rather than the luck of the Irish, he said.
"We'll wait until Monday and see what happens. There are a lot of days left (to file papers) still," Sheehan said after Monday night's School Committee meeting. "I consider it an absolute honor to be an elected official in this town. I'm going to run on my record. I think I have a very good one. So... We'll see."
In 2011, Sheehan, then chairman of the School Committee, beat challenger and former board member May Paquette to earn a second term.
Among Sheehan's most notable activities In the three years since, he was the town's leading advocate for the appointment of Steven Stone as the district's new superintendent of schools, following the abrupt departure of Stacy Scott in 2012.
"At the time Steven came aboard, we had a broken ship, and he's still in the process of fixing that; it doesn't happen overnight," Sheehan said. "But he was what we needed, the right guy to do the job."
Sheehan showed his willingness to separate himself from the other four School Committee members on certain issues when he became the only board member to actively support the "No $2.9 million override" campaign leading up to November's special election in which the override to boost school funding was overwhelmingly rejected by more than 6,000 voters.
"It was just too great an amount to ask for from the taxpayers in these economic times," said Sheehan, repeating the analysis he gave when the override was first presented last spring.
In discussing the possible reasons for his unopposed status on Monday, Sheehan downplayed the suggestion that his being honored recently, along with fellow Lowell police dispatcher Steve Paris, was a factor. Sheehan and Paris were recognized for their "heroism" for rousting residents from a burning building at 113 Cabot St. in December, including saving an elderly woman's dog.
"I really wouldn't say that had anything to do with it," Sheehan said. "I was in the right place at the right time."
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