DRACUT -- Moments after winning re-election, Matthew Sheehan became choked up with emotion as he thanked those responsible for returning him to the Dracut School Committee for a third term.
"I'm thankful for everybody in Dracut who took time to come out and vote -- for whomever. I'm just pumped, I really am," said Sheehan, in delivering his victory speech at O'Hara's Tavern Monday night after defeating first-time candidate Michelle McCarthy.
Sheehan collected 1,819 votes to McCarthy's 1,508.
"It was a good race. I believe the majority spoke that they value an independent voice on the board," Sheehan said.
Sheehan was the only School Committee member to oppose the proposed $2.
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"My six years of service on the School Committee have also shown that I'm not 'anti-education,' and those who tried to claim that -- shame on them," said Sheehan. "I'm going to continue to work very hard, as always, to make sure the kids of Dracut receive the best education we can give them. Toward that end, I'd like to see us continue to improve our working relationship between the School Committee and Board of Selectmen.
In the race for an elected five-year commissioner's seat on the Dracut Housing Authority, incumbent Brian Bond, who was aspiring to shift from being the current governor's designated board member to becoming an elected member, was overtaken by Planning Board Chairman Jessie Forcier. Forcier collected 1,881 votes; Bond, as runner-up, got 1,497 votes.
Forcier will assume the DHA commissioner's seat being vacated by incumbent Ken Cunha, who did not seek re-election. Bond will continue to serve on the commission as the governor's appointee until at least mid-January, when the next Massachusetts governor is sworn in.
Though disappointed by his own third-place finish in the selectmen's race, Bob Cox cheered loudly at Town Hall when Forcier was announced by Town Clerk Kathy Graham as the winner of a seat on the Housing Authority.
"I'm very happy for Jesse," said Cox. "The voters made an excellent choice."
In what many regarded as the most surprising upset of the town election, a slim majority chose Joseph Espinola III to represent Dracut on the Greater Lowell Technical School Committee over incumbent Victor Olson. Espinola, a former Lowell police officer, received 1,633 votes, 27 more than Olson's 1,606 votes.
"To all of my family and friends -- old, new, and those I met along the way -- I thank each and every one of you for your support," Espinola posted on his Facebook page after his victory was announced. "I am truly humbled. I couldn't have done this without you. Dracut, I am ready to get to work! Thank you for this opportunity."
Running uncontested, Town Moderator Leo Gaudette was re-elected for another one-year term.
Also uncontested, Town Clerk Kathy Graham was re-elected to her dual role as School District Clerk. And Dracut Water Supply District Commissioner Bill Morin was returned to his seat for another three years.
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