DRACUT -- Mother's Day arrived six days early in the town election Monday.

First-time winners Tami Dristiliaris and Alison Hughes, both full-time working moms, were elected to the Board of Selectmen, defeating three-term incumbent Bob Cox and three-time candidate Ted Kosiavelon.

By their victories, Dristiliaris and Hughes, who led the four-candidate field with 1,724 and 1,495 votes, respectively, will join Chairwoman Cathy Richardson at their first selectmen's meeting on May 13 in forging a new female majority on the five-member board.

"That's pretty impressive," said Dristiliaris of the new female majority, at her post-election victory Monday night at the Village Inn.

Dracut selectmen’s race ticket-topper Tami Dristiliaris, left, is handed a set of keys to Town Hall by retiring Selectman John Zimini as state Rep.
Dracut selectmen's race ticket-topper Tami Dristiliaris, left, is handed a set of keys to Town Hall by retiring Selectman John Zimini as state Rep. Colleen Garry, a major supporter, looks on at the Village Inn Monday night as election returns were celebrated. Watch Tout video at lowellsun.com. Sun/Bob Whitaker

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"It will be a positive. We can work together. We all get along. The men on the board are great, too. That's one of my goals, to make sure that all five of us work well together."

By all candidates' accounts, Dristiliaris, an attorney and registered nurse, outworked her opponents in the race by sending out mailings, making hundreds of phone calls and knocking on doors of hundreds of voters.

"I worked as hard as I possibly could and if I didn't make it this time, I didn't think I could make it onto the board anytime," Dristiliaris said.

Soon after the results were announced, Dristiliaris phoned Hughes at the Blue Angus where her victory celebration was being held, to congratulate her. Moments later, Richardson arrived at the Broadway restaurant to give Hughes a congratulatory hug.

"We had a really smart, grass-roots campaign. I was very particular to make sure my message stayed on point," said Hughes, a marketing professional, who received a key endorsement from former 24-year Selectman Warren Shaw early on. "I made sure to make my campaign about economic development; added revenue for the town for all services, not just education but police and fire.

Selectmen Chairwoman Cathy Richardson, left, embraces selectmen’s race second-place finisher Alison Hughes at the Blue Angus restaurant in Dracut
Selectmen Chairwoman Cathy Richardson, left, embraces selectmen's race second-place finisher Alison Hughes at the Blue Angus restaurant in Dracut Monday. Sun / Bob Whitaker

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"

Cox, who received 1,379 votes to finish in third place, spoke graciously in defeat.

"I am disappointed, but the voters spoke in their wisdom, as is their right," Cox said at Town Hall moments after hearing the results read by Town Clerk Kathy Graham. "They have Tami and Alison. I feel bad that there's two brand-new selectmen on there to help with the new town manager, but it is what it is. Life goes on, it does."

Ted Kosiavelon, who finished fourth with 1,362 votes, congratulated Dristiliaris and Hughes on their victories. Dristiliaris worked especially hard on the campaign and was "very deserving" of coming out on top in the selectmen's race, according to Kosiavelon.

George Dristiliaris congratulates his wife, Tami Dristiliaris, on her topping the ticket in the Dracut selectmen’s race during a celebration at the
George Dristiliaris congratulates his wife, Tami Dristiliaris, on her topping the ticket in the Dracut selectmen's race during a celebration at the Village Inn, as state Rep. Colleen Garry applauds at right. Sun/ Bob Whitaker

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The selectmen's race headlined the results of four tightly contested races in Dracut that saw Matt Sheehan returned to the School Committee, while two newcomers won election to the Dracut Housing Authority and Greater Lowell Technical School Committee.

According to Graham, Monday's election turnout was 3,560, or 17.3 percent of 20,575 registered voters.

Considering the incentive that was provided to voters to come out for the town election by having 10 candidates vying for five seats with no clear front-runners heading into Monday, the 17 percent turnout was hugely disappointing, Kosiavelon said.

Most of the more than 6,000 voters who supported Kosiavelon's "No $2.

Cox: "I am disappointed, but the voters spoke."Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
Cox: "I am disappointed, but the voters spoke."

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9 million override" position last September simply failed to show up on Monday, the candidate noted.

"I'm disgusted by the turnout," Kosiavelon said. "I'm very disappointed by the people, who I stuck up for in town, that didn't come out. I really am."

Follow John Collins on Twitter and Tout at johncolowellsun.


Caroline McIntosh and Ray Turgeon hold signs for their candidates outside the Parker Library in Dracut Monday.SUN/ David H. BrowSun staff photos can be
Caroline McIntosh and Ray Turgeon hold signs for their candidates outside the Parker Library in Dracut Monday. SUN/ David H. Brow

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