Heather Santiago Hutchings was voted onto the Board of Selectmen, earning one of the two seats available in Monday’s election. AARON CURTIS/LOWELL SUN
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DRACUT — Two new members will take their seats on the Board of Selectmen for the first time at Town Meeting Tuesday night, one day after their election to the panel.

Five candidates faced off for two seats on the board Monday in the only contested race on this year’s ballot. According to unofficial results provided by the town, financial services professional Alison Genest topped the ticket with 1,719 votes, followed by Zoning Board of Appeals member Heather Santiago Hutchings with 1,370 votes.

Finishing out of the running were Master Planning Committee Chairman Philippe Thibault with 1,025 votes, former Greater Lowell Technical School Committee Chairman Joseph Espinola with 896 votes, and Planning Board Chairman Mark Pease with 263 votes, unofficial results show.

As of The Sun’s press deadline Monday, the town had not yet released official results.

Alison Genest

Genest has described herself as a “political newcomer,” touting her 30 years of experience working in financial services and human resources. Reached by phone Monday night, Genest thanked her supporters in town and said topping the ticket was “overwhelmingly wonderful.”

“I’m honored and humbled by the overwhelming response from the voters. Obviously they responded to my positive message of change for Dracut. There were a lot of negative forces that tried to work against me, and I’m so glad that the voters saw through it and they rejected those voices,” she said. “And this is a new day for Dracut.”

Genest has said her main priorities are keeping Dracut affordable and supporting the town’s public safety departments, as well as focusing on accountability at Town Hall.

“One of the things I was running about all along was to strengthen planning and oversight, and that’s something that I want to really delve into,” she said Monday. “I want to look at process improvement anywhere that we can, I want to make sure that there’s always accountability with all the different departments and boards and the town manager.”

Santiago Hutchings currently serves on the town’s Finance Committee in addition to the Zoning Board of Appeals. She said Monday that she’s excited to begin working with other officials in Dracut to promote a positive atmosphere that encourages residents to get involved in town.

“The first thing on my agenda, I would really like to look at anything that has loose ends that need to be tied up. For instance, the police recommendations, the fire recommendations, I understand this week there was a contract that was never signed for Dracut Access Television, the Kenwood Water contract,” Santiago Hutchings said. “Anything that has leftover to-do items, I would like to really put a timeline to those things and button up the contracts.”

She thanked her election committee and other supporters in Dracut.

“Thank you to everybody who had confidence in me and came out to vote today,” Santiago Hutchings said. “I really appreciate all the support along the way, and I look forward to hearing from all residents who have questions or issues or just looking to speak with somebody.”