By Zachary Comeau/Daily News Staff
Posted May. 12, 2015 at 9:11 PM
Updated May 12, 2015 at 9:12 PM
HOPEDALE – A former GOP candidate for Congress, Tom Wesley, took the open seat on the Board of Selectmen by a landslide vote, gaining 273 votes to Park Commission Chairman Dan Iacovelli’s 60.
“It always feels better to win, but it also feels good to fight the good fight,” Wesley said after the results were announced.
Wesley, who was defeated in the 2010 race for the 2nd Congressional District seat by Richard Neal, D-Springfield, said more changes can be made in local politics.
“The issues are very real, manageable and solvable, unlike sometimes at the federal level where you’re just a voice in the wilderness,” he said. “At the local level, you can actually build coalitions, be proactive and solve some problems.”
For the first year, Wesley said he hopes to “get (his) feet wet” and understand the issues facing the town, but said he will continue to focus on education, economy and evenhandedness.
“I’m honored to be selected by the town,” Wesley said, thanking Iacovelli for running a “classy campaign.”
The seat was left vacant by Janet Jacaruso, the longtime town clerk and selectwoman who passed away last month.
“I certainly hope to do honor by the seat vacated by (Jacaruso),” he said.
Ted Kempster, Wesley’s treasurer, said Wesley spent about $1,550 on his campaign, including signs, a newspaper ad and door hangers.
Iacovelli, on the other hand, admitted outside the Draper Gym polling location Tuesday and he did not spend a single dime on his campaign.
“I think signs don’t win elections,” Iacovelli said Monday.
Hopedale resident Mark Niziak said he voted for Wesley, citing the need for a different voice and to wake up the smalltown politics.
“There’s a lot of apathy in town politics – the nature of the beast,” he said. “Hopefully (Wesley) will generate interest.”
School Committee incumbents Grace Pool, the current chairwoman, and Lori Hampsch, kept their seats for another three years.
Town Moderator Francis Larkin, a former judge and law professor, retained his seat after serving for more than 20 years.
Other incumbents who ran unopposed include Louis Arcudi III for the Board of Health, Jason MacDonald for the Housing Authority, Eli Potty for the Road Commission, Katherine Wright for Board of Library Trustees and Robert Burns for the Water and Sewer Commission.
Newcomers include Donald Howes for the Parks Commission and Barbara Oman for the Housing Authority.
According to interim Town Clerk James Mullen, the turnout was only 9 percent, and only 337 voters cast a ballot out of 3,719 registered voters.