By Stuart Foster, Contributing Writer
MARLBOROUGH – Most Marlborough City Councilors will run unopposed for re-election in this fall’s municipal election now that an Aug. 17 deadline to return paperwork has passed.
The lone exception is in Ward 4, where resident Teona Brown is challenging incumbent Robert Tunnera, who has served on the council since 2010.
Tunnera: ‘I’ve represented Ward 4 with integrity’
Tunnera said in a recent interview with the Community Advocate that voters in Ward 4 should re-elect him because he has been very responsive and accountable to his constituents.
“I think I’ve represented Ward 4 with integrity and I’ve responded to people and I think I deserve to get re-elected,” Tunnera said.
Tunnera said that, if re-elected, he would try to ensure that the City Council maintains a balanced budget, keeps city spending intact and continues to approve projects.
Tunnera said through his tenure on the City Council, he is most proud of his lone vote against Marlborough’s new senior center at Ward Park, which he cast after hearing from his constituents, who were opposed to the project.
“I stood up and I represented the people that I spoke with,” Tunnera said. “Sometimes, you got to take a stand.”
Tunnera said he is trying to increase awareness about a proposed new fire station on Elm Street in his district. He said that he wants another site to be chosen instead.
Tunnera has been vocal in his opposition to this project in City Council meetings.
“I will do my best to delay [a vote] for my constituents,” he said during a meeting on May 10. “We just don’t want it there.”
“These people bought a house without a fire station next to it,” Tunnera added in his recent interview. “I think anyone in the City of Marlborough, in their right mind, would not want a fire station right next to their house.”
Brown: ‘There’s always room to have a new voice at the table’
Brown said she was exposed to municipal government from a young age because both of her parents were city employees.
Brown, who saw herself running for office when she was younger, said the recent death of her mother-in-law at the age of 64 was a wakeup call for her to not delay her goals and to run for the Ward 4 City Council seat.
“I want to be someone who can listen to the residents of Ward 4,” Brown said. “I just really want to be that neighbor that people can feel comfortable coming to me with a concern.”
If elected, Brown said that Marlborough schools and, particularly, school staffing would be a big priority. She also listed senior services, veterans services and city departments’ communication with residents as areas she would prioritize.
“There’s always room to have a new voice at the table,” Brown said. “It’s not to say that I disagree with what’s going on in my ward currently, it’s just I’d love an opportunity to be more involved.”
She said she wanted to learn more about the Elm Street fire station discussion, resident views toward it and historic preservation of that area before adopting a stance.
“This is where my home is located, so I see the absolute need for a fire station to be put on this end of town,” Brown said. “But, what I would want some better understanding about is, ‘Is that simply the only viable location at this time?’”
Nov. election to feature contested races
The deadline to pull papers for this year’s city elections passed on Aug. 13. As of that date, Brown and each incumbent city councilor had all secured their spots on the ballot to run for re-election.
In the mayoral race, Marlborough Police Patrol Officer David Garceau will challenge Mayor Arthur Vigeant.
All three school committee members whose terms end this year will also be on the ballot seeking re-election. They will likely face a challenge from Maureen Breenan who was still in the process of finalizing her paperwork as of Aug. 25 according to City Clerk Steve Kerrigan.
Kerrigan said Brennan “has enough certified signatures” to get on the ballot, adding that he believes she will file her paperwork before a final deadline of Aug. 31.
The election is scheduled for Nov. 2.