HUDSON — The Assabet Valley Chamber of Commerce and League of Women Voters presented a candidates’ night at the Hudson Senior Center on April 26.
As moderator Jo-Ann Berry, who is a member of the league, put it: “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”
Having people run for office keeps democracy alive, she said, along with people being invested in the candidates and coming out to vote.
There are four contested races on the ballot for May 8 for Select Board, School Committee, Board of Health and Municipal Light Board.
In the Select Board race, incumbent Scott Duplisea and Herman Kabakoff are running.
Duplisea said he is running for re-election because he has spent over 30 years gaining valuable leadership experience on the Select Board, Housing Authority and youth sports organizations.
“I want to continue to offer my experience to help the town move forward in a cooperative manner,” he said.
His goals in serving were to keep the drinking water safe, move the Intel redevelopment project forward in a respectful manner, continue to improve the town’s infrastructure and provide the best services within fiscal restraints.
“I will take all the input I receive from the public into consideration when making decisions on various town issues,” he said.
His opponent, Kabakoff, submitted a written statement. Kabakoff moved from Acton to Hudson in 2015, has a master’s in business administration and has served in the Air Force. A retiree in 2017, he served 17 years on the Acton Finance Committee and two Select Board terms in Acton.
“Trying to make a difference through the system is in my DNA,” he said.
Kabakoff believed he could make a difference in Hudson with the skill set he has. He pointed to last year’s proposal by Portman Industrial for a 1.2-million-square-foot warehouse on the former Intel property as an example of having zoning by-laws that are hard to understand.
He said, “We should support the study to update the zoning in our town.”
He concluded that he has experience and “provides a fresh approach” to problem-solving for the town.
For School Committee, incumbent Steven Sharek, Erica Ankstitus and Nicholas Martino shared their background and reason for their candidacy.
Among the questions, the candidates were asked about the “budget cliff” and the top three priorities should be for the newly appointed Superintendent Brian Reagan.
Sharek said he supported the appointment of Reagan as superintendent, and was proud of the School Committee for coming together during negotiations.
The challenges ahead for the Hudson Schools, he believed, were to improve relations with the Select Board and Finance Committee, to raise the public profile of Hudson schools, and a smooth transition for the superintendent.
For her top three priorities, Ankstitus highlighted student participation before and after school as a priority and hoped “to work with the superintendent to come up with creative ideas.”
She said they needed to figure out why students are missing school, and also support students who may struggle socially and emotionally since the pandemic.
Martino also noted equity, or ensuring students with the greatest needs are served by the schools, and community, especially showing people what they are investing in at the schools, were top priorities.
The Hudson Light Board has two candidates on the ballot, Justin Provencher and Lawrence Fine.
Provencher has served on the Light Board since 2017 and for 12 years on the Finance Committee, as well as on the search committee that hired Tom Moses, the previous executive assistant.
Fine was not running for a position, but to support the nonbinding referendum called Secure Green Future. He was an advocate for sustainable, renewable energy. He was there that evening to bring “more of an awareness of the need for renewable, clean energy,” with the hope of making it more affordable in the future.
Provencher was asked about the issues Hudson Light and Power faces, and he noted the age of the infrastructure, especially transmission lines.
“One of the issues we have currently is supply and demand where there is not enough supply,” he said. “We’re unable to purchase certain things.”
He said one way they have mitigated the cost of energy transmission is to use locally generated power from Cherry Street.
Both candidates supported installing more charging stations for electric vehicles. Fine noted that he advocates to improve the infrastructure, and Provencher said the spots by the Medusa Brewing Company were achieved with grants prior to his service on the board.