By Rick Sobey
PEPPERELL -- The Pepperell Board of Health chairman is sure going to be busy until April 30, running for a selectmen seat while defending his Board of Health seat in the only contested races in the annual town election.
The town election, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, at the Varnum Brook Elementary School Gymnasium, will also be coupled with the State Senate primary election for John Kerry's vacant seat.
"We're running both elections at the same time to save a bit of money," said Town Clerk Jeffrey Sauer. "The election will be a bit different when you walk in. There'll be a second table to get a second ballot, and you'll check out twice.
"It's simple enough, but it could cause some confusion," he added. "People just need to realize it will be a bit different from what they're used to."
Alfred Buckley, Board of Health chairman, is running for two contested positions on April 30. He's defending his three-year Board of Health seat, while seeking an open selectmen seat that's also three years long.
"I enjoy being on the Board of Health with a good mix of seasoned people, and now I also want to get on the Board of Selectmen," said Buckley, who has lived in town since the mid-70s. "I'm well-versed in budgets, being on the negotiations committee at Nashoba Tech for nine years, so I have a very good background with budgets."
Buckley is facing Michelle Gallagher for the open selectmen seat. Gallagher has lived in town for 13 years, is married with three boys, and is "very involved in town and loves the community."
"I could make a difference on the Board," Gallagher said. "The budget is definitely the most important issue. Everyone would like to see a balanced budget, and I could help us get there. I would listen to whatever people have to say and make an informed, fiscally responsible decision."
Gallagher said she has "worn many hats" in town, getting involved with the elementary school PTO, sitting on the personnel board, baseball board and teaching CCD.
Then for the Board of Health seat, Virginia Malouin is challenging Buckley. She was on the Board of Health from 2005 to 2008 and wants to jump back on the "powerful board where the actions can affect people's lives in town," she said.
"I've had years of public health experience as a registered nurse, and I would add diversity to the board," said Malouin, who grew up in town and then moved back after living in Burlington. "I've been associated with the Nashoba Board of Health, and I would take this commitment very seriously if elected. I would commit myself fully."
Four years ago, Buckley was elected to a one-year term on the Board of Health, and he was then elected to a three-year term after that.
"I enjoy working with people and helping them out," Buckley said. "On the Board of Health, we make real decisions that really affect peoples' lives, and I want to keep doing that."
The other names on the ballot in uncontested races are Michael Coffey for Board of Assessors, Donna Franzek for Housing Authority, Joseph Helfter for Planning Board, Gregory Rice for Board of Public Works, Brendan McNabb for Recreation Commission, Jeffrey Sauer for Town Clerk, and Charles Burnham, Gretchen Needham and Ramona Reed for three Board of Library Trustees seats.
There are no candidates for the North Middlesex Regional School District Committee.
The voter registration deadline is Wednesday, April 10, at 8 p.m.