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Election 2016: Polimeno Re-Elected, Bennett Claims Open School Committee Seat

Apr 03, 2016 02:20PM ● By Bill Gilman

Stronach for Selectman Facebook.

They are longtime friends. They are political allies. And now Krissy Polimeno and Arthy Bennett will work alongside each other as members of the Tewksbury School Committee.
Wrapping up what had been the most hotly contested race of the 2016 Tewksbury election season, Polimeno was re-elected to her third term on the committee and topped the four-person field with 1,703 votes. Bennett was a distant second with 1,381. But that was still more than enough to secure the second seat up for grabs.
Keith Sullivan placed third with 1,157 votes, followed by Erin Knyff with 925. Sullivan, Knyff and Bennett were all first-time candidates for public office.
In all, 2,856 voters cast ballots on Saturday, representing just 13.5 percent of Tewksbury's 21,084 registered voters.
Complete precinct by precinct results of the Tewksbury Municipal Election can be found in a printable PDF file attached to this story.
The results of the election served as a climax, if not an end, to an ongoing feud between Knyff and Polimeno that has centered around issues of parental privacy, School Committee transparency and the overall relationship between the committee, the superintendent and special education families.
"I just want to thank the voters of Tewksbury," said Polimeno. "I want to thank everyone in the community for coming out and showing their continued support for me."
Knyff, the founder and president of Liam Nation, said she was proud of her campaign and results as a first-time candidate.
"I think we did well. We ran a campaign based on honesty and doing the right thing," said Knyff, adding that she will continue to be an active and passionate voice in the Tewksbury School District. "I'll keep doing what I'm best at. I'll keep going to School Committee meetings and holding their feet to the fire. It's important that boards be held accountable. I'll continue being an advocate for all families in the district, not just those with special needs children."
For Bennett, her election to the School Committee represents a slight change in role but hardly a change of scenery. Through her involvement with school and district PACs and the Tewksbury Education Foundation, Bennett has been a familiar face at district events and School Committee meetings for several years.
Prior to this year, however, her involvement in politics had gone no further than serving as Polimeno's campaign manager in 2013. She said she is excited to start work on the committee.
"I'm very happy with the results," said Bennett. "I'm looking forward to working on the School Committee with everyone and actually being at the table and doing work for the children of our town."
Polimeno said she believes Bennett will make a very smooth transition onto the committee.
"It's no surprise, I think Arthy Bennett is a perfect match for the School Committee," said Polimeno. "She's been working hard (for the schools) for over a decade and she's going to be a great addition to the School Committee and I look forward to working with her."
Polimeno entered the 2016 campaign with a decided edge in campaign experience over her three opponents. Bennett and Knyff had very similar reactions when asked about their first swim in the political waters.
"It was a learning experience. I learned a lot," said Knyff. "And I met a lot of great people and made a lot of new friends that I'll keep in contact with. It was a great experience."
"It was definitely a learning experience," said Bennett. "I was nervous. In fact, right up until this point, I'm probably still nervous.
Sullivan could not be reached for comment for this story.
In other races, Anne Marie Stronach and incumbent Todd Johnson won seats on the Board of Selectmen, defeating Robert Rosa. Stephen Johnson was re-elected to the Planning Board, easily defeating challenger Stephen Deackoff, 1,473-984. Anthony Boschetti (1,576) and George Ferdinand (1,264) won open seats on the Board of Health. However, Robert Scarano (1,260) finished just four votes behind Ferdinand and would have the option of requesting a recount.

Related Stories:

Election 2016: Stronach, Johnson Win Board of Selectmen Race

Krissy Polimeno and Arthy Bennett react to their School Committee victories.

Anne Marie Stronach reacts to her victory in the Board of Selectmen election.

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