Smith wins re-election in Orange; Davis joins Selectboard

People leave after voting at 62 Cheney St. in Orange on Monday.

People leave after voting at 62 Cheney St. in Orange on Monday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith

Frank Hains

Frank Hains

Susan Tandy Songer and Jeff Cole check in Orange resident Larry Fisher for the Town Election on Monday.

Susan Tandy Songer and Jeff Cole check in Orange resident Larry Fisher for the Town Election on Monday. staff photo/paul Franz

People file in to vote at 62 Cheney St. in Orange on Monday.

People file in to vote at 62 Cheney St. in Orange on Monday. staff photo/paul Franz

Julie Davis

Julie Davis

Jessica Reske

Jessica Reske

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 02-06-2024 4:50 PM

Modified: 02-06-2024 6:38 PM


ORANGE – Newcomer Julie Davis will join the re-elected Andrew Smith on the Orange Selectboard following Monday’s Town Election.

Davis was the contest’s top vote-getter, with 384, and Smith accumulated 304. The two competed against Sandra Fawn Weinstein for a pair of three-year seats. Frank Hains and Jessica Reske bested Crystal Clarke to win a couple of two-year Elementary School Committee seats. Hains got 366 votes while Reske collected 242.

“I was honored to learn that I had been elected, and humbled by the number of people who put their trust in me with their vote,” Davis said in an email on Tuesday. “I am looking forward to being a voice for our residents and local businesses. I am eager to hear their opinions and promise to be an active listener who works for positive change and representation in Orange.”

The commute from work to bi-weekly Selectboard meetings would be mere feet for Davis, 44, as she is the store manager and founding member of the Quabbin Harvest Food Co-op at 12 North Main St. Davis said she now feels ready to serve on the Selectboard because her children have gone through the Orange public schools and graduated from Ralph C. Mahar Regional School.

“I felt like I wouldn’t have been able to give an appropriate amount of time before this,” she said. “I’d like to be involved because I see so many facets of our town that are really looking to grow and improve. As a person who runs a small business, I’m very interested in making Orange amiable to small businesses.”

Davis is a member of the Orange Merchants Group, serves as treasurer on the Community Health Center of Franklin County’s board of directors, and is on the town’s Long-Range Planning Committee. She said she aims to be a good listener and find ways to bring voices together. She added that it would be advantageous to bring in more businesses to lessen the overall tax burden in town.

“I hope to be a part of a Board that works together to listen to the voices of our town and who sets our eyes on growing business, commerce and a sense of community,” she wrote in her email. “I will to be an active supporter of our schools, library, farmers, and all things that make our town great.”

Smith said he drove to Orange Town Hall to get the results shortly after polls at 7 p.m. and “a couple of people were walking out and congratulated me.”

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“I am enthusiastic, really. I am very happy. I kind of laid low in the campaign ... because I really am a strong believer in word of mouth,” he said. “In essence, I’ve been campaigning for the past three years.”

Smith, 63, said the replacement of gravity sewer mains and water mains under North Main Street prior to a road reconstruction project in the same location is a top priority.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Julie Davis,” he added.

Smith ran uncontested for the three-year seat shortly after he and his wife moved to Orange from the Albany area in April 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Smith previously said he long ago fell in love with the North Quabbin area from visits to a Lake Mattawa camp his wife’s family has owned since the 1950s or ‘60s.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Plattsburgh and a master’s degree in atmospheric chemistry from SUNY Albany. He worked for government-owned Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory for 18½ years. He was in charge of the security department’s public utterance, meaning the release of materials to the public.

The first meeting of the new Selectboard is slated for Feb. 14 at 5:30 p.m.

Attempts to contact Hains and Reske were unsuccessful.

There were no names on the ballot for the moderator position but Steven Garrity won a write-in campaign with 121 votes.

Results of the other races are as follows:

Incumbent Jane M. Peirce, three-year term, Board of Health (390 votes); Josefa Divora Bashein Scherer, three-year term, Elementary School Committee (376 votes); Yarelyn Ramos Martinez, one-year term, Elementary School Committee (379 votes); incumbents Shannon M. Johnson (380 votes) and Patricia A. Smith (377 votes), three-year terms, Mahar School Committee; incumbent Priscilla Rhoda Gaignard, three-year term, library trustees (383), and write-in candidate Christine Mullen (136 votes); Jessica Marie Morris, one-year term, library trustees (374 votes); incumbent Michael F. Hume, three-year term, water commissioners (411 votes); incumbent Michelle L. LeBlanc, three-year term, cemetery commissioners (396 votes); and Stephen P. Johnson, two-year term, cemetery commissioners (409 votes).

Leon Lefebvre got eight votes as a write-in candidate for a two-year position as a water commissioner. Doug Jillson got two write-in votes for a veteran’s seat on the trustees of the soldiers’ memorials and Sandra Fawn Weinstein got 10 write-in votes for a non-veteran seat.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.