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Clemence, incumbents roll in Southbridge


Voter turnout higher than in recent years



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Candidates wave to voters at one of the polling places in Tuesday's Town Election. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
June 30, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — Other than one newcomer who walked away with a huge Town Council vote tally and the write-ins for Bay Path School Committee, all of the winners in Southbridge's town election were incumbents. Overall, the turnout was the best seen in years — 2,130 ballots or 17.6 percent of the registered voters, excluding absentee ballots.

The star of the night was newcomer Denise Clemence, who came out on top of the nine council candidates with 1,197 votes. The other seats will continue to be held by Laurent McDonald (964) and David Livengood (741).

"Thank you," said Clemence on the steps of Town Hall afterward. "Thanks to everyone for listening and empowering themselves to make good decisions for the town. I've got a lot to learn. It's baby steps now."

Clemence half-joked that her first priority would be to "finish reading 'Robert's Rules of Order' and hope I don't make a human mistake afterward." More seriously, she wants to work on encouraging business — if the state hearing process upholds the access road, she'll promote that, but if not "there are other great projects going on in town," she said.

Clemence, however, was not the day's highest vote-getter. That honor went to Town Clerk Madaline Daoust, who clobbered her opponent John Pulawski 1,766 to 316.

Daoust declined comment afterward.

The School Committee incumbents — Jack Jovan and David DiGregorio — returned to office by large margins, both of them besting their neophyte opponents more than two to one.

The available Bay Path seat had no official candidate, but three people conducted last-minute write-in efforts — Rev. Peter Preble, Paulette DeSourcy and Michael Jaynes. Of them, unofficial returns had Preble on top with 30 votes, but Assistant Town Clerk Julie Pena said the totals were too close to call officially.

"I only did it because I'd heard no one was running," Preble said. "I just sort of told a couple people I was interested. It was all word of mouth."

Although Preble is best known as priest of the Romanian Orthodox Church and, more recently, as morning host on WESO-AM, he said he has been certified as a middle and high school teacher since before he went to seminary, and actually taught for five years.

"I know a little, but I'm going to have to get extremely educated about what's going on up there," he said. "Bay Path has a great reputation, and to keep that going with less money is going to take creativity."

The final totals were: (W denotes winners)

Town Council

1197 DENISE CLEMENCE - W

964 LARRY MCDONALD W

741 DAVID LIVENGOOD W

708 DENNIS MARTINEK

664 RINALDO BERNARDONE

471 GEORGE CHENIER

400 HECTOR DELGADO

276 STEPHANIE DEMARTINO

207 RON PROULX

School Committee

1255 John Jovan, Jr. - W

1166 David DiGregorio - W

593 Martena Shea

476 Michael Murray

191 Sean Gilliard

Town Clerk

Madaline Daoust 1766 - W

John Pulawski 316

Bay Path School Committee (all write-ins)

Peter Preble 30 - W

Michael Jaynes 22

Paulette DeSourcy 20

Housing Authority

Lawrence Boutillette 1407 -W

Redevelopment Authority

Holly Christo 1406 - W

Total ballots cast: 2130

Total percentage: 17.6%

See Thursday's Soutbridge Evening News for complete coverage.

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