Originally published in The Weekly Packet, February 13, 2014
Two running for selectman; Reilly and Levesque unopposed in Sedgwick
by Bette Britt
For the second year in a row, local voters will choose between two candidates running for selectman, with incumbent Neil Davis seeking a second three-year term while being challenged by political newcomer Jeff Buchholz. Voters heading to the polls on Friday, March 7, will find two familiar names on the ballot, as Cynthia Reilly is unopposed in seeking re-election as treasurer, while Michele Levesque is looking forward to another term on the school board; if elected, both will serve three-year terms.
Jeff Buchholz, First Selectman, three-year term
Making his first serious attempt to run for public office after an initial try at being a write-in candidate for school board, Jeff Buchholz took out papers to run for selectman. He said in a recent interview that he hopes to be able to lend a helping hand to the town that has been his home for the past 12 years. Self-employed as a custom machinist/tool maker with a shop adjacent to his Old County Road home, Buchholz is able to attend to town business, not only at weekly meetings of the board but to participate in outside-the-office activities that have made the job a lot more demanding than it used to be.
With an 8-year-old son in Sedgwick Elementary School, Buchholz suggested a personal interest in education and wondered aloud why it is that younger people don’t attend public meetings; “I’m always disappointed in the turn-out,” he stated. His background includes involvement, with others, in starting a business in Boston; the group encouraged open meetings so others could feel free to attend and learn, something he has tried to do in Sedgwick by attending meetings of the planning board and school board. Buchholz mentioned talking with selectmen Nelson Grindal and Victor Smith who told him about the new computer system in the town office; he indicated knowledge handy for a candidate to realize, that a town has to spend money on a lot of things that put a strain on a tight budget. In summary, Buchholz stated he has no specific plans for what he’d do if elected selectman, but his openness to the challenge was apparent when he stated, “I just want to be part of the town and help in any way I can.”
Neil Davis, First Selectman, three-year term
In actuality, Davis stated in a recent interview, this is his fourth run for selectman; he served two terms back in the 1990s and retired after, among other things, being on the board involved with the purchase of 28 acres on Walker Pond. He was a member—and still serves as chairman—of the town’s Public Access Committee. Proud of his experience during those two previous terms, Davis was quoted as saying in 2011, when he was about to re-enter town government, “I’m not running to win, I’m running to help.”
After serving Sedgwick from 2011 to the present as first selectman, for what one might call a third term, Davis indicated that experience is more vital than ever in seeking elected office. He said he also worries there are too few younger people interested in volunteering, getting to really know their town and its needs and rolling up their sleeves to help at a time when costs, like education, are high and when many live below the poverty level. He decried small numbers attending the annual town meeting and other meetings, like those of the planning board, where members of the public can listen and learn, get to know one another, experience what he calls “democracy.” If elected, Davis will have served the town as selectman for four terms, a total of 12 years; he has noted progress, such as the new substation and Walker Pond access, while living with fiscal restraint to “run a pretty good-size business,” the town he wants to continue serving for another term as selectman.
Polls will be open for voting at the historic Town House on Route 172, across from Old County Road, on Friday, March 7, at 12:45 p.m. for the purpose of electing a town meeting moderator; voting for town officials will begin at 1 p.m. and close at 6 p.m. Town meeting will reconvene at the Town House on Saturday, March 8, at 9 a.m. to act on 57 warrant articles.