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Election marks a new era in Nashua

Union Leader Correspondent
November 06. 2013 9:00PM

NASHUA — Drastic changes are about to take place on the Board of Aldermen in the new year, as five new faces were elected on Tuesday.

Sean McGuinness will be the new Ward 1 alderman, David Schoneman secured the Ward 3 alderman position, Pamela Brown will take over the Ward 4 seat, Fire Commissioner Michael Soucy will be the new Ward 5 alderman and Ken Siegel will represent Ward 9.

“I like being involved in the political process,” said McGuinness, a former state representative who has lived in Nashua since 1979. “I was encouraged to run for this position.” He ousted incumbent Kathryn Vitale for the alderman seat.

Brown, a local state representative, thanked everyone who supported her during the campaign.

“I love Nashua and the rich diversity in our ward, and look forward to being of greater service to my community,” Brown said on Wednesday. She beat out incumbent Arthur Craffey for the position.

Siegel, who secured the Ward 9 spot against Jeffrey Cox, said he is happy with the results and is committed to serving his constituents.

“I am excited to get started, and my top priority will be to respond to the needs of my constituents and help make the city come together and work constructively as a team,” said Siegel.

Two alderman-at-large incumbents — Barbara Pressly and Mark Cookson — did not secure enough votes to remain on the board.

“I have no regrets,” Pressly said on Wednesday. “I believe I’ve had an amazingly wonderful political career that spanned many years in many different areas.”

Taking over their positions as at-large aldermen are current Ward 3 Alderman Diane Sheehan and Ward 9 Alderman Dan Moriarty. Alderman-at-Large David Deane secured his position with the third at-large seat on the board.

“I think they deserve to win. They worked the hardest and they had that fire in the belly,” Pressly said of Sheehan and Moriarty. “They wanted it, and they worked hard for it.”

Sheehan admits it was a risk seeking an at-large position rather than her existing Ward 3 alderman seat, but said now was the ideal time to make the change.

“I am very happy, but I am emotionally exhausted,” she said on Wednesday. “I think everybody who ran is bringing civility and discussion to the board. I am hopeful this will be progress.”

The dynamics of the Board of Aldermen are about to change, according to Pressly, who said she believes it will be for the better.

“We have new voices and new opinions, primarily from the ward races. Everyone who won did the groundwork and went door-to-door, and they prevailed,” said Pressly, adding she will continue to be active in the community.

Cookson, who lost his seat on the board, was busy campaigning at the polls on Tuesday with his daughter.

“I don’t take anything for granted,” he said Tuesday prior the results being announced.

Tuesday’s election results have prompted two anticipated recounts.

“I spoke with the city clerk and I will be making a written request for a recount,” Paul Shea told the New Hampshire Union Leader on Wednesday.

Shea was seeking the Ward 3 alderman seat, but lost by six votes to Schoneman, a part-time flight instructor and pilot. Shea, a registered nurse, won 495 votes compared to Schoneman’s 501.

City Clerk Paul Bergeron said Schoneman originally received 500 votes, but there was one write-in ballot supporting Schoneman that was discovered late Tuesday night.

With a team of more than 40 volunteers helping to hold signs, raise money and make phone calls, Shea said he owes it to his supporters to seek a recount.

“No matter the result of the recount, I will continue to do the work that needs to be done to improve the quality of life in our city, particularly in our downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Shea.

Win or lose, Shea said his team has run a campaign that he is proud of. “That is our success story,” he said.

On Wednesday, Schoneman said he knew the race was going to be tight, but didn’t think it would be within a six-vote margin. Still, he doesn’t expect the recount to produce a different outcome.

“I ran on representation, and I think the results show that the people of Ward 3 are ready for something different,” said Schoneman. “I am excited and in awe, and fully humbled by the results.”

Schoneman says he is grateful that the residents of Nashua trust him enough to represent Ward 3.

The second tight race on Tuesday was the Ward 4 alderman race involving incumbent Arthur Craffey and state Rep. Pamela Brown. Craffey lost his seat with 173 votes compared to Brown’s 189 votes.

“I am very excited about winning, but also mindful of Mr. Craffey’s intention to request a recount. He has every right to do so, and I respect that,” said Brown. “Arthur has been a true gentleman throughout the campaign, and (Tuesday) showed kindness and generosity — he even offered to buy me lunch.”

Craffey confirmed Wednesday that he will seek a recount.

“I am disappointed,” Craffey said of his loss, arguing that Brown may not be able to fully prioritize her aldermanic duties since she also serves as a state representative.

“That is a very big conflict of interest. She can’t serve two masters,” Craffey said.

Bergeron said the candidates have until the end of the business day on Friday to submit a formal written request for a recount. The Board of Aldermen is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, at which time it will vote to accept the election returns, according to Bergeron.

If a request has been made for a recount, the board then has seven days to schedule the recount. At the latest, any recounts would take place by Nov. 18, he

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