Bedford officials urge residents to run for upcoming election
BEDFORD — Town councilors hope residents will throw their hats into the ring and file as candidates for open seats on the council and the school board.
The filing period runs through Friday, Jan. 31, at Bedford Town Offices, 24 N. Amherst Road. As of Thursday afternoon, only James Aguiar has filed his candidacy for one of two open seats on the Town Council. Incumbent Lori Radke filed for another term as town clerk.
No one so far has filed to serve on the school board, including member Don Graff, who has said he will not seek reelection.
“Most activity occurs on the last two days of filing,” said Radke.
But councilors urge people not to wait because the town needs volunteers to step up now before the filing period ends.
“Anyone who has an interest and thinks they have something to say is encouraged to run. We need the volunteerism in the town,” said Councilor Bill Dermody, who has decided not to run for a third term.
Dermody and his fellow councilors are calling upon residents who have considered running or those who are not satisfied with how the town is managed to file for public office.
“For the last several years, we have had what I’ll call ‘default elections,’ two seats open and only two names on the ballot,” said Dermody. “Not to demean the people who stepped forward, they did what they were supposed to do, but the residents of Bedford are not necessarily served well if there is no choice of candidates, positions and philosophy. This is how special interests gain control.”
Councilor Jim Scanlon said people can better serve the town by physically sitting on the council or school board rather than voicing their opinions elsewhere.
“I think it’s a disgrace, quite frankly, that with a 24,000 population in this town it’s a search to find even two or four people willing to step forward,” said Scanlon at the Jan. 22 council meeting. “They certainly are willing to step forward anonymously and render their comments, critically or in praise, but they’re much more effectively done if done through the auspices of a seat on the council or the School Board.”
Councilor Kelleigh Domaingue said several people have contacted her asking if political experience is required to file for candidacy, or if there is an age limit.
“You absolutely don’t need prior political experience. It probably makes you a better councilor if you don’t have it,” she said. “There are no age restrictions. It’s a commitment that is definitely worth it. The town needs people that are going to be involved and care about the community, and really want to shape it for the future.”
Chairman Chris Bandazian, whose term also expires in March, said volunteers are also needed to fill several board and committee seats, and the council will begin interviews soon.
For a list of boards/committees, visit www.bedfordnh.org and click on news/announcements. You can also contact councilors directly. A list of emails is available on the town website.
Town seats up for election include two seats on the Town Council with three-year terms; one library trustee for a three-year term; one town clerk, three-year term; one trustee of the trust funds, three-year term: one town moderator, two-year term; and one supervisor of the checklist, six-year term. There are two, three-year openings on the School Board.
Any registered voter can file their candidacy with Town Clerk Lori Radke at 472-3550, or at 24 N. Amherst Road from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and until 5 p.m. on Jan. 31.
Those who want to file for school district seats may contact Judith Perry, school district clerk, at 472-3550.