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Saugus races finalized, candidates ready

SAUGUS – When 5 p.m. settled on the Town Clerk’s office Tuesday there was a heavy sigh of relief that yet another election hurdle had been cleared.Tuesday was the last day for candidates to file papers. While the election is seven weeks away it is already heating up with a field of 11 running for the Board of Selectmen and dozens of newcomers seeking Town Meeting seats.Five incumbents along with Debra Panetta, who will leave her seat on School Committee, Town Meeting members Donald Wong, Sean Maltais and Raymond Lawrence, along with Stephen Castinetti and Robert McCarthy Jr. will seek votes for the Board of Selectmen.Diane Carey did not return papers.The School Committee had a less than stellar turnout with only five candidates seeking five seats. Incumbents Christine Wilson, Wendy Reed and Joseph Malone will fill the chairs along with Town Meeting member Frederick Doucette and William Leuci.With at least 12 members stepping down and dozens of new faces seeking seats Town Meeting could face what Moderator Robert Long characterized as the largest turnover in recent history.Notably not on the ticket is Christopher Luongo, Fred Moore, Ellen Burns and Brenton Spencer, who is retiring after 28 years of serving Precint 5 on Town Meeting.Precinct 5 is the largest race with nine candidates in the field and carries the only father-son team with Paul J. Van Steensburg junior and senior on the ticket. Laura Groark of Residents for Higher Standards has also jumped into the fray along with Anthony Valente, Darren Ring, Betty Ann Sullivan and incumbents Pamela Goodwin, William Dembro and Paul Petkewich.Precincts 3 and 10 are also hot races with eight candidates each.Precincts 1 and 6 are the only races without a race. Not only is there no run for seats in Precinct 6 there aren’t enough candidates to fill the seats they have.Matthew Vecchio joins incumbents Jean Bartolo, Joseph Attubato and Maltais, leaving the precinct one candidate short. However, if Maltais is successful in his bid for a selectmen seat the precinct will find itself short two bodies.While there are about 14 town employees or close relatives running for meeting seats, the School Department could possibly benefit most from the new faces. Notable school supporters such as Roger Sacilotto, former School Committee Chairman Barbara Malone, current School Committee member Ellen Faiella and Residents for Higher Standard members Karen Cote, Stacy Billingsly and Groark are all running as are incumbents Kimberly Palitano and Patricia Anne Johnson.Two residents also returned papers for Housing Authority, Judy Hoffman and Nicole Nicosia but those seeking seats on Charter Commission have one more week to get their legwork done.According to the Town Clerk’s office candidates don’t have to file papers for Charter Commission until Tuesday, Sept. 25.With a list of 15 candidates already in line for nine seats the race the Charter Commission is bound to be hot as well.

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