Rockingham voters mark ballots for change

Dunbar, North, Cowan elected to Rockingham Selectboard; Paul Obuchowski returned to UHS #27 school board

ROCKINGHAM-Town Meeting voting on April 1 and 2 brought several changes to school boards and the Selectboard. It was a particularly rough night for those seeking reelection.

The incumbents — Rockingham School Board chair Priscilla Lambert; Deborah Wright, who was also running for a one-year Selectboard seat; and Bellows Falls Union High School board chair Jason Terry — were all defeated by large margins.

Dunbar added that he felt the election results showed that the voters also want people in elected positions who are offering solutions and not simply criticizing others for the state of affairs.

"There are a lot of challenges ahead for our Selectboard and the school boards," Dunbar said. Having people on the boards who can work together toward solutions with civility and concern for all those affected, he said, seemed to be important for voters.

"We should not be encouraging voters to make decisions based on fears of what could happen," he said, but instead "based on what we as elected officials will do to provide solutions when and if challenges are faced."

He commented on the amazing sense of pride he sees in the community and noted that the future of Rockingham is looking brighter on many fronts. "I think that voters are sending a signal that they want to capture that energy and ensure it continues in coming years."

Paul Obuchowski, who served on the Union High School board for 30 years before stepping down 12 years ago, was voted back as a school director of UHS District #27, defeating incumbent Jason Terry with

He noted that many in the community had encouraged him to return and said his nearly 300-vote victory margin over the incumbent "inspired me a little bit."

"I want to thank the voters of Rockingham for supporting me in the run for School Board," he said. "I'm always open to have people call me or stop me on the street. I really want to represent all the people."

He added that he felt, during the last budget process, " I'm not sure that those board members really listened to the community," a sentiment he interprets as the reason previous board members were defeated by such a wide margin.

He noted that in all his years on the board, the only time he'd presented a budget that was defeated was when he felt the board had not listened to what the community wanted. That budget had eliminated a driver's ed position, and voters rejected the budget until the position was added back in.

"It's always about the kids and the community," Obuchowski said. "The kids are the most important. Educate every kid at a cost the taxpayers can afford."

In the race for one three-year seat as director of the Rockingham School District, Rick Holloway defeated incumbent Priscilla Clough Lambert, 460 to 192.
Two new members were elected to one-year seats as school directors of Union High School District #27, Christopher Hodsden, Sr., with 411 votes, and Kim Keefe, with 310. Also running were Michael Stack, with 196 votes: Virginia Driscoll, with 184; Jason Terry, with 134; and Deborah Wright, with 77.
While new to the board, both new members are well known in the school system. Hodsden was principal of BFUHS for 16 years before taking a new position, and Keefe had been a front office worker at the high school.
In other results, Thomas (Tad) Dedrick was elected as a town lister with 550 votes.
Elected as trustees of the Rockingham Free Public Library were Martha Rowley, with 543 votes, and Michael Sola, with 438.
The sole two-year seat on the Rockingham School District board was won by unopposed Jim McAulliffe with 499 votes.
Article 2, proposing a $10.5 million Rockingham school budget, passed 412 to 232.

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