Coogan, Burton win in Oak Bluffs
In a five-way race for two seats on the board of selectmen, Oak Bluffs voters re-elected selectman Gregory Coogan and elected newcomer Kathleen Burton to three-year terms.
Mr. Coogan, a teacher, was the top vote-getter, with 626 votes. A total of 1,225 Oak Bluffs voters, or 38 percent of the town's 3,195 registered voters, went to the polls Thursday.
Ms. Burton, a real estate professional, got 571 votes in her first foray into politics. "It was a wonderful experience," she said in a phone conversation on Tuesday. "I loved that I was able to talk to so many people." She credited a regular Saturday campaign stop at the Oak Bluffs post office for winning votes. She said she is ready to get to work when selectmen meet next Tuesday.
"I know we need to start looking at next year's budget right now," said Ms. Burton. "We need to look at all the things that we do and see if there's a more economical way to do them."
Mr. Coogan told The Martha's Vineyard Times he is grateful to the voters for electing him to a third term. He said he appreciated their confidence in him. Running for reelection provided an opportunity to speak with many people, he added. What he heard is that the economy and taxes worry voters.
Mr. Coogan vowed to do his best to provide efficient town government and seek outside assistance for town projects. "I look forward to working with Kathy," he said.
The next highest vote-getter in the selectman's race was Gail Barmakian, an attorney who currently sits on the zoning board of appeals (486 votes), followed by Herbert Combra Jr. a former selectman and past highway superintendent (449 votes), and David Wessling, a former traffic planner for the Martha's Vineyard Commission (48 votes).
Incumbent David Richardson easily beat back a challenge by Jesse B. Law for a one-year term as town moderator. The vote was 707 to 427.
In other contested elections, Melanie Erin Marchand won a three-year term on the school committee, defeating Bill McGrath (389 votes) and Melanie Bilodeau (143 votes), who had announced her withdrawal from the race.