Photo: Cassandra Page (right) hugs Charles Laverty III as the newly elected member of the Housing Authority celebrates her popular victory.
In a battle between Belmont’s progressive community and the town’s establishment wing, Warrant Committee Chair Roy Epstein prevailed over newcomer Jessie Bennett to fill the seat of retiring selectman Mark Paolillo in a tight race in the 2019 Belmont Town Election held on Tuesday, April 2.
Epstein was able to parlay a long history of experience as a member of numerous town boards and committees to the win over Bennett garnering 2,573 votes (final totals will be certified by the state) from the town’s eight precincts, a razor thin 128 vote majority over Bennett. Epstein’s win was secured with lopsided majorities in two precincts – Belmont Hill’s Precinct 2 (a two-to-one win, 442-208) and Winn Brook’s Precinct 8 (446-308) – to offset Bennett’s wide support winning six of the town’s eight precincts.
Trailing the field was newcomer Tim Flood who came in third with 128 votes.
In the race for Belmont School Committee, incumbent Andrea Prestwich will retain her seat for a full three-year term coming in with 2,975 votes, joining first-time candidate Amy Checkoway who took the second three-year seat available this year with 3,105 votes. Peter Pantazapolous (1,417 votes) came in third in the three-person race.
Micheal Crowley ran unopposed to take the one-year term seat on the School Committee.
In a race for a five-year seat on the Belmont Housing Committee, Belmont Village resident Cassandra Page defeated incumbent Tomi Olsen, 2,422 to 2,034. An anxious Page arrived at Town Hall to hear the results called by Assistant Town Clerk Meg Piccione outside the Board of Selectmen’s Room. When her victory was confirmed, Page – a popular first time candidate who ran on improving the lives of her fellow residents – received countless handshakes and hugs from supporters, observers such as Paolillo who came to see if he won a seat on Town Meeting (he did) and total strangers.
“Oh my God. This is so not real,” an overjoyed Page said to Charles Laverty III (who was newly re-elected on the Board of Assessors) who is a now fellow housing board member.