BREAKING: Epstein Takes Selectman Seat; Prestwich, Checkoway Top School; Page On Housing

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. 

Belmont Votes: 2019 Town Election

Photo: Get out and vote.

The annual Belmont Town Election takes place on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

And below is information that will make the process of casting your ballot all that much easier.

Whose running for town wide and Town Meeting 

Click here for the Belmont League of Women 2019 Voters Guide for candidates and their campaign message.

Polling Places

For voting purposes, Belmont is divided into eight voting precincts, located as follows:

  • Precinct 1 – Belmont Memorial Library, Assembly Room, 336 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct 2 – Belmont Town Hall, Selectmen’s Room, 455 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct 3 – Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct 4 – Daniel Butler School, Gymnasium, 90 White St.
  • Precinct 5 – Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct 6 – Belmont Fire Headquarters, 299 Trapelo Rd.
  • Precinct 7 – Burbank School, Gymnasium, 266 School St.
  • Precinct 8 – Winn Brook School, Gymnasium, 97 Waterhouse Rd. (Enter from Cross Street)

Please adhere to the posted parking restrictions and use caution to ensure the safety of pedestrians around the voting precincts.

Are You Registered to Vote in Belmont and Eligible to Vote April 2? 

If you are wondering if you are a registered voter and your voting precinct, go to the Town Clerk’s web page or phone the Town Clerk’s office at 617-993-2600.

Arrive early, consider traffic and limited parking 

Belmont Police will designate some voter parking at each of the polling locations however with a  busy election, parking close to the polling places is often a challenge.

Plan ahead: consider walking, carpooling with a friend or voting “off peak” during the middle of the day. Only voters who arrive at the precinct and are in line for the Voter Check-In before the close of polls at 8 p.m. can be permitted to vote; those who arrive too late will miss out.

Need a ride to the polls? Rides to the Polls will be provided by the Belmont League of Women Voters. If you would like a ride to a Belmont polling place, please contact:, or call 617-771-8500. Please include your name, address, precinct (if you know it), phone number, and what time you would like a ride.

Election Day campaigning

The Town Clerk and the Board of Registrars of Voters remind all residents that campaign signs, stickers, buttons or materials may NOT be displayed within 150 feet of each polling place. This prohibition, per Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 54, §65, even extends to a candidate whose name is on the ballot, when the candidate is not actively voting.  The Town Clerk’s website posts a map displaying the 150-foot radius under Campaigning: Running for Elected Office and Town Meeting.

Election Results – How Do I Find Out the Results?

Election results for each precinct are announced by the Warden of each precinct after the close of the polls. The unofficial town-wide results will be announced at Town Hall and posted on the home page of the Town website as soon as they are available Tuesday evening or phone the Town Clerk’s office at 617-993-2600 on Wednesday morning. Campaign representatives are welcome to wait at Town Hall for the printed results.

Final Say: Cassandra Page, Belmont Housing Authority


I am Cassandra Page and I am running for Belmont Housing Authority. I am a lifelong resident of Belmont, and 30 year resident of Belmont Village.

I am a proud single mother of three beautiful children: Faith, Jacob and Christopher. I am running so that I can help create a better relationship between the BHA and the tenants. Through those relationships we can better the facilities and the character of the communities governed by the BHA.

When I was younger the Village was a much different place than it is today. When the village opened in 1950 it welcomed veterans and their families, giving them an affordable place to call home. There was a strong tie to our police department, everyone knew each other and we had large kickball games, water fights and cookouts. We weren’t just a community, we were family.

My goal is to rebuild these relationships not just between the tenant, but with the office staff, the board, and Belmont as a whole. I believe that working together we can restore the vibrant neighborhood I grew up in. Tenants need to be heard so that respect can grow on both sides. I hold a relationship and understanding of tenants no one else has. I can help them contribute not only in the decision making processes relating to our homes but also to bettering ourselves so eventually we will no longer need to rely on public housing. I want to build a better environment to pass on to the next generation of those in need, who may not otherwise have an opportunity to live here in Belmont.

The responsibility of the board is to oversee all financial aspects, programs, general maintenance and major projects by working with the director of the housing authority, while following DHCD guidelines, state laws and town bylaws. The BHA board is a bridge to better communication, not only with the office staff but with the tenants. Our low-income Developments for Veterans, Elderly, Disabled and Families deserve a place to call HOME.

Not only will I add tenant perspective to the board, I have made it my goal to learn my responsibilities. I have attended multiple meetings since starting this journey; even ones not directly related to the BHA. I am certain that I am prepared to take on this role and adapt it to needs of the town and tenants.

Some people might question my ability to tackle problems that the BHA might face, but I have been through more challenges in my life than the average person could even fathom, and I’m still standing; I am a survivor. I have always found a way through adversity with very little resources.

This experience has taught me so much about our community, government and myself. I feel truly blessed to have had this experience. I have met so many people through this process and their kindness has been invaluable. I want to thank everyone that has placed my sign in their yard, donated to my campaign, held a sign, and shown up to support me at meetings. So many people have encouraged me and given me their support privately including many tenants that are afraid to add their names to the list below of people who wish to endorse me publicly.

  • Natasha Vazquez
  • Linda Levin
  • Bonnie Friedman
  • Ellen Sugarman and Paul Rickter
  • Jack Weis
  • Emma Thurston
  • Loriann Hazel
  • Peter Smilak
  • Sandi McKinley
  • Julie Crockett
  • April Edrington
  • Laura Caputo
  • Cosmo and Keri Macero
  • Jessica and Nick Hausman
  • Cabell and Curtis Eames
  • Claire Holmes
  • Anne and Fred Paulsen
  • Rose O’Neil
  • Arty Marchetta
  • Daniel Cohen
  • Amy Checkoway
  • Paul Roberts and Lisa Starobin
  • Sundi Eleni
  • Carina Jasmine Hernandez-Wigfall
  • Libby Fallon Weintraub
  • Jenn Spencer
  • Jennifer Sheehan
  • Rose Marie Carlson
  • Roger and Roberta Wrubel
  • Anne Stuart
  • Paul Santos
  • Mary Ries
  • Claudia Flett
  • Erin and Ogden Sawyer

Since I began this journey, I have seen my neighbors start to come together as a community. I am confident that if I am elected to the Belmont Housing Authority I will be able to amp up this momentum and see the Belmont Village and all the Belmont Housing Authority properties become the vibrant communities they are meant to be.

I ask you to vote for me, Cassandra Page, for the Belmont Housing Authority on April 2nd and help me turn the PAGE to a better community!

Final Say: Jessie Bennett, Board Of Selectmen

Photo: Jessie Bennett (photo from

I am inspired by you.

You have shared so much with me these last few months: your hopes for your children or your retirement; your excitement, and nervousness, about the educational opportunities brought by the new 7-12 school; your determination to address our climate goals, cost of housing, business climate, traffic congestion, and pedestrian safety; your passion for the gathering places that define our town – the library, rink, and soon, community path.

You are what I love about Belmont.

So let’s do something bold. Let’s bring us all together. Let’s bring our combined skills, experiences, points of view. And let’s work like crazy until we get things done.

That’s what I do. I’ve spent my entire professional life joining and leading teams – in banking and non-profits, marketing and communications. I’ve spent nearly a decade in Belmont organizations – from town government to school-related non-profits to citizen groups – collaborating and leading people to accomplish big goals.

At this moment in time, Belmont needs a leader. Not an analyst, not a manager – we have those on staff. We need a Selectwoman who talks to residents, studies every angle of the issues, and values the advice of town departments and committees.

We need a leader who strikes the right balance and keeps us all in mind when tough decisions are made.

This is my promise: I am here to serve you, and I will never forget that it’s not about me – it’s about us.

I hope you will join me in creating the future of our town, and I humbly ask for your vote on April 2.

Letter To The Editor: Vote Roy Epstein, For A Shared Vision

Photo: (from left) Elizabeth Dionne, Roy Epstein, Lisa Gibalerio

To the editor:

We are two Belmont women who are voting for Roy Epstein for Selectman on Tuesday because we believe in a vision for our town that is shared by both of the major candidates.

Look at the platforms of the candidates — check out their websites. Each wants successful building projects, awesome schools, diversity and transparency, safe roads and sidewalks, less traffic, environmental progress, affordable senior housing, a community path, and sustainable budgets.

We want that too! It’s a vision shared by many people in our community. (It’s funny that there is such heated debate on social media—the candidates basically agree!)

We bet you agree with these laudable goals as well.

Since we all agree on the goals, the question really becomes: what’s the best way to reach these goals? Which candidate is best equipped to help us move forward toward accomplishing these goals?

Here the answer is clear: Roy Epstein.

Roy has a decade of experience working through all the ins-and-outs of a complex town structure (regulations, by-laws, arcane procedures, etc.). He has also accomplished things that no one else even thought of: the DPW/Police Station renovation, the Flanders Road electrical substation siting, and so on. To anyone who knows the town’s recent history, Roy’s accomplishments are staggering.

We are first-hand witnesses, we have watched Roy in action. While others sit in meetings, pontificating about “the best path forward,” Roy quietly takes out a ruler and a pencil and visits the sites at issue. Where others might skip down to the summaries, Roy pores over the budgets line by line. Roy investigates, he looks deeply. He’s the Sherlock Holmes of town government: he not only solves the case, but his process is brilliant, and his conclusion is beyond what anyone was considering.

The other major candidate is certainly accomplished, and we appreciate her many contributions to Belmont, but her field, her experience, is in communications and marketing—not governance, not finance. With a $295 million school underway, many other capital projects ramping up, and a fiscal storm the likes of which we haven’t seen in years about to hit the town, we need the person with the most profound financial skills and the deepest relevant town experience sitting in the driver’s seat. That means Roy.

So, precisely because we share this vision, because we want that common vision of a thriving Belmont to come to fruition, we’re voting for Roy!

We hope you will too. Thanks!

Lisa Gibalerio, Campaign Chair; Elizabeth Dionne, Campaign Treasurer

Committee to Elect Roy Epstein

Final Say: Micheal Crowley, Belmont School Committee (One Year Seat)

Photo: Micheal Crowley, Belmont School Committee (one year) (photo credit: Belmont Media Center)

I’m running for School Committee because I believe that our kids deserve the best education that Belmont can provide. This is why I was involved in the Yes for Belmont campaign for the new 7-12 school, which will dramatically improve our school system.

We need strong oversight to make sure that this almost $300 million school is a success from the moment construction begins. It has to meet the needs of our kids and their kids, too. I want to make sure that we get our money’s worth from this project because so much depends on it.

Apart from the need for the new 7-12 school, we have an excellent school system and a supportive community. That’s a great place to be. But I also think there are plenty of other issues to stay focused on. Here are just a few:

  • Class Sizes. Increasing enrollments have put pressure on class sizes for several years. Class sizes for many of our grades are well beyond what they should be. The new school is part of the solution because it helps solve our space needs. We also need to invest in additional teachers and staff if we’re going to continue making progress.
  • School Fees. Like many area school districts, we’ve implemented fees for music programs, athletics, and transportation, and fees are here to stay. But I think it’s worth reviewing our fees and waiver criteria periodically to make sure that we’re not turning away any kids from activities because of affordability.
  • After School Care. So many Belmont families depend on after school care. Availability of after-school care has improved during the last year, but the School Committee can be part of a town-wide conversation to make sure that we have enough—and that it’s affordable.
  • Vocational Education. We still don’t have a long term plan for vocational education since Belmont voted to exit the Minuteman District in 2016. Fixing this isn’t something we can ignore.

These are some of the issues I’m thinking about. As someone who believes that all community voices deserve to be heard, I’m interested in the concerns of parents and other Belmont community members, too.

I’ve been a Town Meeting Member and a Member of the Warrant Committee since 2016. So, I’m familiar with many of the critical issues we face in our schools, including those involving budget and finance. I also have more than 20 years of budget and finance experience with the White House Office of Management and Budget. This kind of experience can be a real asset to the School Committee as it grapples with future funding issues.

I live in Belmont with my wife and 17-year old son. We really appreciate being a part of this community. As a potential School Committee Member, I’m committed to ensuring that our schools continue to meet the needs of our children.

Final Say: Roy J. Epstein, Board of Selectman [Video]

Photo: Roy Epstein (center), candidate for Board of Selectmen.

Over the next few years, Belmont will face the greatest financial challenge in its history.

A nearly $300 million school project is underway. The Police Station and DPW renovations are out to bid. A new Library and a new hockey rink are top priorities. Many roads and sidewalks are still in terrible shape. Most critically, preserving the quality of our schools and town services is at risk because the funds from the 2015 override will be depleted within two years.

The stakes are nothing less than our overall quality of life.

In a financial crisis, we need financial leadership. As former Selectman Ralph Jones put it:

“The nature of the challenges facing the town calls for strong leadership, creative problem solving, and a full grasp of the intricacies of the town’s finances. Of the candidates, only Roy Epstein has the qualities these challenges require.”

Belmont needs a Selectman with demonstrated experience and competence that can be applied immediately to solve the actual problems before us.

I am that candidate.

I have a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale, I’m an Adjunct Professor of Finance at B.C., I’ve spent the last 30 years advising law firms on complex financial issues. I’ve been a member of the Warrant Committee (the town’s financial watchdog) since 2007, and currently, serve as its Chair.  I’ve gained experience in all aspects of town government from working on many critical committees, including major building projects and Belmont Light. My work has saved tens of millions of dollars for the town. (For details, see my website,

Very soon, we will navigate a financial hurricane.  I’m the only candidate in this election who has the demonstrated skills to manage this storm successfully as a member of the Board of Selectmen.

I entered this race with a deep sense of civic duty. I’ve knocked on hundreds of doors and listened carefully to your concerns. We must remain a united and respectful community. At this critical time, I offer my knowledge, experience, and commitment to you, to help us meet the challenges ahead together.

I ask for your vote on Tuesday, April 2.

Letter To The Editor: Joint Endorsement For Jessie

Photo: Jessie Bennett at the Belmont League of Women Voters’ debate

To the Editor: 

Jessie Bennett is the selectman candidate we should vote for.  She is fiscally responsible and an enthusiastic civic leader. Jessie Bennett is the candidate who understands the needs of our town because she mingles with the citizens and listens to differing points of view.

Jessie steps out publicly to address problems. She led the fight to make walking to the Burbank School safer. She has joined the Transportation Advisory Committee and the High School Traffic Working Group in order to make sure that our new high school does not overwhelm the surrounding neighborhoods.

When building a new high school was on the horizon, Jessie jumped in to help with the project. She not only worked to pass the debt exclusion, but she has also been a presence at the Building Committee Meetings to participate in the discussions.

Jessie doesn’t come into the process in the middle of deliberations, she is there from the start.

Experience is valuable but what kind of experience do we need? Jessie has had experience in the world of work, from banking to marketing and communications as well as working in the non-profit sector. Her kind of experience leads to good decision making for all the citizens of Belmont. In the debates, Jessie has demonstrated her knowledge of the varied aspects of the issues and how they present opportunities for the Town of Belmont.

Selectmen do not make decisions in a vacuum. They have the assistance of professional employees who make the town work on a daily basis and also advise the selectmen on issues of finance. They provide information and background materials that lead to good decision making. A selectman is not just an individual, she is also part of the team.

Jessie Bennett is one of us. She knows how the ordinary people rely on the schools, the recreation activities, the Council on Aging, the work of the Department of Public works, and the Board of Health.  Her decision making will not only be financially sound but it will also be informed by broad input. Let’s put a smart hardworking woman on the Board.

Fred and Anne Paulsen

School Street

Final Say: Tim Flood, Board of Selectmen

Photo: Tim Flood

By Tim Flood

I’m running for Selectman to provide a neutral perspective in all matters Belmont faces. The angst I have heard throughout town is that nothing will ever change. I want you to be able to share your opinions and concerns and have your voice truly heard.

I am running because our leadership has lost the trust of our community.  Town leadership is supposed to be stewards to our $120 million of public funds we give them. These funds are supposed to be used for basic services that should be providing safe and thriving neighborhoods and a prosperous business community. Belmont is not thriving fiscally. Mismanagement has led us to $166 million deficit where the apparent plan is to raise taxes every four to five years, starting next year. Without change, we will continue to lose local businesses and we will not be able to afford to live in our homes.

What can we do to improve our situation? We need to change our culture. You may have noticed I have not mailed literature with lists of supporters, nor have I solicited for campaign contributions. I not running for Selectman to represent a few, I want to represent all 25,000 residents of this town. I am here on my own merit, not on the merit of others.

Despite several e-mails circulating by other campaigns attacking my character during this race,  as voters, you must decide what to believe. I know what is true because I have lived it. However, I would ask you: Do you trust those who would disseminate falsehoods to gain power? Are those the actions of a true leader? This is not Belmont, this is not leadership.

I moved to Belmont to provide my daughter the best I could. I want her to thrive in school, be safe walking on our streets and have her grow up with a strong sense of community. I believe many of us share these values. We want leaders that will bring us together to overcome our challenges and create a vision for our future, not to divide us. We need to prepare for our future keeping in mind our shared values of community, education, family, and inclusion from our past.

We need a leader that will be fiscal responsibility. Relying heavily on our taxpayers is especially burdensome to our young families and seniors. I will work to provide more strategic and creative planning and budgeting for our future. I will do this through open discussion and working to understand differences of opinion – I will welcome all input. Every person in our community matters, just as every vote matters.

We need a leader that will support local businesses. As a local small business owner, I will use my 10 years of experience to establish more business-friendly town policies to increase community support and strengthen our tax base. I will work to encourage businesses to open and stay in Belmont using a more streamlined process to help create a more vibrant community.

We need a leader that will address our traffic. Using my military and law enforcement experience, I will work to implement new solutions to address traffic congestion and improve safety, such as four-way stops at every intersection surrounding our schools. We can make Belmont a more walkable, pedestrian-friendly town.

We need to have a diversity of leadership experiences on the board of selectman. I differentiate myself as a military veteran and local small business owner.

As your Selectman, I will work tirelessly to thoughtfully and collaboratively represent our community.  While providing a fresh, new voice to the persistent problems Belmont faces, my primary responsibility will be to represent our town. 

Letter to the Editor: Enthusiastic Support Of Amy Checkoway For School Committee

Photo: Amy Checkoway’s campaign poster

To the editor:

I am writing in enthusiastic support of Amy Checkoway for School Committee member.

Amy is an outstanding choice for a School Committee member. She is an intelligent, devoted candidate who will do an exceptional job helping the School Committee navigate the challenging road ahead — building a new school and the reorganization that will follow. Amy is an excellent communicator and she is a consummate professional. I can think of no one else better suited for this role than Amy.

I have known Amy for more than five years as we served together on the Wellington PTO Student Care Board together from 2014 through 2018. I had an opportunity to see Amy and her tireless efforts for the benefit of the Wellington community. Now she is ready to dedicate her time to ensure that the Belmont Public Schools are the best they can be for our kids, the educational professionals, and the community.

Working with Amy has taught me a number of things about her. First, Amy is very bright and is able to appreciate complex situations at multiple levels; she understands the finer details but is able to keep the larger goal in mind. Second, Amy is a highly effective communicator and she understands the importance of clear, open dialog with the community. Further, she has experience as an education professional and therefore knows how to communicate with others in the education field. Third, she is about as organized and dependable as one can be. Amy is the type of person that you know will get the job done, and get it done well. Finally, Amy is extremely ethical, professional, and dedicated to any endeavor she undertakes.

While Amy is just about one of the nicest people you will meet, that doesn’t mean she won’t stand up to do what she believes is right for our schools, our children, and our community. I completely trust that Amy will always do the right thing for Belmont Schools.

Please join me in voting for Amy Checkoway for School Committee member on April 2.

Brooke Bevis

Cedar Road