Ellen Townson, far right, speaks as a panelist about food insecurity in 2022 (file photo).

This month, Andover News is publishing profiles of the candidates running for select board and school committee in the 2024 Andover Town Election on March 26 to help voters make decisions. You can also view all Andover News election coverage.

Responses are from a questionnaire sent to all candidates in February and, in some cases, have been edited for length and clarity. Today’s profile is from Ellen Townson, who is one of four candidates running for two open seats on the select board.

All Andover News coverage of the town election on March 26 will be available free to non-subscribers as a service to Andover voters. Please consider supporting local news by subscribing to Andover News.

The Basics

Family: Husband Winslow, stepsons Andrew and Brian, and son Owen (13).

Education: Andover High School, Merrimack College- BA Communications, University of Galway (Ireland) Diploma in Irish Archaeology.

Occupation: Prior to raising my family, my career was focused in corporate marketing and business communications positions.

Campaign Website: https://townsonforandover.com

Qualifications for Office

What prompted you to run for elect office?

I am running because I feel residents are looking for a leader who listens to their concerns, understands the municipal process, and has the time and energy to look at all sides of issues as part of decision-making. Those are the qualities I have embraced over the last two decades, in my positions on both quaisi-judicial boards and advisory committees for the Town as well as other organizations in the community. I’m ready to bring those skills, and my belief in working together, to a broader level in supporting my fellow residents over the next few years.

My work with Andover’s food insecurity has taught me that budgets are tight for many children and senior citizens, and we need to invest in educating our children while also making sure our seniors can afford to stay here. Andover will be facing many upcoming challenges, both expected and unexpected, and our town needs a leader who will work well with others, while also addressing community concerns and considering opinions that may be very different from my own.

On the Issues

What are the most important issues the Select Board will face in your next term?

Over the next few years, Andover will need to address balancing our budget short and long term, evaluating our Town Manager and his contract, thoughtful planning for both housing and commercial development opportunities and moving forward on current projects like the Chandler Road/Park Community property. We also need to implement a comprehensive strategy for managing our increasing storm events and their impact on our homes, roads and businesses. Working on Andover’s food insecurity has opened my eyes to the number of young families and seniors that are facing financial concerns. It is very important to also keep those residents in mind throughout every decision-making process.

Outline your position, if any, on the Andover’s efforts to comply with the new state housing rules for municipalities in Massachusetts that have MBTA stations and service. What, in your opinion, is the best option for Andover to comply with these rules?

The Town is already moving forward towards complying with this rule. Complying allows our community to access valuable State grant funding and will provide thoughtful development of much needed housing. I do feel it is important to connect our residents in west Andover with the community hub and services they need, through a combination of public transportation and additional Town services and commercial offerings in that area of town.

What other issues do you feel are important in this election and/or your specific race?

Andover needs leaders who work well together and are prepared to face not just the current issues, but also the unexpected ones that we don’t know about yet. It is also very important that our residents are represented by someone who is accessible, takes time to listen to their concerns and uses their experience to help them navigate the municipal process.

What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?

One of the best parts about boards is having members come together, bringing different backgrounds and areas of experience, and I look forward to working together with others. My experience on multiple municipal boards has given me the opportunity to prove myself as a good listener, being accessible to fellow residents and paying attention to their concerns. I have earned a reputation for always being prepared for meetings and regularly taking advantage of additional training opportunities in order to benefit both the boards and our town. Over the years, I have gained experience in navigating the municipal process, and my recent enrollment in the Andover Leadership Academy has also provided me with a deeper understanding of our municipal functions. As a mother still raising my family here, I am very much invested in providing a safe and positive community for all our residents.

What else should voters know about you and your campaign?

I am 52 years old. I was born and raised here in Andover and feel very fortunate to be raising my family here. In my free time I love all outdoor activities, visiting family in Ireland, reading piles of books and following the Boston Bruins.

Previous Candidate Profiles

  • This is the first candidate profile Andover News has published in the 2024 election season.

Key Dates For The 2024 Town Election

The town election is scheduled for March 26. The last day to register to vote in the 2023 Andover election is March 16, 2023. You can register to vote online or by visiting the Town Clerk’s office.

Feb. 27: Deadline to submit a vote by mail application.

March 16: Deadline to register to vote in the March 28 election.

March 28: Election Day. Polls open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. (completed mail-in ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on election day).

More election information from the Town of Andover.

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