Andover will have two new select board members after a contested race at annual town election in March after both Chris Huntress and Annie Gilbert said Tuesday they would not run for third terms.
“It has been a privilege to serve on the Board for the past six years, working alongside incredible individuals and gaining valuable insights into our Town and the challenges we face,” Huntress said in an email to Andover News Tuesday.
Gilbert echoed Huntress’s sentiments.
“After serving 7 years on the School Committee and another 6 on the Select Board, it’s time to turn my attention to other things, and time for other people to step onto the Board and lend their own experiences and perspectives,” Gilbert said. “It has been an absolute privilege to serve Andover as a member of the Select Board, and to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from so many talented colleagues, residents, and staff. I will be forever grateful for the experience.”
Andover typically sees competitive elections when an incumbent — or incumbents — decide not to seek reelection. Kevin Coffey, who fell 79 votes short in a bid to unseat Laura Gregory last year, and George Thorlin, who petitioned to get two traffic safety articles on Monday’s special town meeting warrant, have already announced runs for office. Also on Tuesday, Town Clerk Austin Simko said Zoning Board of Appeals member Ellen Keller had taken out nomination papers to run for select board.
“I urge those who are interested to consider volunteering their time and running for local office,” Huntress said. “It is a rewarding and humbling experience, and I am grateful to the residents of Andover for allowing me the opportunity to represent them.”
In June, Huntress became the first elected official to voice concerns over the $451.5 million price tag of the proposed new high school project. The project was dealt a likely death blow Monday when special town meeting shot down an article to pay $1.3 million for a detailed design of the proposed building.
“It has a potential 20% increase on our taxes,” Huntress said before the select board accepted the AHS building committee’s. “While I may look at it and say that I’m on board with that, and I’m willing to invest in that, I’ve heard from others in the community who aren’t…The issue I’m struggling with is we need a new school, and we can’t afford any of the options presented to date.”
Alex Vispoli later joined Huntress in the minority in voting to recommend special town meeting not approve the schematic design article.