Fields, Clements, Wood elected to Charlestown board
CHARLESTOWN — Newcomers Jeff Fields, Patricia Clements and Lou Wood were elected to the town board Tuesday night in a hotlycontested election that ultimately came down to a single vote.
Fields, a former town maintenance worker, led the slate of five candidates, earning 116 votes with Clements, a retired teacher and member of the Avalon Park Committee, coming in second with 101 votes. Wood, a retired police officer, came in third with 91 votes, barely edging Jack Kronner who had 90 votes. The Wellwood owner Larry Metz was a distant fifth with 80 votes.
The three winners will be sworn into a two-year term on the board during next Tuesday’s meeting, joining Joe Letts and Karl Fockler on the board. Next week will also mark the last meeting for incumbent commissioners Renee Capano and Mary Carol Durange who both decided not to seek reelection.
Fields’ victory in the election likely came as no surprise to anyone who drove by town hall Tuesday and saw him waving a sign at the corner of Market and Bladen streets. Fields voted three minutes after the polls opened at 7 a.m. and stood outside until about 6:50 p.m., he told the Whig Tuesday night.
“I think I got out a lot of votes,” he said. “I figured, if I lose, it’s not going to be because I didn’t try.”
A 25-year resident of the town, Fields ran a campaign focused on improving the town’s infrastructure and the services it provides to residents, such as increasing the frequency of bulk pickup and yard waste pickup. As he prepares to take his seat on the board next week, Fields said he’s ready to get started and urged all town residents to reach out to him with any problems or suggestions, noting he wants to be reachable and available.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “I’m very excited to get started.”
Clements was also happy to be joining the board and said she had a good feeling about the election results going into the final vote tallying Tuesday night. As a two-year member of the Avalon Park Committee, part of Clements’ campaign centered on getting improvements to the park moving at a faster pace and she’s now eager to get started.
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “I’m looking forward to some exciting years ahead.”
While Fields and Clements have never served on the board before, Wood served one term on the board many years ago but had to quit when she joined EPD. Despite her narrow victory, Wood said she’s focused on making a difference during her time on the board.
“I’m just looking forward to an exciting term and some exciting years to come,” she said.
For Kronner, the election ended in heartbreak for the second year in a row. Last year, he lost to Fockler and Letts in a three-man race and this year came up short by only a single vote.
Still, Kronner said Wednesday he’s not disappointed in his performance, noting that he’s the “new guy in town,” having only lived in Charlestown for two years compared to other candidates who have been in town for decades.
“The fact that I beat out Larry Metz is confusing,” he said with a laugh, noting Metz is a longtime business owner and town resident. “I don’t know what the people were thinking this year but I wish (all the winners) the best.”
And Kronner said he still plans to run again next year.
“You know what they say about the third time, right?” he joked.
Metz also took his loss in stride, congratulating the other candidates and offering his help whenever needed. He noted that the three winners worked hard to get votes and that paid off in the end.
“They outworked me and got the benefit of hard work,” he said. “It just goes to show you that hard work pays off. If you work hard, good things happen. I wish them all the best.”
In all, 189 of the town’s 930 registered voters cast their ballots in Tuesday’s election, resulting in a voter turnout of roughly 20 percent. That turnout represents a significant increase over both last year’s total of 135 voters and the 167 voters who cast ballots in 2016.