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Annual Town Election: Candidate list, bios

by | May 16, 2024 | Featured: News, News

Following is a list of the positions and candidates that will appear on the May 20 Annual Town Election ballot.

Below this list are responses (from those who chose to participate) to our questionnaire asking for background information and a statement about why the candidate decided to run.

Select Board (3 years, choose 2)
Joseph Clark
Brian Herr
Kyla McSweeney
Peter Mimmo
Board of Assessors (3 years, choose 1)
Lesley Ficarri (incumbent)
Board of Health (3 years, choose 1)
Mary Jo Ondrechen
Board of Library Trustees (3 years, choose 1)
Anne Beauchamp (incumbent)
Board of Library Trustees (1 year, choose 1)
Stanley Pulnik
Cemetery Commission (3 years, choose 1)
Linda Kimball (incumbent)
Cemetery Commission (2 years, choose 1)
Arlene Casassa
Commissioners of Trust Funds (3 years, choose 1)
Amanda Murphy
Constable  (3 years, choose 1)
Michael King
Housing Authority  (5 years, choose 1)
Ilana Casady (incumbent)
Housing Authority  (1 year, choose 1)
Beth Malloy
Parks & Recreation Commission (3 years, choose 2)
Amy O’Donnell (incumbent)
Daniel Terry (incumbent)
Parks & Recreation Commission (1 year, choose 1)
Kyle Smith
Planning Board (5 years, choose 1)
Parker Happ
Planning Board (3 years, choose 1)
Lucia Lopez
Planning Board (1 year, choose 1)
Karen Wills
School Committee (3 years, choose 2)
Christopher Masters
Jamie Wronka

CANDIDATE BIOS

JOSEPH CLARK
Position being sought: Select Board
Party affiliation: Unenrolled
Occupation: Client director at Dell EMC
Education: Bachelor’s in accounting from Pace University
Years lived in Hopkinton: 36, minus 5-6 living in Boston until 2016
Governmental experience: None
General statement: Born and raised in Hopkinton, I’m deeply concerned with the state of affairs and lack of leadership at Town Hall, which has driven me to run for Select Board. Over the last few years, the number of employees we’ve lost to other municipalities, highlighted by multiple departures from Town Hall and the Police Department, is alarming. My father served with the Fire Department for over 40 years, my mother is a teacher at Hopkins School, and I’ve had numerous other family members work for various departments of the town. Coming from a family that has dedicated most of their lives to public service in Hopkinton, it pains me to see that this town is no longer a place that people enjoy working for.

The next few years are extremely important. We will seek a new town manager, resolve the drinking water situation, complete the center of town project and build/expand our schools (just to name a few!). These projects should include a focus on financial responsibility and transparency, as we are approaching a debt crisis. In addition, it is imperative that the town does not lose track of finding ways to drive economic development and support businesses, both big and small.

As a lifelong resident, my candidacy is not about stopping the town from changing or even slowing it down. It’s about providing the appropriate guidance to make the best decisions for today and our future, all while keeping the small-town feel and spirit it’s had in the past.

BRIAN HERR
Position being sought: Select Board
Party affiliation: Unenrolled/independent
Occupation: Engineer/senior vice president and general manager/solar developer
Education: B.S. in mechanical engineering, M.A. in government
Years lived in Hopkinton: 24
Governmental experience: Hopkinton Select Board (12 years), Hopkinton Planning Board (3 years), Hopkinton Personnel Committee (2 years), Hopkinton HCA Barn Restoration Building Committee (3 years), Hopkinton Elementary School Building Committee (2 years), Hopkinton Turf Fields Committee (2 years), MetroWest Regional Transit Authority Board (7 years), Framingham State University Board of Trustees (6 years)
Additional volunteer/service experience: Hopkinton youth football coach, Hopkinton youth baseball coach, Okemo Mountain alpine racing coach, Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge chair/board member/founding member, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Barr Program advisory board
General statement: I am seeking my fifth term on the Select Board to help the town reset and refocus our collective efforts on a positive vision for the future. Over the last two decades, countless volunteers have worked tirelessly to build a wonderful community to live in and raise our families. Together, we have developed and completed important town assets, including the Marathon Elementary School, the new library, the new DPW facility, the Fruit Street fields complex, the turf fields complex at the schools, the Hopkinton Center for the Arts, the Center Trail, the first cricket pitch and the dog park, just to name a few. With more mundane but equally important infrastructure improvements such as the sewer connection with Milford that supports South Street business development, and in the financial world, achieving our AAA bond rating, we have improved the tax position for our community. Ideally, we would capitalize on our recent successes and craft
additional plans for a stronger Hopkinton moving forward.

Further, I believe my candidacy gives the residents a viable option to consider based on the fundamental principles of respect, local government experience and sound decision-making. With 20 years of cross-functional experience in municipal government, combined with 40 years of professional business management, there is no personnel issue, management issue, development issue, collaboration issue or financial issue we can’t solve working together.

I have thoroughly enjoyed volunteering on behalf of the community for years and would appreciate your vote on May 20 to continue doing the same.

KYLA McSWEENEY
Position being sough:
Select Board
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Director, Department of Early Education and Care
Education: B.A. in early childhood education, Wheelock College;  M.S. in leadership and policy in early education and care,  Wheelock College; J.D., Suffolk University School of Law
Years lived in Hopkinton: 16
Governmental experience: Currently serving on Hopkinton Cemetery Commission
Additional volunteer/service experience: Center School Council, Marathon School Council, Girl Scout leader for six years in Hopkinton, president and founding member of Lucy’s Legacy Foundation
General statement: I am running for Select Board because I believe it is time to bring together the town’s residents to work together for Hopkinton. I intend to take time to listen to the concerns of ALL residents from Hopkinton. I feel it is important to listen respectfully to all concerns and not just those who are the most vocal.

I also feel that we need to take the time to listen to our town employees. We have many dedicated professionals working in our community, and I would like to hear their suggestions for our town. We need to work on retaining the many talented professionals who chose to come to Hopkinton to work.

I will use my experience in government budgets to apply to our town budget.  I am concerned about the number of residents who feel they are unable to afford the tax increases as a result of recent capital spending and believe we will need to make tough decisions on spending in the upcoming years. The recent school projects are absolutely necessary but are pushing some residents to need to leave Hopkinton.

I believe we need to make government more transparent in Hopkinton. The public should have knowledge of government functions and decisions. There have been efforts to expand communication of these efforts, but I believe we need to do more, as many residents are still unaware of many town matters.  Everything from Town Meeting to Select Board and committee meetings should be accessible to all residents.

PETER MIMMO
Position being sought: Select Board
Party affiliation: Democratic
Occupation; Attorney
Education; J.D., Suffolk University Law School, 2000; B.S. in communications, Syracuse University, 1996
Years lived in Hopkinton: Approximately 9 (since September 2015)
Governmental experience: 21 years of service in executive branch agencies within Massachusetts state government; Department of Developmental Services (2002-11); paralegal (2002-05); assistant general counsel (labor/employment) (2005-11); Human Resources Division (2011-13)
labor counsel; Massachusetts Parole Board (2013-15) staff attorney; Department of Transportation (2015-19) labor and employment counsel; Commission Against Discrimination (2019-present) commission counsel; Hopkinton Board of Assessors (2022-present); Town of Northbridge Personnel Board (2002–14); Northbridge Town Manager Search Committee (2006-07)
Additional volunteer/service experience: Hopkinton Little League assistant coach; Hopkinton Babe Ruth assistant coach
General statement: I am Peter M. Mimmo, and I am running for Hopkinton Select Board because I’m concerned about the issues facing our community: a challenging budget, providing tax relief to our seniors, the quality of our water, supporting our green initiatives and the issues within the Police Department.

I am an attorney with 20 years of experience working for the commonwealth as a civil litigator in public safety and civil rights enforcement. I have dedicated my career to advancing the public interest for our commonwealth. I believe this experience would serve our community well as a member of the Select Board.

As a labor counsel, I have investigated employee misconduct and defended the decisions of management through binding arbitration. Alternatively, when management made a mistake, I would work with union representatives to bring the matter to a fair resolution. I believe this experience may help us navigate through the difficult issues surrounding our Police Department.

Transparency, honesty and following through on promises were key to leading through difficult and contentious disputes. Respect given was always respect earned. If elected, I would bring those values to the Select Board.

In 2022, I was elected to our Board of Assessors, and I thank you. I have worked with my colleagues to ensure a fair assessment of our property, and to evaluate applications for tax abatements, and exemptions for our veterans and seniors. I believe this experience would be invaluable as a member of the Select Board.

I respectfully ask for your vote.

CHRISTOPHER J. MASTERS
Position being sought: School Committee
Party affiliation: Independent
Occupation: Director at Junior Bruins Hockey
Education: Boston College graduate (class of ’99)
Years lived in Hopkinton: 20-plus
Governmental experience: None
General statement: As a long-term resident and father, I commit to sustaining the recognized excellence of our schools. This success results from the invaluable contributions of teachers, paraprofessionals, specialists and parents.

I am driven to ensure students maximize their potential, our teachers, aides and specialists are correctly resourced to continue their excellence, and parents enjoy the rewarding experience of seeing their children emerge to make a future positive impact.

Why me? My experience as a parent of three special education students provides a unique perspective on the diverse needs of students. Each student learns differently. We are mandated to meet ALL student needs, including those with gifted abilities and developmental challenges, without compromising a nurturing, inclusive environment.

My small business entrepreneurial experience, emphasizing infrastructure development and maintenance complexities for educational settings, enables me to effectively advise on improving school facilities to meet evolving student and staff needs. The financial acumen and strategic resource allocation required to run a small business are transferable and will perpetuate the committee’s effectiveness.

I ask for your support when it’s time to choose. I am dedicated to maintaining and enhancing our schools’ excellence, advocating for students’ needs and continuing the success of our Hopkinton school system.

JAMIE WRONKA
Position being sought: School Committee
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Professor of occupational therapy at Worcester State University
Education: Bachelor’s and master’s in occupational therapy
Years lived in Hopkinton: 12
Governmental experience: Volunteer appointed to various town committees over the past 11 years — Conservation Commission, Trail Coordination and Management Committee, Upper Charles Trail Committee (alternate)
Additional volunteer/service experience: Hopkinton Parent Teacher Organization (executive board secretary, exec board membership chair, Elmwood School VP), Special Education Parent Advisory Council (vice chair), Hopkinton Mom’s Group (Family Events Committee, Inclusion Committee, Mom’s Night Out Committee)
General statement: I have been an occupational therapist for nearly 20 years. In 2022, I moved from clinical care into a visiting professor role at Worcester State University. My experience and skills developed in clinical and educator settings are essential for a School Committee member.

My passion that inspired me to run for School Committee has been ignited over the past year as vice chair for SEPAC. I hope to empower every student and every family to thrive within the public education guaranteed to every child in our country. I know the challenges all families face navigating our systems — and the importance of strong policies, close and thoughtful budget decisions, and supervision of the leader of our schools are inarguably vital during Hopkinton’s growth.

I have a deeply vested interest in public education. I attended public schools from first grade through graduate school. My mother was a public elementary school nurse. Growing up in New Jersey, my school was very diverse and my education experience was richer for it. I am thrilled to see increasing diversity in Hopkinton, giving my children and the whole community a better lens through which to view the world.

My campaign is rooted in my desire to continue to serve Hopkinton. It is rooted in my experience as a professional and as a parent of three young children. Together, we will address the challenges facing our schools. We will work toward our future Hopkinton, where every student thrives.

MARY JO ONDRECHEN
Position being sought: Board of Health
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Professor, Northeastern University
Education: B.A. in chemistry (ACS certified), Reed College; Ph.D. in chemistry, Northwestern University
Years lived in Hopkinton: 27
Governmental experience: Previously served on the Hopkinton Conservation Commission; have consulted for the U.S. Department of Energy
Additional volunteer/service experience: Board of Directors, Telluride Research Center, Telluride, Colorado, 2005-07; Board of Directors, North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB), Boston, 1999-2016; Board of Advisors, Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council, Washington, D.C., 2008-13; Board of Directors, American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES), Albuquerque, New Mexico, (2007-13), chair of the board 2011-13; Community Leaders Network, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science and Technology, Washington, D.C., 1997

General statement: My name is Mary Jo Ondrechen, and I am a candidate for the Hopkinton Board of Health. Hopkinton has been my home for 27 years, and I want to step up and serve. I am running because I am concerned about contaminants in our water supply and about pandemic response. I am professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Northeastern University with a Ph.D. degree in chemistry. The research group of 14 people that I lead works on a variety of problems, including infectious diseases. I have previously consulted for the Department of Energy about remediation of toxic contaminants. Two hallmarks of my advocacy for remediation are: 1) use the latest and best technology to solve the problem, and 2) assurance that the affected people need to have a voice in, and be informed about, the entire process of detection and remediation. As an educator, I see close up the aftereffects of the pandemic on our young people — the learning loss and the impact on mental health. We need to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic, deal with its lingering effects and have plans in place so that we are better prepared for the next one. I offer my energy, expertise, and experience to this wonderful town and respectfully ask for your vote on May 20.

KYLE SMITH
Position being sought: Parks & Recreation Commission
Occupation: Sales consultant/small business owner
Education: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Years lived in Hopkinton: Less than 1 — moved to town August 2023
Governmental experience: none
Volunteer/service experience: Previously fostered dogs for PittieLove Rescue. Was a “big” for Big Brother Big Sister for a few years
General statement: As I said at the Meet the Candidates live broadcast recently, my wife and I had our eye on Hopkinton for a long time before we were fortunate enough to be able to move here. We love the feel of the town and the sense of community we have experienced even in a place with about 20,000 people. That said, I don’t want to only consume what Hopkinton offers but also contribute.

We live right by Sandy beach and have two dogs, and I’m obsessed with pickleball. With Parks & Rec overseeing the dog park, pickleball courts and Sandy Beach, that made it a logical choice for me to contribute time that enhances residents’ experience in town. I know the schools are the big draw and get a lot of the headlines, but I think these other amenities, if you can call them that, will continue to be a big part of why Hopkinton continues to be a highly sought-after town for years to come.

I’m excited about the opportunity to provide ideas, input and creative solutions that push the commission and department down the same positive path they have been on. See you on the pickleball courts!

ILANA CASADY
Position being sought: Hopkinton Housing Authority
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Occupational therapist
Education: Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University, BS in Wildlife Biology from UMass Amherst
Years lived in Hopkinton: 15
Governmental experience: Chair of the Hopkinton Cultural Council; one year (abbreviated term) on Housing Authority (incumbent)
Additional volunteer/service experience: Race director of HCA’s Wicked 5K
General statement: My name is Ilana Casady, and I am a candidate for reelection to the Hopkinton Housing Authority. I chose to run for Hopkinton Housing Authority as a way to contribute more to Hopkinton. This past year I have learned how the HHA works and met most of our residents. I am excited to continue to put that knowledge to work.

I have been a resident of Hopkinton since 2009 and love being involved in our community. I have five children (three daughters and two stepdaughters) who attend or have graduated from Hopkinton Public Schools. I work as an occupational therapist using horses as a treatment tool for children with special needs. From 2002-10, I worked in early intervention serving Mattapan/Dorchester/Roxbury with a large population of families in public housing through the Boston Housing Authority or trying to get into BHA. I became an advocate for these families and was able to see the benefits as well as the challenges of supported housing.

I currently manage two properties outside Hopkinton. As an occupational therapist, I am conscientious of senior safety and fall reductions by prioritizing even walkways, railings where helpful and visual contrast for curbs/edges, as well as ensuring ADA compliance.

If elected, I hope to advocate for seniors and those with disabilities and be a positive bridge between residents and executives to cost-effectively optimize residents’ experience.

BETH ANN MALLOY
Position being sought. Hopkinton Housing Authority.
Occupation. I have been with the Michael Lisnow Respite Center for 14 years working in its group homes. Prior to that, I was a substitute teacher for the Hopkinton schools for nine years, working primarily with our intensive special needs students.
Education: Graduated Arlington High School, attended North Adams State College and Middlesex Community College
Years lived in Hopkinton: 29 years
Governmental experience: Six years on the Affordable Housing Fund Committee, two years as constable, presently on the Hopkinton Housing Authority
Additional volunteer/service experience: I have been a volunteer at Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine, for 14 years. This camp is for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. I was a Girl Scout leader in town for 13 years. Served as a den leader and assistant cubmaster with Pack 97. When our kids were young, I volunteered at Project Just Because.
General statement: I am running for the one-year seat on the Hopkinton Housing Authority. I stepped into the role last August when a seat opened up. I have really enjoyed working with the board and getting to know our citizens who live there. There’s a beautification project coming up, and I’d love to see it through to frustration. It is my hope to continue to volunteer for our community.

AMANDA MURPHY
Position being sought. Commissioners of Trust Funds
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Part-time administrative support and accountant/bookkeeper
Education: B.A. in psychology from Holy Cross and MBA from Boston University
Years lived in Hopkinton: 10 years
Governmental experience: This is my first time running for an elected position.
Additional volunteer/service experience: Multiple executive board roles with the Hopkinton Parent Teacher Organization (currently the treasurer), secretary of Hopkinton Little League, weekly volunteer at Project Just Because
General statement: My name is Amanda Murphy (formerly Robichaud), and I am a candidate for Commissioners of Trust Funds.

I have lived in Hopkinton for the last 10 years with my two children. I have been an active volunteer in town. I was the secretary of Hopkinton Little League for three years, overseeing the operations of the organization that served over 700 baseball and softball players. I have also been on the executive board of the Hopkinton Parent Teacher Organization for seven years, first serving as the assistant treasurer and most recently as the current treasurer. I am currently a weekly volunteer at Project Just Because.

I spent 20 years working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in the assurance practice and then learning and development, across three offices: Boston, Helsinki and Florham Park, New Jersey. I currently work part-time in administrative support and as an accountant/bookkeeper and accounting tutor.

Now that my children are older (a freshman in college and a freshman in high school), I would like to be more involved in the town as a whole. I feel my work and prior volunteer experience in accounting/bookkeeping prepares me well to be a commissioner of trust funds.

I ask for your vote on May 20.

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