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Meet the candidates for 2021 Town Election

by | May 17, 2021 | Featured: News, News

Annual Town Election is scheduled for May 22. The only contested race is School Committee.

Below is a lot of all positions, along with the four questions that are on the ballot, followed by brief bios of the candidates.

School Committee (3 years, vote for 2) — Contested Race
Amanda Fargiano, Unenrolled, Incumbent
Margaret Tyler, Democrat, Incumbent
Jared Pray, Unenrolled

Board of Assessors (3 years, vote for 1)
Lesley A. Ficarri,  Democrat, Incumbent

Board of Health (3 years, vote for 1)
Regina Miloslavsky, Democrat

Select Board (3 years, vote for 2)
Irfan Nasrullah, Democrat, Incumbent
Muriel Kramer, Democrat

Cemetery Commissioners (3 years, vote for 1)
Thomas Pratt, Democrat, Incumbent

Cemetery Commissioners (1 year, vote for 1)
Kyla McSweeney, Democrat

Constable (3 years, vote for 1)
Francis D’Urso, Democrat, Incumbent

Housing Authority (5 years, vote for 1)
John Morris, Democrat

Library Trustee (3 years, vote for 1)
Stanley Pulnik, Democrat, Incumbent

Parks & Recreation Commissioners (3 years, vote for 2)
Daniel Terry, Unenrolled, Incumbent
Amy O’Donnell, Democrat

Planning Board (5 years, vote for 2)
David Paul, Unenrolled, Incumbent
Robert Benson Jr., Democrat, Incumbent

Planning Board (1 year unexpired term, vote for 1)
Francis DeYoung, Unenrolled, Incumbent

Commissioners of Trust Funds (3 years, vote for 1)
Melissa Hayes, Democrat

BALLOT QUESTIONS

Question 1: Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to fund construction, reconstruction, renovation, alteration, and associated improvements of the Marathon School, including any planning, design, engineering, original equipment, or associated costs or expenses related thereto?

Question 2: Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to fund the installation of control systems for the Hopkinton Middle School HVAC Renewal and Digital Control Upgrade, including any planning, design, engineering, original equipment, or associated costs or expenses related thereto?

Question 3: Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to fund the partial roof replacements at the Hopkins and Hopkinton Middle Schools including any planning, design, engineering, or associated costs or expenses related thereto?

Question 4: Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to fund for the roof replacement at the Police Station, including any planning, design, engineering, or associated costs or expenses related thereto?

CANDIDATES BIOS

The Hopkinton Independent invited all candidates to answer some basic questions about their background and provide a general statement. Below are the submitted responses. These bios also ran in our May 5 and May 19 print editions.

AMANDA FARGIANO
Position being sought: School Committee (incumbent)
Party affiliation: Unenrolled
Occupation: Project consultant and business administrator for e-commerce consultancy
Education: A.B. Harvard College, MBA Boston University
Years lived in Hopkinton: 10-plus
Governmental experience: Current: Hopkinton School Committee chair; previous: Hopkinton Youth Commission, Framingham Cultural Council; graduate of Metrowest Leadership Academy
Additional volunteer/service experience: Over the years I have volunteered through a variety of organizations, including: eHop, Hopkinton Organizing for Prevention, youth soccer (as coach in Framingham and Hopkinton), FIRST LEGO League (as program organizer in Framingham and coach in Hopkinton), Superintendent Search Committee (as community delegate), HPTA (as extracurricular coordinator for Hopkins), HMS School Council
General statement: Since 2018, I have dedicated myself to serving our district as we faced unprecedented growth and strove to meet the diversifying educational needs of our students. I deeply value, and have worked to promote, transparency, equity and inclusion, data-driven planning and decision-making, and educational excellence in its many forms.
Today, as we confront academic and mental health consequences of the pandemic, urgent needs for more anti-bias/anti-racism work, budgetary constraints, ongoing growth, and ever-expanding demand for services, our next steps are pivotal. The knowledge and experience I have gained as committee member and chair are crucial to meeting the challenges ahead, including:
— Assessing and mitigating pandemic impacts
— Continuing to improve mental health and school climate for all
— Continuing to identify and eliminate bias and racism
— Addressing growing enrollment while strategically improving campus infrastructure
— Maintaining excellence in academics
— Developing budgets reflective of our collective priorities.

JARED PRAY
Position being sought: School Committee
Party affiliation: Unenrolled
Occupation: Head of market access for a small pharmaceutical company
Education: B.S. in chemical engineering from Bucknell University, master’s from Dartmouth College, MBA from Bentley University
Years lived in Hopkinton: 16
Governmental experience: None
Additional volunteer/service experience: Coach for youth sports
General statement: My name is Jared Pray and I am running for a seat on the School Committee. With three young children, including a kindergartner and a third-grader, I have a strong vested interest in maintaining our excellent school system. The district is at an inflection point — my near-term focus would be:
— Continuing to navigate the challenges presented by COVID, along with the impact remote learning has had on all students. I believe the best place for our children to learn is in the classroom.
— Planning for future space needs given projected enrollment growth.
— Maintaining the current standard of excellence that has resulted from previous investment by the community and strong leadership to ensure Hopkinton remains a top-10 district in Massachusetts.
With my background and experience along with my own passion for excellence in this school district, I hope to earn your vote on May 22nd.

MEG TYLER
Position being sought: School Committee (incumbent)
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Professor
Education: Ph.D.
Years lived in Hopkinton: 16
Governmental experience: School Committee member since 2018 (including the Reopening Planning Committee), Lake Maspenock Preservation Association board, Hopkinton Cultural Council committee member
Additional volunteer/service experience: SEPAC and Friends of SEPAC, Cultural Council
General statement: My family and I have lived in Hopkinton for 16 years; my son is in sixth grade. As a professor, I have been puzzling over equity, inclusion, effective curricula and student success for many years. I think it benefits the School Committee to have an experienced educator and researcher in its ranks. Not only do we craft and revise educational policy, we must also remain fiscally responsible — all in the service of providing adequate resources so the students can flourish. What drives me to run again is a concern, foremost, for the well-being of each individual student. This last year presented us with a number of challenges, some of which we, as a committee, met decently, others which we are still in the process of addressing. In this time of upheaval, consistency has value. We have a good team in place; I’d like to see our collective efforts bear fruit.

MURIEL KRAMER
Position being sought: Select Board
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Health care consultant, licensed clinical social worker; formerly served in the U.S. Air Force
Education: B.A. in mathematics, master’s in social work (MSW)
Years lived in Hopkinton: 30
Governmental experience: Community Preservation Committee 2017-18; Hopkinton Planning Board 2017-present; Hopkinton Commissioner of Trust Funds 2014-20; Hopkinton deputy town moderator 2009-17; Hopkinton Select Board (then Board of Selectmen) 2005-08, served two years as chair; Hopkinton Master Plan Update Committee, chair, 2004-06; Hopkinton Voices for Vision 2003; Hopkinton Zoning Board of Appeals, associate member 2002-04
Additional volunteer/service experience: St. Matthew Parish religious education instructor 2005-14; HPTA enrichment coordinator 1997-99; HPTA board member 1994-95; La Leche League International: conference speaker, leader accreditation and chapter leader 1988-2009; Boy/Girl Scouts 1984-86, 1997-99, 2006-12
General statement: It will be an honor to serve again on the Select Board, and I am most interested in addressing the need to engage voters completely in the important conversations that take place and/or must take place as decisions are being made that affect everyone. Stakeholder engagement, equity and transparency have long been my professional and personal focus areas. I believe every person deserves an equitable seat at the table and further finds the mechanisms for issue resolution open, accessible, and welcoming.
Hopkinton needs to find ways to bridge differences, heal and recover fully from the pandemic, and ensure mental health is a priority focus especially for our children in the coming years. Perhaps most importantly, we need to find a way to celebrate and grow our diversity; we want every child growing up in Hopkinton to know they are surrounded by allies who will welcome, respect and protect them.

IRFAN NASRULLAH
Position being sought: Select Board (incumbent)
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Attorney
Education: J.D., Golden Gate University; Master’s of Studies in Environment Law, Vermont Law School
Years lived in Hopkinton: 15-plus
Governmental experience: Planning Board (1 year); Select Board (3 years)
Additional volunteer/service experience: Massachusetts Attorney General’s Environmental Crime Strike Force
General statement: I am running for reelection to the Select Board because I believe that especially during these challenging times, Hopkinton needs focused and engaged leadership.
The Select Board will need to communicate with local businesses and residents as we navigate the challenges of Main Street Corridor Project construction. Meanwhile, we must complete the construction of the additional downtown parking approved last year at Town Meeting. I advocate working to keep Hopkinton affordable through incentives such as the means-tested senior citizen property tax exemption, and I believe we should pursue such initiatives. And finally, we must continue working closely with the School Committee to keep putting our students first as we get them safely back to school.
I respectfully ask for your vote on Saturday, May 22, so that we can continue this work together and emerge from these difficult times stronger than ever.

ROBERT BENSON JR.
Position being sought: Planning Board, 5-year term (incumbent)
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Software product and technology management
Education: B.S. in electrical engineering from UMass-Amherst, MBA Babson College
Years lived in Hopkinton: 36
Governmental experience: Current Planning Board member for the past two years
Additional volunteer/service experience: Coach for Hopkinton Basketball Association, Hopkinton Youth Soccer and Hopkinton Little League
General statement: My name is Rob Benson, candidate for Planning Board, and I’d really appreciate your vote in the May 22nd election!
I will continue to work hard to find common ground and bring a balanced view to the Planning Board to proactively manage residential and commercial growth to be in line with the best interests of the town.
I am appreciative that I’ve been able to live in Hopkinton with its great schools and community activities for most of my life, having gone to Elmwood School, graduated from Hopkinton High School and now raising my twin boys with my wife, Kelly.
Outside of town government I coach youth soccer, youth basketball and Little League.
In my professional life I’m part of a private equity firm that invests in software businesses where I focus on operational improvements in our investments.

DAVE PAUL
Position being sought: Planning Board, 5-year term (incumbent)
Party affiliation: Unenrolled
Occupation: IT engineer
Education: Bachelor’s degree
Years lived in Hopkinton: 26
Governmental experience: Planning Board (5 years), Design Review Board (1 year), Trails Committee (1 year)
Additional volunteer/service experience: Youth hockey referee (5 years)
General statement: I support both commercial and residential development that is done the proper way.

FRAN DeYOUNG
Position being sought: Planning Board, 1-year unexpired term (incumbent)
Party affiliation: Unenrolled
Occupation: Sales
Education: B.S. Purdue University, MBA Michigan State University
Years lived in Hopkinton: Since 2006
Governmental experience: Planning Board (6 years), Zoning Advisory Committee (2 years), Growth Study Committee (current member)
Additional volunteer/service experience: Hopkinton Little League past president, Hopkinton Running Club past president, Milford Regional Medical Center Contributors Council, coached various youth sports (soccer, basketball, baseball)
General statement: I’m running for the Planning Board open seat because I continue to have a passion for serving this community and the wonderful people who live here. To help balance the needs of town in light of the growth we have experienced over the past few years while striving to maintain the charm, character and open space that makes Hopkinton such a special place. I believe my understanding of zoning requirements and bylaws can positively help guide in the direction, strategy and planning decisions that will benefit homeowners, and properly align development that will have a positive long-term impact for the residences of Hopkinton. Thank you for support in the past and your consideration for choosing me for this position.

AMY O’DONNELL
Position being sought: Parks and Recreation Commission
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Chemical engineer
Education: B.S. in chemical engineering, MBA
Years lived in Hopkinton: 8
Governmental experience: This is my first time running for local government, but I worked for the federal government in the Department of Veterans Affairs for four years.
Additional volunteer/service experience: Hopkinton Preschool Council, St. John the Evangelist religious education teacher, Hopkinton Youth Lacrosse
General statement: My name is Amy O’Donnell and I’m running for a position on the Parks and Recreation Commission. My husband, Ed, and I moved to Hopkinton eight years ago with our four boys. We continue to appreciate the overwhelming sense of home and community in Hopkinton. I’ve had the pleasure to become actively involved in Hopkinton Lacrosse, the Integrated Preschool School Council, and the religious education program at St. John’s Church. Being a part of these wonderful organizations has only reinforced my desire to help more.
Our boys are very active in the many activities and sports in town. I would like to use my passion to help the commission by focusing my attention on these youth sports and programs to maintain their high quality for years to come. I feel my background as an engineer with a focus on efficiency and process improvement can be an asset on the commission.

DAN TERRY
Position being sought: Parks and Recreation Commission
Party affiliation: Unenrolled
Years lived in Hopkinton: 56
Governmental experience: Nine years on Parks and Recreation Commission, chair three years; Community Preservation Committee; Turf Field Oversight Committee

FRANK D’URSO
Position being sought: Constable (incumbent)
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Computer science consultant
Education: Master of management Cambridge College, B.S. Northeastern University, certifications from MIT, Harvard, Cornell
Years lived in Hopkinton: 22
Governmental experience: Civic Engagement Committee 2003-04, founding member of Sustainable Green Committee 2008-20, Conservation Commission 2011-15, Keefe Tech School Committee 2012-15, Planning Board 2015-20, constable since 2017
Additional volunteer/service experience: Boys Scouts Troop 4, Hopkinton Little League, Hopkinton Youth Soccer
General statement: While the town constable position is deeply historical and mainly honorary, I enjoy participating in the role, ensuring that all legal requirements of notification are met before Town Meetings and Elections. I’m legally bonded so I can properly participate in the more difficult aspects of the role. I enjoy helping people when I can. I’m available to help with civil issues, serving court and legal notices, locating lost people, serving as a witness to ensure the safety of people in difficult housing/business situations. I am listed in the phone book and can be contacted through the Town Clerk’s Office in Town Hall. Please vote, and thank you for voting for me.

LESLEY A. FICARRI
Position being sought: Board of Assessors (incumbent)
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Human resources consultant/leadership coach
Education: Master of Science in HR management
Years lived in Hopkinton: 20
Governmental experience: Four years on the Board of Assessors
Additional volunteer/service experience: Advisory Committee, Bridge Over Troubled Waters — This organization provides life-changing services for homeless, run-away and at-risk youth.
General statement: My name is Lesley Ficarri, and I am running for re-election to the Board of Assessors. Over the past four years I have enjoyed serving our community on this board and working with the talented employees in the Assessors Department to accurately value real estate and personal property, consider tax abatements and exemptions and provide the data and analysis needed to set the annual tax rate in accordance with Massachusetts law. During my tenure, I am proud that the BOA sponsored Town Meeting articles for senior tax relief and additional exemptions for veterans, which passed overwhelmingly.
I respectfully ask for your vote on Saturday, May 22nd, to continue serving you on the Board of Assessors.

MELISSA HAYES
Position being sought: Commissioner of Trust Funds
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Student
Education: Bachelor’s in political science, expected graduation May 2022
Years lived in Hopkinton: 20
Governmental experience: Internships with Representatives Jack Lewis and Caroline Dykema
Additional volunteer/service experience: Volunteer for Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee; Framingham State Young Democrats founder and president
General statement: I want to run for Commissioner of Trust Funds because I want a chance to give back to the community I have been a part of my entire life. I believe being a public servant for my town is a great way to give back to and improve my community.

KYLA McSWEENEY
Position being sought: Cemetery Commission
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Grant director, Quinsigamond Community College
Education: B.A. in early childhood education from Wheelock College, M.S. in leadership and policy from Wheelock College, J.D. from Suffolk University School of Law
Years lived in Hopkinton: 13
Governmental experience: Employee at Massachusetts Department of Education (before it was DESE), adjunct professor at Bunker Hill Community College and Massachusetts Bay Community College, director at Quinsigamond Community College
Additional volunteer/service experience: President, Lucy’s Legacy Foundation 2020-present, member 2018- 20; Wheelock College Alumni Association treasurer 2015- 17; vice president Wheelock College Alumni Association 2004-06; admissions chair, Wheelock College Alumni Association 1996-99; member Hopkinton Democratic Committee 2021-present
General statement: My love of cemeteries began as a Girl Scout when we did gravestone rubbings of historical gravestones in my hometown in Vernon, Connecticut. I live near the cemetery on Wood Street and it is a place of reflection and recreation for many in our neighborhood. I am at awe of the historical significance of many of Hopkinton’s cemeteries. I believe we need to honor and maintain these historical treasures as well as make the cemeteries a welcoming place for our residents to both honor their loved ones and have a space to reflect.

REGINA MILOSLAVSKY
Position being sought: Board of Health
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Speech language pathologist, physician assistant graduate student at Mass. General Hospital Institute of Health Professionals
Education: Bachelor of Arts in English, Master of Science in education, Master of Science in speech language pathology, Master of Science in physician assistant studies
Years lived in Hopkinton: 6-plus
Governmental experience: Volunteering for local Democratic campaigns (Manhattan, New York; Brookline and Waltham)
Additional volunteer/service experience: Medic volunteer for Boston Marathon (Brookline, Hopkinton)
General statement: My name is Regina and I am running for an opening seat on the Hopkinton Board of Health. The decision to run for this seat is based on my goal to be able to effectuate equitable public health and safety decisions when it comes to the Hopkinton community. My other goals are to strategize ahead and respond timely and effectively to the overall health needs of our community working closely with the local School Committee and Hopkinton businesses.  I am using my direct health care experience as a front-line health care provider at a major hospital in Boston and a current physician assistant student at the MGH Institute of Health Professionals to have a wholistic multi-prong approach to the town’s health standards and policies. My latent goal is to contribute to the overall diversity of the Hopkinton Board of Health being an immigrant, a working mom and a woman of a color.
I respectfully ask for your vote on Saturday, May 22, so that we can build on Hopkinton’s high public health and safety standards and grow further as the best community in Massachusetts.

JOHN MORRIS
Position being sought: Housing Authority
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Corporate sales
Education: B.S. in economics, Bridgewater State University Class of 2013
Years lived in Hopkinton: 3
Governmental experience: Current member of two appointed positions in Hopkinton, Hopkinton Tax Relief Committee and Hopkinton Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board
Additional volunteer/service experience: Member, Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee
General statement: We are incredibly fortunate to live in a community as sought after as Hopkinton. As one might expect, this has caused housing costs to increase substantially over the past decade. I believe the Hopkinton Housing Authority is critical to the health and well-being of our community by providing comfortable and affordable housing to low-income families, the elderly and non-elderly disabled households. If elected, I will ensure that we continue to fulfill the Housing Authority’s mission and set the course for future growth and excellence of the program.

STANLEY PULNIK
Position being sought: Library Board of Trustees (incumbent)
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Retired guitar builder
Education: HHS Class of 1970, some college
Years lived in Hopkinton: Most of my life
Governmental experience: I have served several terms in this position since the board became public.
Additional volunteer/service experience: I served as a volunteer at the library before becoming a board member, and I am a member of the Friends of the Library in addition to being the Trustees liaison to the Friends.
General statement: It has been my privilege to have served on this board for several terms since the board became public. Trustees are advisors to the director of the library. We are advocates for and defenders of the public library and the rights of free speech and expression. We advise on policy and assist in implementing policies and strategic planning. Our library is more than a repository for books. It has become a center of the community, and we as board members strive to be certain that every patron is made to feel welcome and safe and is treated with equality and respect regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender or orientation. I look forward to participating in the future growth of the programs and services the library provides the community, and the implementation of the new strategic plan.

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