BRUNSWICK — Kathy Wilson says she is looking forward to her second three-year term as an at-large town councilor.
Wilson defeated Whitney Parrish in the town’s only contested election Tuesday, garnering 54 percent of the vote to Parrish’s 46 percent, 2,960 to 2,524.
“I’m feeling pretty damn good, and I know that it was a concerted effort,” Wilson said, adding that she and Parrish bonded during the experience and she hopes her opponent will stay involved in local government.
The polls at Brunswick Junior High School were busy all day, officials said, with 6,228 votes cast by 34 percent of local registered voters, and people queuing up until closing at 8 p.m.
Election clerk Donna Chale said the turnout was higher than expected, due in part to the state referendum questions.
“I think the questions are emotional for people,” Chale said.
Resident Bryan Beaulieu said he enjoys making his voice heard during local elections.
“A lot of elections seem to come down really close, a lot closer than you think,” Beaulieu said. “Especially in our state, where things seem to be really divided.”
Wilson and Parrish stood outside for 13 hours, greeting voters and introducing themselves. They were prohibited by law from going inside or reminding people what positions they were running for.
“I feel really proud of Brunswick for showing up,” Parrish said. “It’s been really steady.”
Also on the ballot were Council District 5 candidate Chris Watkinson and District 7 candidate James Mason, who ran unopposed to fill seats vacated by Councilors Dan Harris and Sarah Brayman, respectively. Watkinson received 641 votes and Mason received 824.
Three School Board incumbents – District 5 candidate James Grant, District 7 candidate Sarah Singer and at-large candidate William Thompson – also ran unopposed. Thompson received 4,499 votes, Singer, 862 and Grant, 635.
Wilson, who has served as the vice chairwoman of the Town Council since January, also serves on the Finance Committee, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee and the Master Plan Implementation Committee.
She said she is focused on advocating for fair consideration of all issues, including education and the prospect of building a new fire station. Because she is on a fixed income, Wilson says she especially understands residents’ concerns about rising tax rates.
“We cannot ignore one thing in favor of another, we have to find a balance,” Wilson said. “We can’t tax people to the point that they leave.”
The Councilor also said she knows sometimes striking a balance means making sacrifices, and equated such decisions on the town level to being frugal with one’s own finances.
“I know everybody wants everything, but sometimes we just have to stay home and watch TV,” Wilson said. “There comes a point where we can’t keep going and going.”
Brunswick at-large Town Councilor Kathy Wilson, right, and challenger Whitney Parrish, third from right, await election results with other residents at Brunswick Junior High School Tuesday evening, Nov. 7.
Voters sign in at Brunswick Junior High School Tuesday evening.