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Incumbents maintain seats in New Ipswich elections

  • Fire Department member Peter Bergeron, left, stood with Fire Chief David Leel and School Board candidate Chad Gibson outside the New Ipswich polls on Tuesday. Leel won his bid for reelection, while Gibson lost to opponent Jim Kingston.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Fire Department member Peter Bergeron, left, stood with Fire Chief David Leel and School Board candidate Chad Gibson outside the New Ipswich polls on Tuesday. Leel won his bid for reelection, while Gibson lost to opponent Jim Kingston.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Candidates did a little last-minute campaigning at the polls in New Ipswich on Tuesday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Candidates did a little last-minute campaigning at the polls in New Ipswich on Tuesday.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Fran Maguy, left, Jim Kingston and Mary Fish did a little last minute campaigning for their candidates Tuesday in front of the New Ipswich polls at Mascenic High School. Kingston was successful for his bid for a School Board seat.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Fran Maguy, left, Jim Kingston and Mary Fish did a little last minute campaigning for their candidates Tuesday in front of the New Ipswich polls at Mascenic High School. Kingston was successful for his bid for a School Board seat.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Candidates did a little last-minute campaigning at the polls in New Ipswich on Tuesday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Candidates did a little last-minute campaigning at the polls in New Ipswich on Tuesday.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Fire Department member Peter Bergeron, left, stood with Fire Chief David Leel and School Board candidate Chad Gibson outside the New Ipswich polls on Tuesday. Leel won his bid for reelection, while Gibson lost to opponent Jim Kingston.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Candidates did a little last-minute campaigning at the polls in New Ipswich on Tuesday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Fran Maguy, left, Jim Kingston and Mary Fish did a little last minute campaigning for their candidates Tuesday in front of the New Ipswich polls at Mascenic High School. Kingston was successful for his bid for a School Board seat.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Candidates did a little last-minute campaigning at the polls in New Ipswich on Tuesday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

NEW IPSWICH — Incumbents for municipal positions carried the day at Tuesday’s polls in New Ipswich. In the town’s two contested races, Select Board Chair George Lawrence and Fire Chief David Leel both won reelection by wide margins.

Lawrence, a longtime member of the Select Board, won more than double the votes of his opponent, John Veeser, taking 680 votes to Veeser’s 305.

Lawrence said in an interview Wednesday morning that he was pleased to be reelected. Lawrence has been a member of the Select Board for 35 years, but he said that never guarantees a victory.

“Sometimes people want to see a fresh face,” he said. “I think John Veeser did quite well for his first time running. That’s an indication people were receptive to him and his ideas.”

Lawrence said he hoped Veeser would continue to show an interest in town politics. For a first-time candidate, Veeser had a strong showing with little campaigning, Lawrence said, and he would recommend Veeser join the Finance Advisory Committee or another municipal board to gain experience.

For now, Lawrence said he will be moving forward on the Select Board, and spending the next several meetings implementing plans for approved warrant articles. That will include putting in place the technology to accept credit cards at the town offices and discussing a plan for Building No. 2, which residents voted should remain standing.

Fire Chief David Leel was up against two other residents in the bid for fire chief. New Ipswich resident and Greenville Emergency Management Director Tim Johnson took just 35 votes. Capt. Jim Feldhusen of the New Ipswich Fire Department had a better showing, garnering 298 votes. But Leel won the day handily, with a total of 681 votes.

“Naturally, I’m very pleased, and pleased the voters had enough confidence to reelect me,” said Leel in a telephone interview Wednesday morning. “I’m looking forward to continue being the leader of the department.”

Leel said that now that his reelection is official, he will be focusing on maintaining the budget, while continuing upgrading the department’s equipment and training.

The department will also be forming a committee to determine whether to purchase a new engine for the Fire Department in 2014, to replace the department’s oldest truck, which was purchased in 1988.

The Fire Department currently has about half the funds needed to replace the truck in a capital reserve account, and the committee will make a determination as whether to request the rest of the funds through taxation, bond or a combination of the two, Leel said.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com.

She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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