March 9, 2011

Benson and Wetherbee reelected in Derry

First-time voter Kelly Wasner, left, did it for love — register, that is. Her boyfriend,
Joe Ochs, right, is son of school board incumbent Neal Ochs.
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- Turnout at the polls Tuesday was typically light as the 1,932 voters who did show up reelected two incumbent councilors and approved the proposed $76.6 million school budget.
Brad Benson, who currently serves as council chairman, was reelected
 as at-large councilor with 956 votes, beating opponents Doug Newell, who had 733 votes; Maria Lebel, with 124; and Jeff Lawman, with 55 votes.
In the District 3 councilor race, incumbent Neil Wetherbee was reelected over his opponent, Shannon Coyle, by a vote of 343 to 238.
Two open School Board seats were filled by incumbent Wendy
 Smith, with 1,070 votes; and Daniel McKenna, with 933 votes. Kevin Coyle, a sitting councilor, had 850 votes, while Katherine Prudhomme- O’Brien had 454 votes.
All three school warrant articles put before voters resulted in affirmative votes: Article 2, to approve the $76.6 million school budget; 
Article 3, to approve the collective bargaining agreement; and Article 4, to call a special meeting should Article 3 be defeated.
These boots were made for voting: Elise Clohecy, 4,
of Derry uses her tippy toes to try to see what
 her mom, Erika Clohecy, was doing
during an intimate mother-daughter moment inside the
voting booth at Gilbert Hood Middle School.
If there was a bright spot in yesterday’s otherwise dismal voter turnout, it would be that 11 newly minted voters showed up at the polls, said Supervisor of the Checklist Renee Routhier, who was on duty Tuesday at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School.
For Routhier, it was a positive sign
“Of the 11 voters who registered, eight of them were first-time voters, either 18 or 19 years old, which is encouraging,” Routhier said.
One such voter, Kelly Wasner, said town elections are important to her because they’re important to her boyfriend, Joe Ochs, son of incumbent School Board member Neal Ochs.
“I support whoever he supports,” said Joe Ochs, nodding toward his father, who was standing outside the school in candidates row, holding a sign of support for Daniel McKenna.
“And I support who he supports,” said Wasner, leaning in close to her boyfriend, who was holding a Wendy Smith/Brad Benson placard.
In other races, Betsy Burtis bested Mario Iannaccone for trustee of the trust funds, 856 to 665; and all five library trustee candidates — three for Derry Library and two for Taylor Library — were elected.

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