Farmington Board of Education Candidates React to Recount Results

Credit: Submitted
Credit: Submitted
Only a three-vote difference stood between Mark Blore (R) and second lowest vote-getters Shawn Curtis (R) and Bill Beckert (D) for the last seat on the Farmington Board of Education after Thursday's recount.

The Democrats retained the majority on the board that they've had for eight years after Election 2013. The Board of Education is the only major board in town with a Democratic majority. 

"We are very excited that our three outstanding candidates were re-elected to the Board and that the Democrats will retain a majority on the Board of Education," Democratic Town Committee Chairman Robert Huelen wrote in an email to Patch. "I know Ellen, Bill and Paula will continue to do a great job of protecting our outstanding school system. Speaking as a parent, I know we've got another two years with a Board of Education that I can trust with my kids' education because they put students ahead of politics."

Blore had 2,414 and Curtis and Beckert tied with 2,417. Incumbent Democrat Ellen Siuta (2,613) got the most votes, followed by William Baker (2,568) and fellow incumbent Democrat Paula O'Brien (2,485).

"I'm very happy with the outcome that was confirmed by the recount," Siuta wrote in an email to Patch. "I look forward to continuing my work of providing high quality education with my exceptional colleagues Paula O'Brien and Bill Beckert under the distinguished leadership of Mary Grace Reed and  I look forward to establishing collaborative relationships with the new members."

While Blore lost the seat, he said that coming as close to incumbent Beckert as a newcomer was a victory in and of itself. 

“Obviously I had hoped to win but I was overall happy with the results because I came into the race with the least name recognition," he said. "I came in with a big disadvantage and to come within three votes of an incumbent who has been on for five years was a pretty good result.”

Incumbents Siuta and O'Brien also held onto their seats. 

“I am grateful that the people of Farmington have given me another opportunity to serve them," Beckert said. "It was a spirited campaign, as it should be, and I wish to congratulate both my Democratic running mates, as well as my new republican colleagues. We have a lot of work to do in the coming years, and a lot of challenges resulting from the state and federal mandates pertaining to the Common Core, as well as school, teacher, and student evaluations.  I look forward to getting to work on these challenges. We have a great Board of Education, and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.”

O'Brien thanked the voters for electing her to serve on the Board of Education for another four years. 

"Most people are aware that education in our nation is facing many changes and I am excited to be part of the important work going on in Farmington," O'Brien said. "While my colleagues leaving the Board will be greatly missed, I want to extend my congratulations to the other returning and newly elected members.  I look forward to working together to keep Farmington a leader in education."

Shawn Curtis is a newcomer to the Board of Education. 

"This was a hard fought campaign by all.  We had our sights set on winning the majority and came very, very close," Curtis said. "Bill Baker ran a great campaign, as did Mark Blore.  I look forward to working with those just elected / re-elected and those that have two more years of their term. I believe that we will work well as a team, leveraging one another's experience and perspectives; some members have kids in the system, some have kids that have gone through the system, and I have a daughter that will go through the system.  It's a good balance and we will work to build upon the current success whilst we establish a strong foundation for the future."

Blore knocked on 1,500 doors in his campaign. He said that while he will not be serving on the Board of Education this time around, he wouldn't close the door on a future run and said he would like to work with the board members as a civilian to get the message  across about important issues. For instance, he encourages the board to address the added stress for teachers due to new state requirements and teacher evaluation process.

"Ultimately, a lot of that stress that they’re under filters down to the kids," said Blore, whose wife is a teacher. 

Huelin, who ran for Town Council chairman and lost to Republican Nancy Nickerson, congratulated the other Democratic incumbents who were re-elected. 

"Of course we are disappointed, but we did have excellent people elected, including Amy, John and the BOE incumbents," Huelin said. "I want to congratulate all the candidates and volunteers who gave their time this fall and I wish all of the winners the best in doing the work of their offices.  I also want to thank all of the people who supported our candidates and who helped during the election. Our democracy runs on sweat equity, and everyone who contributes to that deserves our appreciation."

Board of Education candidate Baker could not be reached immediately for comment. 


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