Burke lands victory for Great Barrington Select Board, Cooke retains seat

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This story has been modified to reflect that ZBA member Stephen McAlister retained his seat.

GREAT BARRINGTON — A new face and an incumbent took the votes in a Select Board race that saw six candidates vying for two seats, one left open by the departure of former Chairman Sean Stanton.

Unofficial election results show that Kate Feuer Burke, who has campaigned as a voice representing young families at Town Hall, landed a solid victory Tuesday.

While William Cooke solidly retained his seat, having been elected three years ago.

The candidates had a bevy of challengers that included Holly Hamer, James Clark, Gavin Pollock and Christopher Tucci.

Burke, 32, told The Eagle Tuesday night that more young families are needed here to keep the town thriving into the future.

"I'm excited to really be able to represent young families and bring their needs in front of the board as we move forward and try to attract and promote families in the area," she said.

Burke, who manages the Great Barrington Farmers Market, was raised in the area. She wants to advance economic development projects, including broadband to make the town inviting for young people. At a recent candidate's forum, she said affordable housing for the local workforce is on her agenda.

Affordable housing is also Cooke's passion. Cooke, who is retired, is chairman of the town's new Affordable Housing Trust, and is on the Berkshire Regional Transportation Board to advocate for better public transportation.

For the Finance Committee, Michele Loubert unseated Walter "Buddy" Atwood III. Loubert has said she wants better communication between the town and school committee to deal with rising budgets at the Berkshire Hills Regional School District. She also wants to see more citizen participation.

And Eugene "Will" Curletti, owner of Fuel Coffee Shop, retained his seat. He, too, has said he wants to find solutions to the ever-climbing school budget.

In other contested races, Madonna Meagher won a seat back on the Zoning Board of Appeals, from which, for personal reasons, she had taken a break from in recent years.  Stephen McAlister retained his seat. Both were challenged by James Kotleski.

The town, in a ballot question, also approved an exemption from proposition 2 to pay for building improvements to the Mason Library, the Housatonic Fire Station and the Dewey School.

Out of 4,574 registered voters in town, 1,031 cast their votes in this election.

Reach Heather Bellow at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter at @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.


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