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Lee Select Board

A three-way race has emerged for a seat being vacated by longtime Lee Select Board member Patricia Carlino

Lee Town Hall

Former Selectman Gordon Bailey and newcomer to local politics Robert Wright have joined activist and businesswoman Anne Langlais to battle it out to succeed Patricia Carlino on the Lee Select Board in the May 16 annual town election.

LEE — A three-way race has emerged for a seat on the Lee Select Board.

Former Selectman Gordon Bailey and Robert Wright, a newcomer to local politics, have joined activist and businesswoman Anne Langlais to battle it out to succeed Patricia Carlino. Langlais launched her campaign earlier this year.

Patricia Carlino, chair of Lee's Select Board, will forgo reelection bid, ending two-plus decades on panel

Carlino, who has served on the board for 24 years, has opted against seeking another three-year term.

The annual town election is May 16 and the Select Board contest is the only one on the ballot.

Anti-PCB dump

Like Langlais, her opponents are against the PCB landfill planned for the town as part of the Housatonic River cleanup.

“I would never had voted for it, it was the wrong way to go about it,” Wright told The Eagle, referring to the decision by a previous Select Board.

Bailey sees three ways the town can fight the agreement and back out.

“Go it alone or work with the other five communities, especially in court or reach out to our state and federal lawmakers and redouble our efforts to fight the dump,” he told The Eagle.

Bailey says his experience of getting people to work together and his knowledge of state government are good reasons for him to return to the board. He served as a selectman from 2000-2012. He also sat on the Planning Board in the 1980s and 1990s, currently serves on the Lee Zoning Board of Appeals and is a retired state inspector of 25 years.

He would like see the board interact more with the public and certain groups, such as the Lee Chamber of Commerce.

“I would like our board to meet every so often at the high school and get feedback from students; it would be great exposure for our youth to see how we do things in town,” he said.

Bailey is an advocate for a single public safety building, saying the police department should not be housed at the aging Town Hall.

As for the town’s need for more affordable housing, Bailey is calling for a change in downtown zoning to encourage more rental units like the more than 100 apartments planned for the north end of Main Street.

“The Eagle Mill housing is a big plus,” he said. “We absolutely need housing stock for people to work here.”

Wright has never held public office before, but he says owning a business, Prospect Concrete Cutting, and having been a deputy sheriff for 14 years makes him well-versed in making crucial decisions every day.

“I’m at a point in my life I can devote time to be a selectman and bring a sense of stability to the town,” he said.

Wright says he would not support a shared police force with another town like several Berkshire communities have discussed in recent weeks.

He does support the Eagle Mill project and reminds voters the importance to the housing situation.

“Once it gets up and running it will be market-rate housing, not low-income housing,” Wright noted.

Wright adds he wants to bring positive energy to the board and town.

“My goal is to bring a more positive type of communication into the Lee community hoping to involve more residents in community input and output,” he said.

Meanwhile, Langlais welcomes the three-person race, saying it gives voters a wide choice of candidates to choose from. And she said support continues to build for her campaign.

“I’ve had to put in another order for more lawn signs, and I get offers of donations regularly which I have turned down as I prefer to self-fund my campaign,” she said in an email.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com.

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