Special election to decide new Cheshire Select Board seats

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CHESHIRE — Voters will decide tonight who gets to sit in the fourth and fifth chairs of the newly expanded Select Board.

Michael "Mickey" Biagini Jr., E. Richard Scholz and Ronald DeAngelis are the three hopefuls seeking the two-year term listed on the ballot.

The position becomes a three-year term when the seat is up for grabs in the 2021 annual town election.

The full three-year term available pits Donna DeFino against Michelle Francesconi.

Balloting during the special election is from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cheshire Senior/Community Center, 110 School St., not far from the former elementary school.

Voters at the annual town election May 6 gave the final go-ahead to expand the board from three to five members, a process that began in 2015 involving several initial approvals on the local and state levels. In June, the current Select Board called for the special election to be held Aug. 13.

The three-way race for the two-year term features candidates with a variety of local government experience.

Scholz is a former Cheshire Finance Committee member who was a leading advocate to expand the board, calling for more diverse opinions. The Cheshire native, who spent 30 years globe-trotting in the communications field, is making his fifth bid for the Select Board.

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He has lost four races since 2014, most recently to Jason Levesque in May.

Biagini brings to the campaign a total of 14 years on the Board of Health that ended May 6, after losing to challenger Christopher "C.J." Garner. A cousin of Selectman Mark Biagini, candidate Biagini has said he has been contemplating a Select Board run for a years, wanting to be part of more forward-thinking leadership in town.

A Cheshire resident for 20 years, DeAngelis has spent four years on the Planning Board and the past year as a water commissioner. He has said constant communication is essential among all municipal boards and departments for the town to move forward.

A pair of well-known residents are squaring off for the three-year term.

Francesconi, a former Cheshire police officer for 12 years, is the wife of Cheshire Fire Chief Thomas Francesconi, whose mother, Carol Francesconi, retired from the board this spring after 30 years of service.

Michelle Francesconi, business manager of St. Mary of the Assumption Church, has said she is eager to help plan Cheshire's future.

DeFino, who is making her second bid in two months to join the Select Board, lost to Mark Biagini in the recent annual town election. She has chaired the Planning Board for the past three years and was elected last month as the new moderator.

The Pittsfield native has said she is running to get more involved in a community she has called home for 15 years.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com and 413-496-6233.


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