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Waterville Valley town clerk saying goodbye to post

Union Leader Correspondent

March 11. 2014 7:42PM
With the town’s more than century-old-ballot box in the foreground, Waterville Valley Town Clerk Pat Kucharski shows off another tool that is unique to Town Meeting here: the antique moderator’s gavel. The 2014 town meeting was Kucharski’s last as town clerk. (JOHN KOZIOL PHOTO)

WATERVILLE VALLEY — After 10 years on the job, Patricia Kucharski hung up her town clerk’s hat on Tuesday, overseeing elections in this town of less than 300 residents, most of whom, as has been the case for the past decade, were expected to come to the polls.

“We have an uncontested ballot,” Kucharski said, adding that despite that fact, the turnout had been “steady.” Kucharski, who chose not to seek reelection, said she expected to see the better part of the town’s 270 registered voters come out to the polls yesterday to exercise their franchise.

The number of voters is admittedly small, said Kucharski, “but we usually do 80 to 90 percent turnout.”

For a non-partisan election, “We’ve got a lot of people who are pretty active,” said Kucharski, who will likely be succeeded by Reggie Breeckner, the lone candidate for town clerk. With one exception, all seats on the Waterville Valley town ballot had at least one person seeking the post, and, for another year, there was no controversy, Kucharski said.

“I don’t think we have any ‘hot button’ issues,” on the ballot or warrant this year, she said, adding that “We like each other,” which helps the town operate in its collegial way.

Kucharski said voters didn’t have much to say about the one regional contest on the Waterville Valley and other town ballots throughout the North Country — to fill the District 1 vacancy on the Executive Council created by the death of Ray Burton.

“There was not enough publicity,” she said, to help voters differentiate between the District 1 candidates — Republican Joe Kenney and Democrat Mike Cryans — each of whom may be known but not as well as Burton was.

Waterville Valley Selectman Mike Aronson thanked all the volunteers who help this town succeed, adding that Town Meeting is an annual expression of grass-roots democracy.

“It’s a wonderful thing that we can all work together,” Aronson said, “and that every citizen has a voice.”

Following the closing of voting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Waterville Valley voters were slated to act on an eight-article warrant that included a $3,698,270 operating budget and to bond $235,800 for the construction of a new Public Works garage.

Like a number of other Granite State communities, Waterville Valley had on its warrant an article that, without saying so, seeks to undo the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That decision declared that corporations, associations and labor unions have a First Amendment right to make political expenditures.

The Waterville Valley article directs the New Hampshire Legislature to call upon Congress to “move forward a constitutional amendment” that would “safeguard fair elections through the authority to regulate political spending” and that prevents those groups which Citizens empowered from raising money for political campaigns or other election activity.

Additionally, the article calls upon the Legislature to tell Congress to also move on an amendment to prohibit “gerrymandering” in federal elections.

Politics Waterville Valley

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