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Shortfall of candidates in Forest Hills and Webster

jacksonTown elections aren’t always competitive affairs. For some municipalities, it’s a challenge just to get enough people to run to fill the empty seats — and that’s what happened to Webster and Forest Hills this go-around. Both towns will sport ballots with one candidate fewer than the number of seats available.

“I think it’s difficult in a lot of small towns, unless there’s controversial issues, to get people involved in town government,” said Webster Mayor Nick Breedlove. “People turn out whenever there are any issues that might strike a chord with them, but when things are flowing smoothly people don’t really get active in government.” 

In Webster, both Janice Blanton’s and Billie Bryson’s seats are up for election. Bryson is running for re-election but Blanton is not, and nobody else filed to run. In Forest Hills, Kolleen Begely’s seat for mayor is up, as are those of board members Ron Mau and Dan Perlmutter. Perlmutter is not running for re-election, and no third candidate entered the race. 

The seats can still be filled this election if somebody wins as a write-in candidate. In Webster, Jade Moses has decided to throw her hat in the ring as a write-in candidate. However, no write-in candidate has yet surfaced in Forest Hills. If the elections conclude with the seat still empty, the elected board will appoint someone to the vacancy, and the seat will come up for election again in two years. 

Mau said newcomers to town politics sometimes need some encouragement, so it doesn’t worry him that no one has yet expressed interest in Perlmutter’s seat. 

“The first time I served, I was asked and I didn’t say yes right away. It takes some people time to think about it and decide if they want to do it or not, so we’ll see what happens,” Mau said. 

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Overall, though, both Mau and Breedlove said, serving in town government is a rewarding experience, and they hope to see people continuing to step up to fill those roles. 

“It’s incredibly rewarding to dedicate your efforts and make things better for the community you live in,” Breedlove said. 

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