DECISION 2022: Republicans take control as Burns replaces Marvel on Hopkinton Town Council | Richmond & Hopkinton

Only one seat will change hands in the coming term on the Hopkinton Town Council, but the loss by unaffiliated candidate Robert Marvel will still have a significant impact as it hands control of the town’s top board to Republicans.

Four of the five incumbents running for Hopkinton Town Council were reelected Tuesday night, with Republican Robert Burns the only newcomer to crack the top five, displacing Marvel. Republican Mike Geary received the most votes, with 1,932, and Democrat Sharon Davis second at 1,712. Burns received 1,634, unaffiliated incumbent Stephen Moffitt Jr. garnered 1,625, and Longtime councilor Scott Bill Hirst finished fifth with 1,590 votes.

Marvel (1,347) and Republicans Robert Thomas Greene (1,551) and Edwin James (1,453) did not gain election. The vote counts are unofficial, as some mail ballots still need to be tallied.

“Having served since 1992, it will be the only second time majority, I will serve as part of a Republican (majority) on the town council,” said Hirst, who has been a vocal proponent for Republicans throughout the campaign.

With a full slate of Republicans, there was a chance for potentially bigger Going into the election, a full slate of Republican candidates created an opportunity to mix up the council in the coming term. But Davis and Moffitt, along with Geary and Hirst, were able to withstand the challenge.

The top vote-getter, Geary, joined the council in 2020 as a Republican. He spent two decades in the U.S. Navy before moving to the area nearly 20 years ago.

In the coming term, Geary said he hopes to do more to break down barriers. He said it will be critical for the community to focus on expanding economic development to reduce tax burden on residents and grow the town’s grand list. He said he would also keep a close eye on public budgets, including Chariho’s annual budget, and seek to enhance volunteer recruitment and retention with organizations throughout the community.

“My first term here was anything but normal. We started day one with Zoom meetings, so while I was in the council chambers, it just wasn’t the same,” he said. “I feel like there is a lot we could accomplish in the next term.”

Davis, who finished second, first joined the council following election in 2018 and is looking forward to her third term in office.

The two-term Democrat served as the vice president over the past two years, focusing on a variety of initiatives that included a new solar ordinance, reducing spending during budget deliberations, maintaining quality and commitment to education and working to resolve concerns presented by those who live near Potter Hill Dam following a proposal to remove it.

At 44 years old, Burns is the owner of Evan’s Welding and Oak Street Mini-Storage. He became a lot more involved in politics recently, working with Republicans after questions were brought up that made him look into the Chariho school budget. Burns said he hopes that in the coming term, he will not only be a voice for the taxpayers but to also be able to improve relations across the aisle.

Moffitt, a lifelong resident of the area and 1994 graduate of Chariho, had first earned election in 2020 and was named the council president during the past term. He had previously also served as an assistant middle school soccer coach and board member with the Chariho Youth Soccer Association, as well as the organization’s director of fields.

Hirst, a self-proclaimed “watchdog of the people,” is a long-serving Republican incumbent who has been an active part of politics over the past three decades. The 69-year-old will return to the council in 2020 as part of the newest five-member board. Now entering his eighth consecutive term and ninth overall on the council, Hirst said he plans on continuing to watch the budget and seek ways to reduce the tax burden on residents.

“We need to move forward in getting the town organized. There are a lot of boards and commissions that are not currently active, and they could go a long way to helping improve transparency and finding better ways to do things,” Hirst said.

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