Election Update: Changing faces on Select Board impacting other races (Updated)

Two Select Board members will run for different seats this spring and a new candidate has pulled papers; Race forming for School Committee

Above: In 2020, two women ran for and won seats on the Select Board (one for a second term). Today, they both announced that they’ll be holding signs for different races this spring rather than seeking re-election. (photo by Beth Melo)

Today, both members of the Select Board whose terms end this spring announced that they will be on the ballot – but running for different offices.

Early this afternoon, Lisa Braccio announced that she wouldn’t seek a third term and will instead run for the Planning Board. Late this afternoon, Chelsea Malinowski announced that she will be seeking a seat on the School Committee (which means there is now a competitive race).

That means anyone interested in running for the Board won’t have to go up against any incumbents. Currently, there is one candidate in the potential running for the two seats.

Albena Phillipo has pulled papers for the Select Board.

Braccio shared her announcement with me today (which she also shared on social media). It includes a long thank you to supporters, an acknowledgement of some controversial decisions, lessons she’s learned, and an explanation of her new direction:

Here are some excerpts:

I asked you to let me be your voice and I believe for the most part I have achieved that goal. All decisions I made were always with the best interest of the Town at heart, some were unpopular and were very hard to make. And looking back, I would have some done differently. I have learned a lot about Southborough and about myself. The thing I will treasure most is all the conversations with so many of you and getting to really know what matters most to you.

But the time has come to refocus my time and energy. . .

Working closely with the Planning Board and the Planning Department on various issues over the past few years and myself being very process driven, I believe the Planning Board is a great fit for my next service.

For her full letter, click here. [Note: As of last night, Planning Board incumbent Andrew Mills hadn’t pulled papers to run again. ]

Chelsea Malinowski also shared a statement about her decision to shift gears:

Over the last several weeks, I have given a lot of thought on whether to run for the Select Board again. It is not a decision I have taken lightly and multiple factors have weighed on my decision. I thoroughly enjoyed serving the residents of Southborough for the last 3 years. I have made some tough and sometimes unpopular decisions but deep down I felt I made the best decision I could for the town. I tried to be fiscally conservative, collaborative, and respectful of other viewpoints. I have decided that it is time for me to take a break from the Select Board and pursue other interests. I want to thank all of the residents who gave me the opportunity to make a positive impact and provided feedback along the way. I also want to thank the town employees who I worked with on different initiatives and helped me to understand and appreciate all of the wonderful things that they do for the town. I am very fortunate to have had this experience and been able to meet so many that I would not have otherwise.

I will be shifting my focus and have pulled papers to run for one of the School Committee seats. As the mother of three young children, I hope to be able to be able to contribute all my experience from the Select Board and other town Boards that I have served on to make a meaningful impact for our school community.

As I noted in a prior post, there is a special election for a one year term on the School Committee. At the time, I noted that it would be a wide open seat, since an incumbent wouldn’t be running for it. It turns out, there is one scenario I hadn’t counted on. 

Rather than running for re-election to her current seat, Kamali Aieka O’Meally has pulled papers to run for the 1 year term.

Johanna Sheyner and Zhi Li had already pulled papers for the two 3 year seats. Malinowski’s announcement turns that into a three-way race. (I don’t have word yet on incumbent Keturah Martin’s plans.)

Anyone interested in running for Town government has until March 17th to pull papers. For more details on what’s entailed in running, see my prior post.

Updated (3/1/23 4:22 pm): When I initially posted the story, Chelsea Malinowski had pulled papers for Select Board and appeared to be planning to run. Since then, she withdrew from the Select Board race, pulled papers for the School Committee and made her big announcement.

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