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Some Candidate Profiles Available for Review

Mar 30, 2017 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson

Before you go to vote on May 3, we encourage you to take a look at the following candidate profiles. For contested races, we have included profiles in alphabetical order, by office, and just as we received them from the candidates. If a race is contested but you don’t see a profile, it’s because we did not receive one from the candidate.


There are 2 seats up for grabs on the Board of Selectmen for a 3-year term:  Candidates are two incumbents, Don Martinis and Michael Soter, as well as Stuart Leclair (from whom we received no profile).

Don Martinis

 I’m Don Martinis, candidate for re-election to the Bellingham Board of Selectmen.

I’ve been a resident of Bellingham for 32 years, I love the community, the residents, and the diversity of opportunity Bellingham has to offer and I feel it’s important that we keep it that way.
I’ve served our wonderful town for more than 25 years in various capacities; youth sports coach, board member, School Superintendent Search Committee, High School & Stall Brook School Principal Search Committee, Stall Brook School Council and CCD teacher at St. Blaise, and for the past three years a member and current Vice-Chairman of the Board of Selectman.
As a Member of the Board of Selectman, I’ve stood up for residents by opposing proposals that would have a negative impact on our community. I’ve consistently maintained my position as an advocate for all the town’s people, especially our senior community.
Bellingham’s significant growth brings challenges regarding housing, traffic, school enrollment, and open space. As Selectman, I bring experience well-suited to the issues we’re facing. I’m very visible to the community and feel I have my finger on the pulse of what the community wants to be safe and prosperous.  My years of service offer me a unique perspective and I’m a voice for the people.

I care deeply about supporting local businesses at both ends of town and am very proud of the great school system we have for all of our children.

Many of you know I have been an opponent of the proposed 160 High Street/Maple Street 450,000 Square foot 24x7 distribution facility. Although the tax revenue would be an initial boost to the economy, there are far too many negative impacts; including hundreds of additional tractor trailer trips on Maple Street causing safety concerns for commuters, bicyclists, school busses, and emergency vehicles that travel Maple and High Streets. There comes a point when a project isn’t a good project, regardless of the initial tax boost. Long term negative impact, including the destruction of roads, increased traffic congestion will cause issue for police and emergency services, this alone will negate any tax revenue benefit. Safety and quality of life must be the number one concern when considering projects.
As a current Selectman I support wise zoning, planning, and housing options for families and seniors who want to stay in their homes. I’ll continue to work to make sure Bellingham gets its fair share from our state and federal partners.

My wife, Deanna and I, have four children, three have graduated from Bellingham and have gone onto college and graduate school. My youngest is currently in High School. As Selectman, I support all of our children, teachers and staff, and take a balanced, open-minded approach to identifying the resources we need to provide all students with a great public education. I’m a voice for fiscal responsibility, accountability, transparency, and efficiency.

Michael Soter

 I am seeking re-election to a 3 year term on the Bellingham Board of Selectman.

In 2011, I first sought the Selectman seat so I could make a difference in our town government and ensure bright future for our children. Over the past six years we have seen extensive investment in our schools, public safety and improvements to our infrastructure. I promised a new police station, and it was built on time and under budget! I wanted to bring more transparency and fiscal responsibility to municipal government and we accomplished that through zero-based budgeting. Strong budget surpluses helped to increase our credit rating to AA+. I advocate for seniors, making sure that Bellingham stays an affordable place for them to live. We kept tax rates the lowest in the area (Boston Globe, 3/23/2016) by balancing commercial and residential tax rates. We implemented Veterans’ Tax work-off to assist those who have served our country well. Being Selectman is an honor and a privilege that I take seriously. I’m asking for another 3 years so that we can continue to move Bellingham in the right direction for all of our residents. 
At the age of 21, I began my own retail grocery business. I work with some of the largest grocery store suppliers and retailers in the food industry. I have experience in managing $100 million per year budgets, and know what it is like to make tough decisions needed to balance budgets. I empathize with the day-to-day budgetary struggles that residents go through while raising their families, and want to lessen their tax burden. I also understand what people expect from efficient government, and know how to deliver.

Although Bellingham Selectman is my first elected position, I was neighborhood association president in the College Hill area when I lived in Worcester, advocating and negotiating for all levels of municipal services.

As selectman, one needs to put town interests before one’s self interests. You have to recognize that you represent the entire town. You must check your “ego at the door” and realize that you represent all 16,000 residents of Bellingham. You have to be prepared to operate within budget constraints, and fully analyze the benefits of the capital projects you are asking the taxpayers to invest their tax dollars in.

Bellingham has always managed its budgets through economic growth and fiscal discipline. I plan to focus on economic development that will keep the tax burden on resident’s low, without sacrificing needs in education, public safety or infrastructure. We can’t just increase revenues by taxing our residents. We need to focus on economic development that will generate the resources to make Bellingham prosper.

The last six years have been an honor and a privilege. I am very grateful for your support in the past, and I respectfully ask for your vote on May 2, 2017. Together we will keep Bellingham moving in the right direction!


There is one seat on the Planning Board and two candidates vying for it: James Dunles vs. William "Bill" O'Connell, Jr.

James Dunlea

Dear Fellow Bellingham Resident (and those considering our community);
James Dunlea

 My name is James (“Jim”) Dunlea and I wish to be your voice on our planning board. I seek your vote this coming election May 2nd for Planning Board Member.

We are blessed on so many fronts with a great community to call home, A fantastic community with a “small town feel” where individuals still make a difference, yet with proximity to major city centers, world class and regional class educational institutions, and abundant recreational opportunities at our doorstep.

We are the benefactors of those in our community that have come before us, our great seniors, whom have passed on to us the stewardship of continuing to see Bellingham be a great place to live. In that stewardship, we must recognize that the quality of a town, all that we fund and support, our schools, parks, library, senior center, town services, and more, all depend on a community that creates an environment that attracts and retains great residents.
First and foremost the “curb appeal” of a community must be such that prospective home shoppers first impressions compel them to take a deeper look at the community, and not simply keep driving on by. Whether we think about it or not, towns compete for quality residents much in the same way businesses complete for talent. Your property values, quality of life, our collective ability to fund our schools and public services, how we attract and retain residents that engage in our charities, donate their time and resources to further our community, support our local businesses and our places of worship, all are dependent on the curb appeal and quality of life a community offers.  A fundamental activity of the Planning Board is to drive the value proposition within a community by protecting and enhancing the desirability of a community. If the desirability of a community erodes, the trajectory and outlook for a community is not positive. As one drives through a community, it must speak to them—“yes, I can see myself living/retiring here.”

Having your back: As your Planning Board member I will first and foremost answer to you, the local resident that is impacted by development projects. Many development projects are great concepts, and we can, should, and we will welcome these development concepts into our community. On the contrary, some concepts are “dogs” and should be called out for the impacts they bring: Negative quality of life impacts, negative health impacts, negative traffic and public safety impacts, negative “curb appeal” impacts, negative property value impacts, and last, drive away the quality of resident (existing or perspective home buyer) that every community must appeal to in order to thrive for the long-term well being of a community.
I respectfully ask for your vote, so that I can “have your back.” I will be your independent voice taking direction from you the local resident. I will bring to bear many years of Zoning Board experience and significant industry knowledge across many business sectors. As a business owner I also fully understand the challenges of small, local businesses. I have “your back,” absolutely.  To those very large scale, large impact projects, I will dedicate my energy to protecting local neighborhood’s quality of life, and in doing so protect the property values of the town at large by ensuring we are a great place to call “home.”

My message is fundamental: Great neighborhoods build great towns. Great towns have the means to support great public services and great local businesses. Great local businesses, in turn, “give back” in many ways to our communities.

If this message appeals to you, I respectfully ask for your vote so that I may enact this vision for you. I will have “your back.”

William F. O'Connell, Jr.

William O'Connell, Jr.

 I am seeking re-election to the Bellingham Planning Board. I believe that controlled and proper development in town is important, and I am running for re-election to continue the progress and direction of the current planning board. We need to attract the right residential, commercial, and industrial development in order to broaden our tax base. I want to represent all residents of Bellingham in the decisions that are made that affect our future.

I have over 30 years of public/private work experience with a focus on risk management consulting as well as a formal business education.  In my career, I have worked with both large and small entities to foster relationships that address the short-term and long-term goals of all parties involved.  I believe my overall career experience has allowed me to contribute effectively to the Planning Board.
I am currently Vice-Chairman of the Bellingham Planning Board.  I was a past Chairman and member of the Bellingham Housing Authority. I have served on the Bellingham Budget Ad Hoc Committee, the Bellingham Recycling Committee, and the Bellingham Solid Waste Committee. In addition, I am a past president and an active member of the Bellingham Lions for 25 years.

As a Planning Board member, it is my responsibility to review, analyze, and fully vet all residential, commercial, and industrial developments that come before the board.  It is important that Board members consider all proposals with a fair and balanced perspective and do not put the interests of any particular group ahead of the best interest of the town.

It is extremely important that we promote development that expands our tax base so that we can make investments in education, public safety, and other areas. But, all proposals must be properly analyzed and evaluated. The Planning Board should be a catalyst to sound beneficial development, not an impediment.

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as a member of the Bellingham Planning Board over the past three years.  I would appreciate your support of me so that we can continue to make smart decisions with respect to future development.


There is one seat open on the School Committee, and it is being sought by Francis "Frank" Cartier and Lori Colombo (who did not submit a profile).

Francis Cartier

 Francis Cartier, a lifelong resident of Bellingham is seeking election to the School Committee after having previously served four terms on the board.  While on the committee, he served in the capacity of Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Treasurer. He has been the board’s liaison to many committees, including the Health and Safety Committee, Facilities Study Committee and the Policy Review Committee. He’s also been a member of four negotiating teams for the AFSCME contract, and three superintendent search committees.

Mr. Cartier has served on several town committees, including the Charter Review Committee and the Cemetery Committee, and has been the burial agent for the Board of Health. Frank has also been active in the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) program at Bellingham High School.

Frank graduated from BHS in 1977, and continued his education at N. E. Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences, graduating in 1979. At age 19, Cartier became the youngest actively licensed funeral director in the state. He has been co-owner and operator of Cartier’s Funeral Home for over 40 years.

Cartier was married in 1985 to Linda Lewis, also a lifelong Bellingham resident and graduate of Bellingham High. Frank and Linda have three children, all of whom have graduated from BHS. His oldest daughter, Courtney, holds degrees from both Johnson and Wales and Rhode Island College. She is an Experienced Benefits Service Manager for Aon, and is married to Jeff Dias; they have one son, Jaxson. His son, Ryan, is a graduate of New England Technical Institute and works as a grounds maintenance technician for Delta Airlines. His youngest daughter, Lauren, is a graduate of Framingham State, and a graduate student at Bridgewater State University. She works as an Educational Assistant in Dover.

Mr. Cartier’s primary goal is to balance fiscal responsibility with quality education for our children. “In these difficult and challenging economic times, we need committee members who are experienced and have a clear vision and direction for the district,” said Cartier. Another objective is to provide a safe and secure learning environment for all of our students and faculty. Cartier would also like to insure our students always have access to the technology necessary to develop the skills to compete in today’s global economy. Frank is also an advocate of extracurricular activities and sees them as a way for children to learn valuable lessons such as teamwork and collaboration.

“I appreciate all the support and trust that Bellingham residents have given me over the years, and I’d appreciate your vote on May 2. Thank you.”




Bellingham Stuff


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