GRANBY — With the annual town election approaching on Monday, May 20, candidates for the various positions open on this year’s ballot gathered at East Meadow School on May 1 for a Lions Club-sponsored candidates’ night event.

Headlining the night was the four-way race for the one open Selectboard term for three years. Current Selectboard member Richard Beaulieu has decided not to run for reelection and the open seat has led to the most contested race in this election.

The candidates for the open Selectboard term are John Arcouette, David Labonte, Nathaniel Masse and Micheline Turgeon.

Arcouette, who said he goes by Jack, led off the night and spoke about what made him want to pursue this position in what has become he and his daughter’s hometown. He moved to Granby four years ago, but had lived in Belchertown for almost 20 years.

Arcouette has been active in Granby though, as he has been involved with Granby Charter Days events for almost the entirety of living in the area, adding that he made many connections and friends within the community he now lives in.

“All that time I really fell in love with what Granby is. It’s a small community where everyone knows each other, and it embodies wholeness and I love that. That’s the reason why my daughter and I chose to make Granby our home four years ago,” Arcouette said.

Arcouette said also over the years he has listened to his friends in Granby speak on how things are run and that things can sometimes be “a little bit difficult and how they want change.” He added that through his upbringing with his politically active parents, a piece of advice given to him has now rang true and motivated him to run for the Selectboard position.

“They always told me, ‘if you want the change to happen, be it.’ I’m at a point in my life right now where I have energy, the time and the determination to commit to this position. This position is going to be involving asking a lot of hard questions,” Arcouette said. “Our Finance Committee has been telling us that we’re spending more than we’re taking in taxes. I don’t know about you guys but if I budgeted my household that way, I’m not going to have a home in a few years.”

Arcouette said he has 30 years of experience in insurance and public service entities in various roles. He now works for a company that contracts with municipalities and helps maintain regulatory compliance. He added he has a lot of experience in grant writing.

Arcouette in closing said his platform is running on transparency and he hopes to bring integrity to the position.
Labonte said as a 17-year resident who loves the town and made it the home for his family, he has heard the frustration and sees the challenges facing the town. This led him to making the decision to run.

Labonte has over 35 years’ experience in construction and said with his background and vast understanding of building and building codes, it can only help the Selectboard, specifically with the decisions to be made on the approved West Street School Building project that will be converted into town offices.

“I promise to listen to all sides of a situation before making any decisions. I will do what is best for taxpayers of Granby and long-term decisions. I will never go along with a crowd unless it is warranted. I will do my research,” Labonte said.

Labonte also called for the town to address hiring a grant writer in order to improve on getting state assistance on certain projects when they can. He also called for more transparency, something he would bring to the role.
“The committees within the town need to communicate and make processes less complicated for people in town. Each committee seems to work in isolation, which benefits no one,” Labonte said.

Labonte also added he was committed to the town’s schools, as a strong school system leads to improved property values and brings in new families.

Massey, the next candidate for Selectboard to speak, opened up by telling those in attendance everything he is not.

“I’m not here because I think someone is doing a bad job, that I can do better. I’m not here because some friends really want something pushed through. And I’m not here to make false promises, or guarantee that I can do x, y and z,” Massey said.

Citing his history and political science major, he felt what other way to best utilize his education than to run for town government.

“I firmly believe that those elected in representative government have a responsibility to those that voted them in. That responsibility extends but is not limited to sitting down and actually listening to what people have to say and acting accordingly,” Massey said.

He added that while he has certain values and morals he is unwavering on, if what people are asking him to do does not but heads with those values, he gives his word that he will listen to residents.

Turgeon, the final candidate for Selectboard to speak, said she was running for the position to help build a strong foundation for the future of Granby.

“Over the next several years the town will be having many changes in town departments due to retirements. I want to make sure that future department heads will have the best interest of the town,” Turgeon said.

Turgeon has lived her whole life in Granby and has worked on many departments and committees for the town during her professional career. She is a former elected official for Parks and Recreation, as well as six years on the Board of Health.

Turgeon also is a former volunteer firefighter for the town before becoming a full-time firefighter and paramedic for two decades in Westfield. When returning to work in Granby in 2020, Turgeon became a full-time firefighter/paramedic for the town and was interim fire chief for a seven month stretch. She plans to remain on the force and eventually retire in the role.

“I feel that it’s important to keep communications open so that town members can make an informed decision. Keeping the communication open creates a better outlook for the towns future when everyone is informed,” Turgeon said.

Turgeon added she wants to keep Granby a farming community but with future amenities.

“We can still invite new businesses in town, there’s still plenty of room in the business district,” she said.

In closing, Turgeon said she would serve the role with pride and that the town’s history inspires her today.

“Preserving history helps us have a better understanding of where we come from and serves as a guide for the future. I feel deeply rooted and dedicated to the town,” Turgeon said.

To review the full speeches given by Selectboard candidates, as well as speeches for the other uncontested races on this year’s ballot visit the Granby Community Access & Media YouTube channel.