LUDLOW — With a 22% voter turnout, incumbents bested their challengers in contested races for Board of Selectmen and School Committee during the annual town election on March 25. A number of other candidates ran unopposed for their respective posts.

Current Board of Selectmen members Manuel Silva and James Gennette will each serve another three-year term after defeating community member and businessman Alex Montagna and Ludlow Police Chief Daniel Valadas, who were attempting to unseat them.

Silva and Gennette received 1,471 and 1,464 votes to Montagna’s 1,392 and Valadas’ 1,354 after the ballots were tallied.

“It’s humbling to be reelected,” Gennette said. “There is a sense of validation when enough residents believe in you to have you continue working. And for those that did not vote for me, I will try my hardest to earn your support this term.”

Montagna meanwhile, acknowledged the close margin and offered his thanks to all the candidates for a very well-run race.

“I am heartened to see the response for my first run for office; coming within 73 votes was a remarkable showing and I want to thank all my supporters. I would like them to know that I am not going anywhere,” he said. “I still see a possible future Ludlow with new leadership that is focused on supporting our schools and communities.”

Gennette, who said he was encouraged to see more candidates and voters getting involved, described voter turnout as “better than normal,” adding that he finds that “voting on Monday instead of a Tuesday, and in March instead of November has some voters missing their opportunity to cast their ballot.” He also said that he is among many residents who believe the time elections take place needs to change.

Valadas told Reminder Publishing in a statement, “I want to thank every town voter who voted last Monday, and I congratulate Mr. Silva and Mr. Gennette on their reelections. It’s a privilege and an honor to serve Ludlow as it’s chief of police. Ultimately, I believe that’s where the voters want me to continue my public service.”

In the race for School Committee, current Chair Sarah Bowler defeated challenger Isabel Soares, a longtime Ludlow resident.

Bowler, who strongly overcame her opponent with 2,108 votes to 1,270 for Soares, acknowledged the community involvement in the election and vowed to continue her efforts.

“I am excited that the voters of the town of Ludlow have sent me back to my seat on the School Committee,” she said. “We had a strong voter turnout for a local election and the voters used their voices. I will continue to work hard to ensure the students and teachers are in an environment that is safe, inclusive and provides our students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed once they leave our halls.”

The remaining town races throughout the six precincts ran uncontested.

Respectively, Planning Board, Board of Health and Board of Assessors candidates Christopher Coelho, Kelly Lamas and Antonio Rosa kept their seats while Ruth Saunders won unopposed for Trustee of Hubbard Memorial Library.

In total, 3,488 ballots were cast out of 15,698 registered voters. Fifteen percent of votes were cast on election day with the remaining 7% cast by early mail-in voting.

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