Keane, Levy Secure Select Board Seats

April 10, 2024
• Despite a strong turnout for a local election, Tuesday’s race was decided by fewer than 200 votes.

Incumbent Kevin Keane earned 3,203 votes, while Finance Committee member Josh Levy came in second with 2,564 votes, according to unofficial results from the town clerk’s office. Human Rights Committee Chair and business owner Tina Burgos lost her bid for office, receiving 2,412 votes. Keane and Levy will serve for the next three years. Levy will vacate his position on the Finance Committee.

Of the more than 24,000 registered voters, nearly 5,000 cast their ballots, resulting in a total voter turnout of about 20%. About 3,800 people returned mail-in ballots this year, Town Clerk Tedi Eaton said Tuesday.

Select Board candidate Josh Levy holds his campaign sign outside Town Hall. (Cameron Morsberger)

Levy, a 13-year Town Meeting member, coincidentally spent part of his morning alongside Keane and Burgos at Newman Elementary School. While outside Town Hall, Levy said he received lots of thumbs ups, hand waves and honks throughout the day.

Levy previously ran for a Select Board seat in last year’s election, when he lost to Chair Marianne Cooley and Cathy Dowd. This time around, things were different.

“I thank everyone for coming out,” Levy said. “It’s been such amazing support and amazing enthusiasm.”

Keane voted at Town Hall as soon as they opened and jumped between polling locations during the day, breaking briefly for a ribbon-cutting at McLeod Field and a road design meeting.

At the Needham Golf Club later in the afternoon, Keane said the day was “all adrenaline.”

Select Board member Kevin Keane holds his campaign sign outside the Needham Golf Club. (Cameron Morsberger)

“It was a great campaign. It was really interesting,” Keane said. “I would say all of us got along really well, with all the forums and debates, and I think we were all very cordial.”

With the new board in place, Keane will likely be voted chair. He now is the second senior-most member, behind Cooley.

At the opening of the polls, Burgos stationed outside the Rosemary Recreation Complex to catch early risers casting their ballots. Burgos owns Newton clothing boutique Covet + Lou, which was formerly located in Needham, and expressed the need for a small business perspective on the board during her campaign.

She shared her commitment to remain engaged in the town, regardless of the election outcome.

Select Board candidate Tina Burgos holds her campaign sign outside Newman Elementary School. (Cameron Morsberger)

“It’s been a really great experience and opportunity to talk to so many people within the community, particularly considering this was my first stab at elected office, the level of respect has been tremendous,” Burgos said. “I am very thankful to the community of Needham for giving me the grace to run the election that I wanted to run.”

Keith LaFace, a Town Meeting member who aided the Keane and Burgos campaigns, signaled his support for both candidates outside the Needham Golf Club. He held both their signs, as well as his own for reelection to Town Meeting.

LaFace said he appreciates Keane’s work on stormwater maintenance in town and feels maintaining some seniority on the board is important, given all the institutional knowledge that comes with serving.

“Kevin has done, I think, a lot of good work for the town, and I think he has a lot of things that he wants to continue working on,” LaFace said. “So I think he’s the right person for the job, too.”

Residents hold campaign signs outside the Needham Golf Club during the April 9th election. (Cameron Morsberger)

Planning Board member Artie Crocker held signs for Levy across town and was a vocal advocate for his election. At Town Hall Tuesday afternoon, Crocker said Levy’s involvement in the town, starting in his 20s as a Town Meeting member, illustrates his passion for local politics. In his view, Levy isn’t afraid to ask questions, Crocker said, and his experience on the Finance Committee will add an vital perspective to the board.

Levy’s support for arts funding also helped secure Crocker’s vote, he said.

“He’s smart guy, thoughtful guy, he listens,” Crocker said. “He’s a musician, which is big in my book.”

In the only other contested board race, Needham Housing Coalition member Jim Flanagan beat out Linden-Chambers resident Ross Donald for a five-year term on the Needham Housing Authority. Flanagan earned 2,543 votes to Donald’s 1,018 votes, according to unofficial results from the town clerk’s office.

School Committee Vice Chair Liz Lee and member Mike O’Brien retained their seats, and Town Meeting member Justin McCullen will join the Planning Board, after securing the uncontested seat. Louise Miller, formerly chair of the Finance Committee, will be the new town clerk, taking over for Eaton.

Two open seats on the Trustees of the Needham Public Library went to current Chair Jay Fialkov and newcomer Joshua Small, and residents elected Aarti Sawart-Basak and reelected Robert Partridge to the Board of Health.

Eight of the 10 Town Meeting precincts were contested this year, with 12 candidates competing for eight seats in Precincts I and J.

The town also voted to remove the Needham Fire Department from Civil Service.

For more information on the election visit the town clerk’s page of the town website.

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