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Town clerk has his first opponent in years -- a neighbor and friend

Boston Town Clerk David J. Shenk is facing his first political opponent in years -- upstart candidate Eileen Hopkins, who marched up to his front door and told him she was running against him.

Hopkins, who is making her first bid for elected office, says it was important to tell Shenk face-to-face because they are neighbors -- and friends.

Hopkins' personal announcement was, "a nice thing to do," Shenk said, and he appears to be taking her challenge in stride.

"When you hold an elective office, competition is what it's all about," he said.

If he wins and serves out another term, Shenk, 37, will have been the town clerk for nearly half his life.

Hopkins, 39, said it's been a long time since the residents of Boston have had a choice for town clerk, adding: "It's time for a fresh face."

She is endorsed by the Republican Party, while Shenk, the endorsed Democrat, also has the backing of the Independence, Conservative and Working Families parties.

Shenk touts his experience and cites a long list of accomplishments, including obtaining numerous grants to manage the town's records and modernize the office.

Hopkins has been the assistant court clerk for the town for the past seven years, and her husband, Brien, is finishing a four-year term on the Town Board.

In addition to town clerk, voters also will fill two seats on the Town Board.

The candidates are:

* Democrats -- Cathy Maghran, 52, a registered nurse and the school nurse for Boston Valley School, and James E. Pluta, 45, facilities director of OLV Homes of Charity and chief of the Patchin Fire Company.

* Republicans -- Dennis J. Mead, 47, a project manager for AT&T Research & Development Headquarters, and Edward A. Piazza, 41, a service engineer for Aqua Services.

Maghran, who is also endorsed by the Conservative and Independence parties, is making her first bid for public office but does not want "to play politics."

Maghran also says she hopes to preserve "the integrity of a small country town" and pledges "not to run for a second term if I haven't made a positive change."

Pluta, also endorsed by the Conservative and Working Families parties, is running because: "I am tired of nothing being done by our elected officials."

During the campaign he has stressed the need to control taxes and development, and to maintain and improve drainage in the town.

Mead, a 12-year incumbent, said he wants to continue efforts to reduce taxes and maintain the town's infrastructure. He also supports high-quality recreation programs and services to senior citizens. He also is endorsed by the Independence Party.

Piazza said he is running because, "After extensive community service and volunteerism, I feel that my passion for the Town of Boston and its residents, as well as my ability as a communicator, will prove to be valuable during this pivotal time in our rapidly changing community."

He also is endorsed by the Independence Party.


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