By Andy McKeever On: 08:44PM / Tuesday October 15, 2013
Henry 'Hank' Sayers won the special election for the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Henry "Hank" Sayers came out the winner in Tuesday's special election to fill a vacant seat on the Board of Selectmen.
Sayers polled 270 votes; his opponent, Barbara Hassan polled 217.
The election was held to replace Robert Barton, who stepped down to run for School Committee but too late to put the seat on the ballot for the annual town election.
The turnout was 487 registered voters, out of 2231, or 22 percent, high for one race in a special election. The split was 55 percent for Sayers, 45 for Hassan.
The high turnout was the talk of those gathered for the results. Both Town Clerk Ruth Knysh and Selectmen Chairman John Goerlach said they were impressed with the number of voters who made it to the polls.
In contrast, in the June regular election, only 564 votes were cast for the two candidates seeking one selectman seat in that election. That election not only included voters for the special statewide U.S. Senate race but also various town seats.
Both candidates in this election are well known and have long-standing connections and roots within the community. Sayers owns Sayers Auto Wrecking and Hassan operates Barbara Hassan Realty and both have worked closely with town leaders.
"She was a good candidate," said Sayers. "We did our best. Thanks to the supporters, voters... I'm going to try to do my best."
Barbara Hassan outside of Town Hall on election day campaigning for votes.
Sayers said he was ready to "hit the ground running" when he takes over the seat. Sayers campaigned on trying to lower the tax rate by finding ways to do more with less.
He has strong connections with many town departments and pledged to be fair in resolving issues fairly and quickly.
On Tuesday, Sayers spent the day with his family campaigning outside of Town Hall.
Hassan boasted her knowledge of town issues and business aptitude from years of working as a real estate agent in town. She has been involved in various town subcommittees and regularly attends Selectmen and other government meetings.
"Although I would have loved to have won this race I feel great on how my campaign was run," Hassan said in a statement following the election. "I had great support from my husband in getting my signs out and his moral support was outstanding. Many of our family, friends and acquaintances that I've known in town were wonderful in their support and I thank them all."
During the day on Tuesday, Hassan said no matter what happened, she would continue to play an active role in town government. During the campaign she "got a laundry list of 'to do' items" from citizens and she will now pass those along to the sitting selectmen, she said.
"No regrets and as always I'll be back at town hall working on the Town Services Study Committee with the task of combining the Highway and Water Departments into a new DPW along with any other projects that I am asked to help out with," she said.
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