The Recorder – Hawley election to bring in new school board members, race for Selectboard

HAWLEY — Ashley Harrison is challenging incumbent Hussain Hamdan for a three-year draft position in the only contested race in this year’s election, scheduled for Monday.

Polls will be open from 11:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. at City Hall, 8 Pudding Hollow Road.

Williams Cosby is running for the one-year Selectboard seat held by Bob Root, who is not seeking re-election.

Additionally, with the resignations of school board members from the Hawlemont Regional School District, three new candidates are seeking election to the three seats on the Hawley School Board.

Hussein Hamdan

Hussain Hamdan served six years on Hawley’s Selectboard, five of them as chairman, and he said many people have asked him to stand again.

“Our city government is a good team that works well together,” he wrote in a candidate statement released in the city’s e-newsletter. “I enjoy engaging with other board members, staff, citizens and state officials. I also enjoy being a firefighter/EMT with Hawley Emergency Services, a group of truly exceptional volunteers.

Hamdan wrote that Hawley has seen a significant turnover recently.

“Our long-time administrative assistant, Cass Nawrocki, retired last year. Fellow manager Bob Root is retiring in May meaning two seats on the Selectboard are now up for grabs,” he wrote. “I am grateful to Cass and Bob for their service. I am also aware that we are losing a lot of institutional memory all of a sudden. My time on the board means I provide continuity. I know the current projects. I know people at the state and regional levels. I have the institutional memory Hawley needs to move smoothly.

Hamdan also said his legal knowledge as a practicing lawyer and his 11 years of service in local government are valuable assets.

Ashley Harrison

Ashley Harrison grew up in Cummington and moved to Hawley 11 years ago. She and her husband bought her childhood home, where they now raise their two daughters.

For the past 12 years, Harrison has worked for construction companies in a variety of roles – including budgeting and purchasing – within their finance teams, and she believes this experience will help the city meet its building needs. constant evolution.

“I am running for the Selectboard in hopes that I can bring the concerns of city residents to a central forum, in which the Selectboard can work toward a solution that takes into consideration the needs of the city,” Harrison wrote. “I will work to find alternative and additional solutions to the issues we face, such as the continued need to improve infrastructure, such as roads, our schools and other services within the city and local community… while working to preserve this little town we all love.”

Williams Cosby

Williams Cosby’s family has been in Hawley since 1919, when his grandfather, Gordon Parker, purchased a woodlot on Forge Hill. The Parker family built Singing Brook Farm in the years that followed. Cosby is co-manager of the family business which owns rental homes and sells wood products. He and his wife, Lisa, moved to town full-time in 2014.

He said he has volunteered on several boards in his adult life, including the town’s Conservation Commission since 2014. He is currently a Hawley Green Communities Advisor to the Selectboard.

“We managed to make the city net zero for electrical use by acquiring two solar panel systems, one on the roof of the city garage and one at the fire station,” he wrote. “We have converted bulbs to LED in all buildings in the city, upgraded wiring in two buildings, added new mini-splits for heating and air conditioning in the city office, added a wood pellet furnace in the garage of the city and added insulation to the attic at the municipal office.All of these improvements have cost the taxpayers nothing.

Cosby is also the lead team leader for the City’s Vulnerability Plan, looking at ways the city can reduce its vulnerability to weather-related hazards, like what happened to Hawley during Tropical Storm Irene, which caused significant damage. infrastructure.

School committee candidate Ken Bertsch

Ken Bertsch grew up in Michigan, where his father was a public school teacher and his mother a nurse. He has had a home in Hawley since 1985 and retired to the town in 2020.

Bertsch’s employment had focused on corporate governance and included roles at financial firms (including TIAA and Morgan Stanley) and investor information providers (including Moody’s Investors Service). He also led two non-profit organizations, the Council of Institutional Investors and the Society for Corporate Governance).

“I believe Hawlemont has been an outstanding primary school for many years, a community asset that we must do everything we can to preserve. We are blessed with strong teachers and staff and unusual attributes including the amazing HAY (Hawlemont, Agriculture and You) curriculum,” he wrote. “I also believe that the elementary school is essential to the vitality of Charlemont and western Franklin County.

Peggy Travers, candidate for the school committee

Peggy Travers and her husband retired and moved to Hawley from Buckinghamshire, England five years ago.

“This move marked many changes in our lives and launched our farm plan, but for me it also meant the end of a 36-year full-time career in primary education,” she said. writing. “For six of those years I was in administrative positions, but for all the others I was either a classroom teacher or a teacher-librarian. My first 14 years were spent in American public schools in Georgia, and once abroad, I taught at international schools in Munich and London.

“It may all seem like a variety of roles and locations,” she continued, “but teachers and instructional leaders everywhere share the same goals and receive the same satisfaction from seeing students thrive.”

Travers said she respects the work of public schools and believes in their mission to meet the educational needs of every child.

“That alone is a huge undertaking because these needs are so varied,” she wrote.

Liz Billings, candidate for the school committee and candidate for the position of city clerk

Liz Billings became involved in the Hawlemont community when her daughter started kindergarten there this year.

“Hearing about the difficulties the school is facing and my love for its students, teachers and staff, I am running to serve on the Hawlemont School Committee,” she wrote. “As a parent, volunteer and substitute teacher at Hawlemont, I believe serving on the committee is another way to help guide the future of the school.”

Billings is also running for election as full city clerk, having been nominated in December to succeed Pamela Shrimpton, who stepped down after nine years on the job.

“I love the work and I enjoyed meeting my community,” she wrote. “I would really like to continue serving Hawley as town clerk.”

Other positions

Ed Brady is running for a three-year term as Assessor.

Kirby “Lark” Thwing is the outgoing moderator and although he is not officially running for the position on the ballot, he has indicated that he would be happy to be listed, according to the Hawley Town Bulletin. The same goes for outgoing auditor Carla Clark.

A vacant three-year seat as a non-parent member of the Hawlemont Local Board of Education is up for grabs. Suzanne Crawford is ready to be written.

Contact Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.