Foster, Tolliver Win Council Seats; Cerino Re-elected (Updated)

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David Foster 

David Foster has been elected as Chestertown’s new First Ward councilman.

In the election Tuesday, Nov. 7, Foster received 135 votes to 104 for Owen Bailey and 38 for Bob Miller. While there are 25 absentee ballots outstanding, and one provisional ballot, the total is not enough to change the result.

Mayor Chris Cerino, running unopposed, received 344 votes. The Rev. Ellsworth Tolliver, running unopposed for the Third Ward Council seat, received 27 votes. A total of 379 voters turned out for the election, despite heavy rain for much of the afternoon and evening. Just before noon, 180 voters had come to the polls.

Foster, who has lived in Chestertown for 20 years, campaigned on his experience as an urban planner with extensive international experience. He has worked as an environmental advisor in Asia, and also served as Chester Riverkeeper after his move to Chestertown. He has called for more consistent long-range planning for the town, including a possible conference on the future of small towns at Washington College. Look for a more detailed report, including quotes from the candidates, in tomorrow’s Spy.

Foster replaces incumbent Councilwoman Liz Gross, who announced her retirement because of family medical issues. The new councilmen will take office at the first council meeting in January 2018.

Cerino, in a phone interview Wednesday, said he was pleased with the turnout for the election, especially considering that there were no state or national issues on the ballot and the inclement weather. He said he was glad there were “really good people running” in all the races. He expressed his thanks and respect for everyone who put themselves forward for office. “It’s really uplifting to know that people are willing to support me for another four years,” he said. “I congratulate the winners and look forward to working with everybody and finding out what their priorities are for their wards, so we can work together as a team for Chestertown.”

He said the town faces several major projects over the next few years, including the marina upgrades, which he said should show significant progress over the winter. “We still have a couple of years of work and fundraising left to do,” he added. Also, Cerino said he would like to work closer with Kent County to see the fiber-optic network extended into Chestertown. “It has a lot of potential to help in economic development in the community as a whole,” he said. Upgrading cell phone reception in the downtown area is also an issue that concerns both business owners and visitors, he said. Finally, he said, “I’d like to keep an eye on our finances, make sure we’re being responsible fiscally — really make sure we’re stretching every dollar as far as it will go and be responsible to our taxpayers.”

Bailey wrote in an email Thursday, “Though this is not the result I was seeking, congratulations to David Foster. It was a good campaign in which I learned a lot about myself, the town, and the issues we all face. I still plan to be involved in the Friends of the Kent County Public Library and the Chestertown Environmental Group as I remain invested in this community.”

Miller, in a phone interview Wednesday, said “David worked very hard — he deserves it. He’s been in town a long time and knows a lot of people and a lot about what’s going on. I’m really very excited for him.” Miller noted that he’s been in town less than two years, so running for office allowed him to meet a lot of new people. He described the campaign as “a gentleman’s race,” with no negative feeling among the candidates. “It should be an example to all political races,” he said, describing it as “about proposition, not opposition.” He said he felt his candidacy had “added value to the race,” allowing discussion of a wider range of ideas and issues.

Foster and the other candidates could not be reached for comments before press time Wednesday. We will add any comments we do receive after deadline.

Cheemoandia Blake, Kent County Election Director (L), and Jen Mulligan, Chestertown Town Clerk, check totals at the close of polls Tuesday as Robert Ortiz of the Chestertown Board of Election Supervisors observes.

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Letters to Editor

  1. John Hudson says:

    Congratulations are in order for Mayor Chris Cerino, Third Ward Rev. Ellsworth Tolliver, and First Ward David Foster.

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