Norton Middle School

Norton Middle School

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NORTON — Megan Artz is the town’s newest member of the select board.

Artz, who lives on Reservoir Street, easily won over challenger Frank Parker of Allen Drive, 1,003 votes to 590 votes, in Saturday’s special town election to fill a vacancy on the board.

Both candidates were making their first run for public office.

“I’m thrilled the residents of Norton believed in me and that I would do the best I said I would do, and hopefully bring some positive change to town” Artz said.

For a first-time run, Parker said he didn’t know quite what to expect.

“I did the best to get my message out but the people have spoken,” Parker said.

Artz replaces Michael Flaherty, who recently resigned after moving to Mansfield.

The seat is up for re-election next spring.

It was a fairly slow day at the Norton Middle School polls as many voted by mail because of coronavirus concerns.

The town clerk’s office had received over 700 mail ballots, not including over 100 absentee ballots.

A total of 1,608 or just under 12 percent of the town’s 13,594 registered voters cast ballots.

“I thought it was pretty good,” Town Clerk Lucia Longhurst said of the turnout, given the fact there was only one office up for a vote and the coronavirus still circulating around.

Artz, a mother of three children, has lived in town 18 years and served on the historical commission several years ago. She worked as director of development at Harvard for a dozen years, leaving in May.

Her background is fundraising, saying she has helped raised millions of dollars for nonprofits.

Artz cited her negotiating ability, and said she wants to help bring together what she views as a divided town that she believes is at a crossroads to be successful.

Parker, who lived in town a decade, had served on the cultural commission when he lived in Oxford.

A product manager for a software company in Newton, Parker highlighted work the current select board has been doing and hoped to continue that “momentum” and help board members achieve their goals.

Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.

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