Gaudenzi wins school board seat

Residents of Wayne County hit the polls Tuesday to vote for the individuals they felt could do the job on the local level, but voter turnout wasn't that great. In fact, the percentage of Wayne County voters who came out to the polls was only 21 percent, even lower than what the municipal election usually brings. “It was a low turnout, but we also anticipated it to be,” said Cindy Furman, director of the Wayne County Bureau of Elections. She said that voter turnout for the municipal election is normally “between 30 and 35 percent.” She added that the local level election doesn't bring a large number of voters. For last year's Presidential election, only 67 percent of Wayne County voters showed up at the polls. Furman said a possible reason for low voter turnout is that there were a lot of uncontested races. “The places where there were more contested races had more of a turnout,” Furman said. There are also races throughout the county that don't have the results in yet. Furman said that is due to the write-in candidates. “We have to go over all the votes and count all the write-ins,” she said. She said that write-in candidate counting will begin Friday at 9 a.m. and it will “start with the first district and work the way through them all.” Voters voted either for or against retention for Justice of the Supreme Court. Max Baer received 73 percent yes and 26 percent no, and Ronald Castille received 67 percent yes and 32 percent no. For the race of Judge of the Superior Court Vic Stabile defeated Jack McVay by 66 percent of the vote versus 33 percent. Voters also voted either for or against retention for Judge of the Superior Court. Susan Gantman Gantman received 70 percent yes and 29 percent no, and Jack Panella received 68 percent yes and 31 percent no. The following are election results known at this point: Supervisor Berlin Township Charlie Gries, Jr. (D) defeated Steven Propst (R) by 241 to 208 votes. Clinton Township Ken Coles (R) defeated Robert H. Christman (D) by 294 to 138 votes. Lake Township 6 year term-Scottie Swingle (R) defeated Jerry Tregaskis (D) by 471 to 203 votes. 4 year term-Timothy Jaggars (R) defeated Joseph Gwozdziewycz (D) by 450 to 230 votes. Lehigh Township Protus E. Phillip (R) defeated David J. Boruta (D) by 246 to 225 votes. Mt. Pleasant Township Albert H. Wildenstein (R) defeated Jim Knapp (D) by 181 to 119 votes. Texas Township 6 year term-Allan Wickle (R) defeated Rick Southerton (D) by 214 to 76 votes. 4 year term-Paul Sprague (R) defeated Rick Southerton (D) by 203 to 79 votes. Note: Rick Southerton resigned as Texas Township supervisor prior to the election due to accepting a position in Honesdale Borough, but it was after the time frame that his name could be removed from the ballot. Tax Collector Berlin Township Brandy Freiermuth (D) defeated Linda Kelly (R) by 224 to 221 votes. Lehigh Township Eileen Kohn (D) defeated Diane Major (R) by 332 to 34 votes. Borough Council Hawley Borough 4 year term-vote for three: Michele Rojas (R), Ann Monaghan (R/D) and Marty Cox (D) were chosen, defeating John B. Robertson, Jr. (R) and Tiffany Rogers (D) by 106, 145, 134, 102 and 86 consecutively. 2 year term-vote for two: Mary C. Sanders (R) and Donal Kyzer (R) were chosen, defeating Jill C. Carletti (D) by 136, 116 and 102 votes consecutively. More results will be printed when they are available. Youngest member Among the contested races that took place was that of the Western Wayne School Board. Andrew J. (AJ) Gaudenzi and Donald McDonough were selected as members of the school board for Region I, defeating James Salak by 404, 345 and 300 votes consecutively. Gaudenzi is not only a first time candidate for school board, but is also the youngest member to be elected on the board. He is currently a member of the Waymart Borough Council. “It is a truly humbling experience to have earned the trust and support of so many,” Gaudenzi said. “In speaking with the people, I made it abundantly clear my top priorities were ensuring the best and safest education for our children while protecting the taxpayers of our district.” He added that the victory belongs “to the people, the community and the district.” “The people have elected and placed their trust in me to restore their true representation,” Gaudenz stated. “I will work tirelessly to make good and deliver the promise I made to them.” Gaudenzi dedicated a lot of time and effort into the campaign and shared what that was like. “Over this past year, I have run a grassroots campaign to reunite our community,” he said. “Having open and honest dialogue with the members of the community was imperative in the running of my campaign. I wanted the people to know that I would at all times place their best interest forward. I wanted them to understand why I entered this race and exactly what my principles are. The most important part was to converse with them and to speak about what their concerns were inside our district.” So what made Gaudenzi want to run for school board? “I entered the race for school director because I wanted to be a true voice for the people of our region and district,” he said. “The people of our district deserve a representative who remembers that I serve at their pleasure and won't forget who and why they elected me.” He also said he wanted to let people of the region and district know about his record as a Waymart Borough Councilman. “I ran on my record as being an advocate of the people of Waymart and I have attempted to save our people and borough money by negotiating lower gas and waste agreements while chairing our Utilities Committee,” he stated. “I have overseen and lead the charge in getting eight brand new light poles built inside the borough since November of 2012. I wanted to provide clear, concise evidence that my actions speak louder than my words. I'll do whatever it takes to help the people and our community.” Since Gaudenzi is the youngest member of the board, he hopes to “serve as a leader” for his generation. “I want to inspire those young adults to be engaged and active in our communities,” Gaudenzi said. “The introduction of new ideas and concepts will only work if they are practical. Common sense policies have gone by the way side and we need to restore those principles that the people know will work that will benefit all of us.” Because Borough Council members and School Board members are elected positions, Gaudenzi won't be able to do both. “I will continue serving the people of Waymart until sworn in as a School Director in December,” he stated. “State law will force me to resign from my seat on Waymart Borough Council prior to being sworn in. It will continue and has been such a pleasure to serve as a representative of my hometown and of our people! I am so thankful to the people for affording me this wonderful opportunity.”