Rayna Leibowitz won election to the Litchfield Select Board on Tuesday during a special election to fill the seat, which has been open since Tim Lachapelle was recalled in December.
Leibowitz received 168 votes in the election, according to results provided by Deputy Town Clerk Lezley Sturtevant. Her competitor, local farmer Richard Swett, received 110 votes.
Leibowitz has served two previous terms on the Select Board, but she lost her seat last spring in a close three-way race against Lachapelle and Ken Lizotte, both newcomers to Litchfield town government.
Two years remain of the term Leibowitz, who is 69, will now fill. She returns to the position at a time when some Litchfield voters have expressed frustration with longer-serving town officials.
Lachapelle narrowly won the election last spring after pledging to shake things up in town government. Among his vows were that he was going to make local government more transparent and try to expand the number of selectmen from three to five. But he was recalled from his post after publicly accusing numerous local officials of malfeasance — accusations they have denied.
In an interview last month, Leibowitz said she welcomed any voters to come to her with their concerns.
“I have always been very open to dialogue about what things they would like to see,” Leibowitz said. “I would be delighted to have a citizen or a group of citizens talk to me about the change they’d like to see. Never have I not been willing to listen.”
Leibowitz also said she’s qualified for the position because of her past experience in town government, her fiscal restraint and her family’s deep roots in Litchfield. She is retired after a 43-year career of working for the state, including 23 years at the Maine Emergency Management Agency.
“I’m very concerned that the taxpayers get what they are entitled to and deserve in as fiscally conservative a manner as possible,” she said. “I’m a very fiscally conservative person, but I also recognize that sometimes it’s important to spend money to avoid spending more money later. My background has taught me to gather all information possible on any given decision, evaluate what information I’ve got and use my experience and judgment to make the best decisions for taxpayers.”
In the short term, Leibowitz said, one big challenge for the town will be finding room in the budget to handle the mounting costs of snow removal this winter.
Charles Eichacker — 621-5642