Two candidates are running for a seat on the Litchfield Select Board that opened when Tim Lachapelle was recalled from the post in a 167-50 vote on Dec. 21.

One of the candidates, Rayna Leibowitz, has served two previous terms on the Select Board and ran for re-election last spring, but was edged out in a three-way race with Lachapelle and Ken Lizotte, both newcomers to Litchfield town government.

The other candidate is Richard Swett, who did not respond to requests for comment for this article, but whose Facebook profile indicates he is a farmer at Hummingbird Hill Farm.

“This may be a foolish endeavor on my part, but I’ve decided to run for the open select-person’s seat in Litchfield,” Swett wrote in a Feb. 3 post on Facebook before asking friends to sign his nomination papers. “Many thanks to those of you that want more voting options on the ballot for the special election.”

The election for the open seat will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 7 at the Town Office.

Leibowitz and Swett are running for the open Select Board seat at a time of unrest in Litchfield.

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.

Last June, when 69-year-old Leibowitz was running for her third term on the Select Board, she polled 183 votes, while Lachapelle polled 195 and Lizotte 131. The seat has another two years on it.

Asked about the taste some Litchfield voters have expressed for change, Leibowitz said that she is always willing to hear from voters about their concerns and, if elected, will do whatever she can to respond to them. But Leibowitz also said that, during her last two terms on the Select Board, few citizens ever did approach 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 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

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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