Annie Gilbert to take second crack at Selectman

Photo Courtesy of Annie GilbertChairwoman of the Andover High School Facility Study Committee Annie Gilbert announced her decision last week to run as a candidate for the Board of Selectmen this spring during town elections.

Annie Gilbert tossed her hat back into the ring for Board of Selectmen last week.

Two seats will open on the Board of Selectmen this spring with the expiration of both Dan Kowalski and Bob Landry's terms on the board. 

A former School Committee chairwoman and the current chairwoman of the Andover High School Facility Committee, Gilbert announced her decision to run on Dec. 8.

"I bring the perspective of a 24-year resident and taxpayer with a deep investment in Andover’s future, in addition to years of experience in a variety of community roles," Gilbert said in a statement announcing her candidacy -- the second time she has run for the job. She lost narrowly to incumbent Alex Vispoli in 2016. "My husband Bob and I own two local businesses — the law firm Gilbert & Renton and the liquor store Andover Classic Wines. Our entire livelihood is centered downtown.  After spending the last 25 years raising our children, we are looking ahead to our next chapter and to what Andover can become, both for long-time residents with lasting community ties and for younger generations planting their own roots."


Gilbert took a shot at some members on the current board, saying she is running to bring "civil discourse" back to town politics.

"In Andover, we have many challenges before us," Gilbert said. "Rising taxes, long-term liabilities, and major capital projects on the horizon. If we want to work successfully to achieve our collective goals, we must be able to share our ideas and debate our differences without finger-pointing, divisiveness and personal attacks. ...  Its leadership is only as strong as its ability to respectfully and productively work together — with residents, with employees, and with one another."

Selectman Landry, one of the board members who's been accused of being somewhat rancorous, said he has made a decision about whether or not he will run, but won't announce until January. Kowalski could not be reached for comment.

Gilbert went on in her criticism, seemingly of Landry.

"We need people who will listen and represent the diverse voices of this community, not just drive forward their own personal agenda," she said. "I know from experience that there are so many talented people in Andover who would like to engage in productive and positive dialogue rather than point out what is wrong and who is to blame. As a community, we face challenges, but we also have tremendous opportunities, and I want to be part of an inclusive discussion that will drive solutions forward."

Gilbert is a Trustee of the Andover Village Improvement Society (AVIS), a Board Member to the Andover Coalition for Education (ACE), a Board Member of the Shawsheen Greenway, a Volunteer Guide and Researcher for the Andover Historical Society, a member of the League of Women Voters, and a member of the Andover Community Garden. 

She served six years on the School Building Committee that worked on the Bancroft School project and was also a member of the Bancroft School Improvement Council. She was a member of the Bancroft PTO Board, the Shawsheen PTO Board, and the Andover Parent-to-Parent Board. Lastly, Gilbert has also been a member of the Andover Chamber Music Board. 

 Andover’s 2018 Town Election will be held on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.

According to Town Clerk Lawrence Murphy, as of Dec. 8 only two candidates had submitted or pulled papers for the March 2018 town election beside Gilbert. Sheila Doherty submitted nomination papers for town Moderator, and Marilyn Fitzgerald pulled papers to run for a seat on the Greater Lawrence Technicial School Committee as well.  

Follow Kelsey Bode on Twitter @Kelsey_Bode.


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