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Ramsden Romps in Special Election for Barrington School Committee

Republican sweeps all eight voting districts to fill vacant seat.

Voters swept Republican Chris Ramsden onto the Barrington School Committee Tuesday.

Ramsden won all of Barrington's eight voting districts in the Special Election to replace Jim Hasenfus, the former School Committee chairman who resigned to seek a State Senate seat.

The final tally was Ramsden with 789 of the 1,441 ballots cast or 55 percent in an election believed to have one of the lowest turnouts ever in Barrington at least in part because of a mix of rain, sleet and snow that fell throughout the day.

The three-candidate race included Democrat Josh Berlinsky, who garnered 457 votes or 32 percent, and independent Joel Hellmann, who tallied 193 votes or 13 percent.

“I feel great,” said Ramsden at Billy’s Restaurant in the Maple Avenue Plaza, where Republican supporters gathered to celebrate. “This is a wonderful community and I had wonderful mentors.”

“I enjoyed the process,” said Ramsden, who won in his first bid for elective office.

Was he surprised by his sweep of every district?

“I really didn’t know how well I was doing,” he said. “I had no idea.”

Ramsden paid tribute to his two opponents. He said they pushed him and the Republican Town Committee to campaign as hard as they did.

The campaign included almost 1,000 phone calls made over the final weekend of the race to urge registered Republican voters to cast a ballot, said Chairman Steve Primiano. The last-weekend telephone blitz was the first done by the party in years, he said.

Berlinsky congratulated Ramsden. He was definitely disappointed in the final tally.

“You don’t run to come in second,” he said.

Berlinsky added that “I look forward to seeing how the School Committee will run over the next few years.”

Hellmann said he did not expect to win as an independent, so he couldn’t be too disappointed.

“I ran to get my message out,” he said. “I got my message out.”

Ramsden moved to Barrington 16 years ago with his wife, Meg, and two children. His daughter is a senior in high school; his son is a junior. His wife teaches 3 and 4 year olds at the Barrington Early Childhood Center.

Ramsden has been CEO of Millstone Medical Outsourcing in Fall River, Mass., and Memphis, Tenn., for almost seven years. He has lived in New England all his life, and graduated from Providence Country Day school in East Providence.

Ramsden holds an M.B.A. in finance and operations from Northwestern University and a B.A. in economics from Dartmouth College. He served in the Navy as a lieutenant and chief engineer.

He is expected to take his seat on the School Committee at Thursday night’s meeting. The agenda describes it as a “reorganizational meeting” with a new chairman to be elected.

With Ramsden’s win, the School Committee now includes three Republicans, including Scott Fuller, in his first term, and Patrick Guida, in his third term, and two Democrats, Robert Shea, the current chairman, and Kate Brody, in her first term.

 

 

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