Tewksbury Selectman Race Heats Up With Candidate Announcement

Bruce Panilaitis, a Foster Road resident, announced his intention to run in the April 5 town election on Sunday with a Facebook page.

Tewksbury Town Hall. Photo Credit: Patch File Photo.
Tewksbury Town Hall. Photo Credit: Patch File Photo.

While nomination papers won't be available at the Town Clerk's office until next Monday, the race for Tewksbury Board of Selectmen is already heating up with one candidate announcing his intention to run against incumbent Selectman Doug Sears. 

Bruce Panilaitis, a Foster Road resident, announced his intention to run in the April 5 town election on Sunday with a Facebook page.

Tewksbury residents will remember Panilaitis as an opponent of the proposed slots parlor that was defeated at an August Special Town Meeting.

Announcing his intention to run for Selectmen on Facebook, Panilaitis writes:

My wife and I have been very involved in town with the school system, youth sports, our church, and the town in general. After a whirlwind summer with our role in the slots debate, I have decided it is time to go from spectator to participant in our local government and will be pulling nomination papers on January 6th to get on the ballot in April 2014. I hope to earn your support and your vote to have the privilege to fill a seat on the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen.

Panilaitis was a vocal member of the grassroots group No Slots Tewksbury, who rallied against the proposed slots parlor at 300 Ames Pond Drive, citing increases in crime, depreciation in property values and negative impact on local business. 

The proposed slots parlor was defeated at an Aug. 20 Special Town Meeting by a vote of 1,568 votes against to 995 in favor.

There is only one seat up for grabs on the Board of Selectmen this time around, and it is expected Sears will run for reelection. 

Tewksbury town officials facing expiring terms in 2014 include Selectman Doug Sears, School Committee member Brian Dick, Library Trustees Robert Homeyer and Patrick J. Joyce, Board of Health member Charles J. Roux and Housing Authority member Louise A. Gearty.

Planning Board member Vincent Spada also faces an expiring term, but has announced he does not plan to seek reelection. 

Town Moderator Keith Rauseo also faces an expiring term in 2014, but announced at an October Special Town Meeting that he would not seek reelection

Ronald December 30, 2013 at 06:49 PM
Don't bring me down.... Bruce! Tewksbury needed the slot parlor we don't need Bruc.
Bob Rauseo December 30, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Congratulations on your decision to run. You have my support.
Wayne Knight December 31, 2013 at 08:18 AM
I will vote for the slot-hater over the firemen-hater every time.
Bubba Gum December 31, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Congratulations Bruce! You have our support!
Simon Cowell December 31, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Bruce is a quality candidate and will be a great selectman.
Donna Marie Robitaille December 31, 2013 at 01:46 PM
I do not know Bruce but already this upcoming election appears to be a candidate and supporters who didnt want the slots parlor, with a plan to unseat a selectman...whom did right to examine the idea of having a casino development in Tewksbury. Also, it was not Mr.Sears fault that the Town of Tewksbury had not been able to meet the needs of our community by closing the South St. Fire Station. Our first response teams were compromised by All town officials for too long. It seems to me that we,the citizens of this community,also put the burden of response time on our police and fire depts. by accepting closing South St.Station from the time Town Manager Cressman and company did so. Again I strongly state Closed South Fire Station was not Doug Sears baby. Lets have a clean election based on good ideas for Tewksbury. I love this town and it is because of a deep concern for our future community that I will throw my hat in the race ...if Doug Sears chooses not to seek re election. Perhaps, there can be a contest where candidates emerge for all the right reasons..to participate in town government with sincere interests to bring quality leadership to the residents of Tewksbury.
Bruce Panilaitis December 31, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Hi Donna, Everything you wrote is well said. I am not running because of the no slots issue. That was an important debate in our town, and I was certainly an active and vocal opponent against the slots parlor, but that issue is done. I am running because I decided that it was time for me to stop being a spectator in the process, and instead lend my energy and expertise to improving our community. I am not running against Doug Sears or anyone else, I am running FOR a seat on the Board of Selectmen, and an opportunity to work for this town that my family and I have become invested in since we moved here in 2000. I would be happy to sit down and talk with you about my motivations and goals for this campaign, but I want to assure you that this is about moving Tewksbury forward, not looking back on an issue that is past.
EMA December 31, 2013 at 07:26 PM
You have my vote, Bruce!
Tewksbury2001 December 31, 2013 at 09:47 PM
You were at odds with the entire board of selectman all summer. If elected how will you work with the other Board members?
Clearly ! Let us not loose site of the bill that everyone of us Tax payers received in today's mail.......... What does everyone think of now that we passed up an opportunity and said "no" to the slots of Penn National --- a solid guaranty of $4million yes $4million dollars every year forever. Now we all have to dig deep into our pockets and come up with the money. How does everyone feel about it now. ?????That is in addition to all the new buildings that this town is planning to remodel. and a Happy" Poor" Year to you.
Gordon Pickguard January 01, 2014 at 02:55 AM
Why would anyone vote for the guy who has already demonstrated so clearly to that economic development in Tewksbury must conform to his personal moral and ethical code ? I don't need or appreciate others making those decisions for me and my wallet. Bruce just tell me who is going to develop those 30 acres now and how do you propose to put an end to the never ending tax increases ?
Tewksbury2001 January 01, 2014 at 06:11 AM
@Bonnie- Also did you notice the water bills. I had thought they went way down but then I realized instead of 2 bills per year they broke it up into 3.
EMA January 01, 2014 at 06:27 AM
If you hadn't noticed, Bonnie, 2/3 of the voters at the town meeting said NO to the zoning change for the casino. Move on.
Donna Marie Robitaille January 01, 2014 at 07:05 AM
Bruce,thankyou for reaching out to me regarding my concerns for this upcoming election. I will not fault your sincere opposition to a slots parlor in Tewksbury. It is a great relief to hear you do not intend to run for just that reason. However,i do believe the discussion will continue from both sides of the issue. The bottom line in all of the casino commotion is The Town of Tewksbury was being offered a lousy million dollars. Three million taxes We are entitled to. I agree on the No Casino vote because of that fact. Again, I suggest the Town of Tewksbury incorporate into our master zoning plan..ways to get more than just tax dollars from future development. And for clarification on my outburst against town officials and citizens regarding the closing of South Fire Station..Our first responders have never allowed things to fall apart through those bogus decisions to shut down the emergency response for this community. Mutual aid was always there from Wilmington. Tewksbury Fire And Police accepted this downfall with respect. Tewksbury Police and Fire never had a bad word to say about their burdens to serve us. I am proud to be from Tewksbury. Through it all,we remain a strong vibrant smart community. Lets continue the fight to figure out how to get the most we can from future development ,so needed services are never destroyed again. HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL THE BEST to the Town of Tewksbury.
Simon Cowell January 01, 2014 at 10:02 AM
Tewksbury2001, you seem to be of the opinion that the entire board must work togerther and be one voice. I would rather have representation for all citizens. This is done when multiple viewpoints are represented on the BOS. Bruce will accomplish this. The casino whining must stop. The vast majority of citizens voted it down. And spare me the "if it had gone to a ballot" rant, it would have lost there as well. People get to have a say in how they want their community to be. The people didnt want it. Now move on.
Tewksbury2001 January 01, 2014 at 11:53 AM
@Simon- That is not what I said. Re-read it. It is a legitimate question.
mike monahan January 01, 2014 at 02:25 PM
Having someone on a Board who offers different opinions and viewpoints should be welcomed. The slot parlor is history. Let's focus on what opportunities are ahead. I feel that Bruce will be a valuable addition to the Town Government.
Bruce Panilaitis January 01, 2014 at 03:27 PM
I think it is more productive to talk directly to people on complex issues, so if anyone would like to discuss some of the issues brought up here, please send an email to me at bruce@panilaitis4selectman.com and I'll be happy to meet with you or have a phone conversation. That being said, I just wanted to respond to "Tewksbury2001" who wrote: "You were at odds with the entire board of selectman all summer. If elected how will you work with the other Board members?" To that question I will simply say I was never at odds with the BoS. I disagreed with a proposal for the town, not with the selectmen personally (see this blog post: http://tewksbury.patch.com/groups/stuff/p/support-the-selectman-but-vote-down-the-slots). A few weeks after the slots vote I invited Scott Wilson and Jim Wentworth to come and volunteer to sit in a dunk tank for my church's family picnic and field day. They came, we all had a good laugh trying to knock each other in. Scott even brought one of those green "Yes for Tewksbury" shirts and hung it over the dunk tank to give me extra incentive to dunk him. Together, along with Krissy Polimeno and our church's pastor Jonathan Goodell, we helped raise almost $1,000 for the Tewksbury Food Pantry. Should I earn enough votes to become a member of the Board of Selectmen I am sure we will disagree at times on the issues, but any debate I am a part of will be based in facts and will be respectful.
Christian Panasuk January 06, 2014 at 10:02 AM
Thank you to any community member who has the time and passion to volunteer to serve our town. Bruce has shown that his commitment to the organizations and town service opportunities over the past ten+ years have been well-served. I welcome his name on the ballot, and look forward to hearing more about his views on all types of town issues.
Lorna Garey January 06, 2014 at 04:44 PM
To be clear, most of the people against the slots proposal didn't have some big ethical beef. They just understood that Tewksbury deserves clean, high-quality businesses that will bring high-paying jobs -- NOT minimum-wage jobs while clogging up our streets with traffic and increasing crime. Just for the record. Oh, and for those thinking we'd be rolling in dough, check out how Foxwoods is LOOKING FOR A GOVERNMENT BAILOUT! Yes, you read that right. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/27/indian-tribes-seek-federal-bailout-money-casinos/
Jon January 06, 2014 at 11:08 PM
Congratulations Bruce on your decision...You have my vote!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something