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Election update: More names in the hat for School Committee, Town Clerk Kaufman will run again

A voter walks into the polling place for Precinct 16 at the May 2, 2023 municipal election. Photo by Zoe Zekos
January 23, 2024  Updated January 24, 2024 at 1:12 a.m.
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Editor’s note: Stay tuned for more election coverage, including in-depth interviews and profiles of each candidate for town-wide office, later in the spring.

Two more residents have put themselves in the mix for seats on the town’s School Committee, making it a contested race with four total candidates now running for three seats in the May election.

Jesse Hefter, a Town Meeting member whose children and grandchildren have attended public schools in Brookline, announced earlier this month that he is running. On his campaign website, he said he will advocate for inclusive and quality education, aim to “foster a safe and nurturing environment where every student can thrive,” and build a culture of environmental responsibility at Brookline schools.

Carolyn Thall, a Town Meeting member and appointed member of the town’s Advisory Committee, has also taken out nomination papers from the town clerk’s office to run for a School Committee seat. Thall, who is also a parent of children in the Brookline schools and a former board member of the Brookline Education Foundation, has not formally announced her campaign yet. Thall also led last year’s unsuccessful campaign against the ballot question calling for an increase in property taxes to fund the rebuilding of the Pierce School.

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They join Select Board member Miriam Aschkenasy and former Brookline teacher Sarah Moghtader, who was appointed to a School Committee seat last year, in running for the three seats on the committee. Current member Natalia Linos is undecided about whether she will run for reelection, and chair David Pearlman is running for a seat on the Select Board instead. The committee has nine total members.

Read about more of the candidates for town-wide office here.

Kaufman running for reelection as clerk

Ben Kaufman, who has served as the town clerk since his election in 2021, said he plans to run for a second term.

“Especially for the 2024 presidential cycle, it’s going to be important to have experienced leadership in the clerk’s office,” Kaufman said in an interview. “I’m hoping that the people of Brookline continue to allow me to serve in this role.”

The clerk administers elections in the town of Brookline, and is also charged with maintaining public records, registering voters, and acting as a Justice of the Peace.

Kaufman said that there are a number of measures he plans to put in place, some mandated by state law, to ensure that the election for his position is run fairly and without any conflicts of interest.

Anything related to the election for the clerk position will be handled by an assistant clerk, he said. And any campaigning he does will be done outside of work hours, not using any municipal time or resources.

“As the election administrator, I will be creating a wall between my work and the work of the office of town clerk that’s going to be on the ballot,” Kaufman said.

So far, no other candidate has announced their intention to run for the position.

Brookline’s municipal election will take place on May 7, 2024.

Jeremy Margolis contributed reporting