League of Women Voters of Needham
2024 Voter Guide for Town Meeting Candidates

Candidates for Town Meeting

Candidates for Town Meeting are listed below, according to precinct. Each candidate has been asked to respond to the following question in 300 characters or less: What are the 3 highest priority issues facing the town? No editing to the candidates’ response is done by the LWVN except for style consistency. Responses will be posted prior to the election.

Candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot: Incumbents appear first, alphabetically, then new candidates are listed alphabetically.

A-8, B-9, B (1-yr)-1, C-8, D-9, E-10, F-11, G-9, H-10, I-12, J-12

Don’t know your precinct?  Look it up at WhereDoIVoteMA.com.


LANCE R. BROWN, 18 Webster Street (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

EMILY ROSE COOPER, 56 Lee Road (Candidate for re-election)
Shortage of diverse housing options at various price points; complying with the MBTA zoning guidelines; embracing differences among town residents

MARY E. KEANE-HAZZARD, 198 Webster Street (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

BRIAN M. MACKINTOSH, 50 John Street (Candidate for re-election)
Top priorities are implementing the MBTA Communities Act in a transparent and engaged manner (which is happening in my opinion); continuing to shore up our public buildings, especially near term school renovations, in a fiscally prudent way; and encouraging broad participation in our town.

KAREN B. SHAPIRO, 48 Taylor Street (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

IRWIN SILVERSTEIN, 44 Reservoir Avenue (Candidate for re-election)
Slowing down the tear-down practices so that the starter home stock can be conserved; renovating Pollard and Mitchell; increasing the use of renewable energy by residents and the town.

Increasing congestion and traffic; affordable housing for those working in Needham, fiscal concerns.

I am excited to move the town forward in this role. My priorities include future planning and preparedness (improving digital access & communications); sustainable, affordable, and accessible housing and transportation for all; cutting-edge educational access for all (infants to seniors).


ABBY B. BERNSTEIN, 4 Jarvis Circle (Candidate for re-election)
Enable people of all backgrounds to afford homes in our vibrant town. Promote social and racial justice, transparency, and community engagement in policing practices, supported by effective mental health services. Champion the expansion and preservation of green spaces, forests, and trails.

JOAN M. DAYA-DALY, 28 Sunset Road (Candidate for re-election)
-Housing: Increase diverse types of housing and compliance with the MBTA Communities Act
-School Infrastructure: Investment in Pollard/Mitchell Renovations; Theater Improvements
-Climate Change: Improve Town’s response to the changing climate through infrastructure and sustainability improvements.

ELIZABETH J. GRIMES, 12 Clarke Road (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

CLIFFORD OWEN HAYDEN, 12 Crescent Road (Candidate for re-election)
My top 3 priorities for the town are:
* Housing – this is going to be a major issue as we respond to the MBTA Communities Act
* Capital Budget – we continue to need to improve our buildings thoughtfully
* Large houses – lot coverage is too high

ERIC G. PRESSMAN, 33 Andrea Circle (Candidate for re-election)
* Responsible spending decisions for our upcoming school Infrastructure projects
* Common Sense zoning decisions in response MA MBTA zoning law
* Managing the growth of our town in a responsible way

GERALD C. ROVNER, 48 Cynthia Road (Candidate for re-election)
ReZoning to comply with the “MBTA statute”; Infrastructure; replacing antiquated schools

SARAH ANN TORAN, 945 Central Avenue (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

THOMAS CHIN, 865 Central Avenue, J305
The three highest priority issues facing Needham are more housing opportunities, climate action, and the need to diversify the candidate pool for Town Meeting Members, Town Boards, and Town Committees.

BRIAN WAYNE J. LeMAY, 11 Nardone Road
Zoning that fosters modest & affordable housing to permit young people starting out & older people downsizing to remain in their hometown. Planning that balances practical needs for shopping & business with more entertainment. Designs of public buildings & spaces that provide some charm & identity.



GILBERT W. COX JR., 865 Central Avenue, G402
No response received.


PETER A. ALPERT, 108 Locust Lane (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

BRIAN JAMES COLLINS, 120 Locust Lane (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

R. CYNTHIA LANDAU, 57 Pine Street (Candidate for re-election)
1. Modifying zoning laws to comply with new state regulations for multifamily housing within 1/2 mile radius of MBTA commuter rail stops. We should go beyond the minimum only after a broad town dialog and in-depth impact studies.
2. Affordable/deeply affordable housing. 3. Managing tear-downs.

SUSAN B. NECKES, 36 Gay Street (Candidate for re-election)
1. Diversify housing for greater affordability and meet MBTA Communities Act requirements
2. Execute School Master Plan beginning with Pollard to update our schools’ infrastructure; manage financial impacts working with MSBA
3. Implement strategies to address climate needs; improve our resilience

EDWARD M. QUINLAN, 100 Gay Street (Candidate for re-election)
1. FAR: Modifying the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) regulations regarding the allowable house size relative to lot size.
2. We need more Affordable Housing in the areas of town near mass transit
3. We need to be more aggressive in addressing climate change issues locally

REBECCA WABER, 15 Powder House Circle (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

LISA W. ZAPPALA, 379 Charles River Street (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

THEODORA K. EATON, 51 Bonwood Road
No response received.


JOSEPH ABRUZESE, 30 Bridle Trail Road (Candidate for re-election)
(1) Increase visibility and transparency to evaluations, negotiations, and decision-making processes on town boards.
(2) Ensure residents have their voices heard, not discounted, and incorporated into board decisions.
(3) Protect the character and attributes of Needham and its community.

JANET K. BAUM, 1 Southfield Court (Candidate for re-election)
Need to maintain and increase affordable housing to keep seniors in the community and encourage young families to move here
Plan for multiple family units including affordable units near commuter rail stops starting with zoning changes
Attract more small retail businesses to downtown Needham.

KATHRYN L. D’ADDESIO, 110 Linden Street (Candidate for re-election)
Storm water management-upgrade our drainage and infrastructure systems
Implement safe 4 public train crossings to establish quiet zones.
Support affordable multi-dwellings and create incentives and regulations that will generate more affordable sized single family houses for younger families.

DOROTHY H. DeSIMONE, 40 Linden Street (Candidate for re-election)
Fair and equitable housing allowing Needham to be inclusive of the needs of many; Protect open space, preserve our natural environment and seek to combat climate change; continue to provide an excellent education to students of all ages to protect their future and our democracy

JOSEPH J. LEGHORN, 40 Linden Street (Candidate for re-election)
Financial, environmental and infrastructure sustainability; increased and varied housing opportunities for all, including mixed use development in commercial areas that will further support local businesses; and maintaining Needham’s excellence in public education are my highest priorities.

STEVEN E. MOCK, 268 Marked Tree Road (Candidate for re-election)
1) Ensuring that we Preserve the character of Needham while promoting economic growth.
2) Addressing challenges of climate change.
3) Protecting the health and well-being of Needham’s youth.

CAROL L. B. PATEY, 32 Linden Street (Candidate for re-election)
Efficient and transparent government and an involved, informed citizenry are critical goals. My priority issues: (1) investing in high-quality education for all children, (2) implementing environmentally conscious policies, and (3) ensuring thoughtful and controlled development in Needham.

ROSS M. DONALD, 25 Chambers Street Unit H
HOUSING needs a diverse, affordable, natural, climate responsive, local context.
TOWN FUNCTIONS must be accessible, transparent, engaging re: trees, flooding, community development.
AFFLUENCE brings freedom, abundance, success but when gone wrong leads to poverty, discontent, envy, and resentment.

ERHARDT GRAEFF, 207 Maple Street
My priorities for Needham are: 1) quality, accessible education from preschool on; 2) affordable housing for our residents that provides options as residents’ needs change; and 3) sustainability, because climate change threatens the futures we want for our community, our children, and our planet.



EDWARD V. COSGROVE III, 17 Laurel Drive (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

AMY HURLEY, 130 South Street (Candidate for re-election)
1) ensure Needham implements the MBTA Communities Act in a collaborative way that explores going beyond the minimum requirement 2) pursue a school master plan that rebuilds Pollard and Mitchell in a timely and fiscally responsible way 3) continue climate action efforts to address global warming.

KEITH M. LaFACE, 504 Chestnut Street (Candidate for re-election)
Enable local enforcement for strict stormwater management
Quiet Zone Increase safety and stop horn noise to improve quality of life for many residents
MBTA Communities Act requires thoughtful consideration to increase housing
+Ensure safety & sense of belonging for all residents

WILLIAM J. PAULSON, 111 Sutton Road (Candidate for re-election)
* MBTA zoning – satisfy the requirement & keep the balance of school population, space, & staffing.
* Climate – Become more resilient vs weather extremes brought on by climate change.
* High Rock/Pollard/Mitchell – navigate the local & state process to build long-needed new buildings.

PAUL A. SIEGENTHALER, 1049 Webster Street (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

ANDREA J. WIZER, 7 Emerson Road (Candidate for re-election)
Housing is of greatest concern to me. We need to increase ethnic, racial and economic diversity through the current housing articles. We need to think creatively about school needs and the tax impact. Finally, we should increase walking, biking options and decrease our carbon footprint.

CYNTHIA J. WOLFE, 191 Fox Hill Road (Candidate for re-election)
Housing:create more affordable housing options; zoning changes to redevelop Linden-Chambers St community.
Education and infrastructure:maintain superior public education, complete Mitchell and Pollard projects cost effectively with minimal disruption
QuietZone: move forward, affects many in Pct E

MARGARET G. MURPHY, 88 Edgewater Drive
Needham has great schools and wonderful neighborhood ambiance. This needs to continue to be a priority. The Town needs to make some changes to its housing options, Climate change is taking its toll on the planet and Needham should do to its part to deal with the impacts.

NORDO NISSI IV, 450 Chestnut Street
My top priorities for Needham:
* Invest in our schools: modern facilities, top teachers, innovative programs.
* Protect homes & businesses: upgrade stormwater systems to prevent flood damage.
* Implement MBTA Communities Act thoughtfully: balance growth with preserving Needham’s charm.

Three priority issues I would seek to address: 1. Tree removal, by advocating for measures to preserve mature trees. 2. Over-development, by adopting measures that right-size new homes and right-scale any development. 3. Loss of historic homes, by exploring historic preservation measures.


RICHARD W. DAVIS, 233 Nehoiden Street (Candidate for re-election)
Manage Town Finances to maintain the highest financial rating and a most favorable bond rating.
Maintain excellent public school system with a quality physical plant and excellent teaching professionals
Identify alternatives for housing in Needham. Will require some change in zoning.

STEPHEN L. DORNBUSCH, 51 Damon Road (Candidate for re-election)
A priority is the Needham MBTA Housing Plan, which must address the housing shortage while at the same time providing what is best for the town. Another priority is the rebuilding plan for the schools. Finally, with changes, we must make sure Needham doesn’t lose its character, and core identity.

ROCHELLE E. GOLDIN, 68 Warren Street (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

LESLIE A. KALISH, 48 Lake Drive (Candidate for re-election)
Housing — Lack of affordable low- and middle-income housing.
Environment — Raise awareness and encourage action to mitigate the effects of climate change, including storm water drainage problems.
Education — Maintain high-quality educational programming and facilities.

ELIZABETH ANNE LEE, 42 Blacksmith Drive (Candidate for re-election)
1. Infrastructure – rebuilding Pollard and addressing other needs like the DPW facilities and drainage issues. 2. Housing and the MBTA Communities Act 3. Working to make Needham an open and comfortable place for all. Idea 3 is woven through all other priorities and work that TM takes on.

JOSEPH McCABE, 93 Garden Street (Candidate for re-election)
Housing: complying with the MBTA Communities Act; diversifying the housing stock. Environment: reducing plastic use; cutting carbon emissions, e.g., by adopting climate-friendly building codes.
Infrastructure: upgrading municipal properties; improving pedestrian, bike safety; supporting Quiet Zones

ADAM S. ZAFF, 134 Damon Road (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

PATRICK A. GATTO, 235 Garden Street
This candidate has announced his withdrawal from the Town Meeting Member race.

JEFFREY D. HELLER, 1092 Central Avenue
In my 27 years as TMM, I have advocated for reasonable zoning to ensure that housing be appropriate for lot size. I served on the Large House Study Committee and share the widely held view to update regulations. Proper planning to manage town assets and budget is essential for Needham’s future.

JACOB BUCK SHAPIRO, 68 Kingsbury Street
1. Funding our Schools: Providing schools with essential resources.
2. Inclusive Town Growth: Balancing Needham’s growth needs for both existing and new residents.
3. Community Well-Being: Enhancing quality of life through green spaces, reduction of noise pollution, and safer roads.

SARAH K. WOODS, 855 Great Plain Avenue
No response received.


RICHARD DEMEIS, 126 Powers Street (Candidate for re-election)
“Affordable housing” so our children can still live here if they want AND making sure seniors can still afford to live here in the face of rising taxes/cost of living.
Meeting environmental sustainability goals for the town and its residents.
Continue our successful inclusion/diversity efforts.

ABIGAIL JONES HAYS, 54 Coolidge Avenue (Candidate for re-election)
1 – School Master Plan – renovating/rebuilding Pollard and Mitchell and the tax override that will be required
2 – affordable housing – figuring out how to address a variety of housing options in town
3 – climate action – we need to act now to set the town up to survive warming temps & their fallout

SUSAN B. McGARVEY, 66 Upland Road (Candidate for re-election)
Need for affordable housing, need to reach sustainability goals, need to meet capital project goals.

ALISA M. SKATRUD, 49 Sargent Street (Candidate for re-election)
Tackling our housing issues to increase a variety of housing stock at different price points, supporting school building and maintenance initiatives that preserve our high-quality educational programs, and balancing quality of life concerns with responsible growth.

KAREN L. WALKER, 13 Webster Park (Candidate for re-election)
Increase both affordable and deeply affordable housing options. Continue Climate Action efforts. Establish reasonably priced supermarket in the town to feed all residents.

PAUL O’CONNOR, 108 Wilshire Park
I think the things most important to the future of Needham are preservation of the town’s debt rating, maintaining a high performance school system serving the needs of all students and dealing with the very real matter of climate change in an effective and practical manner.

STEPHEN PIELA, 10 Webster Park
Steve’s priorities include initiatives that promote enhanced safety measures for residents and businesses, environmental responsibility/sustainability, and efficient delivery of public services, particularly ensuring that the educational needs of students are adequately represented.

JAMES MARTIN VAN DYK, 535 Great Plain Avenue
Hi, I believe the 3 most important issues are 1. Responding to climate change (Including renewable energy, building codes, stormwater management, and reducing single use plastics). 2. Increasing affordable housing and the MBTA Communities Act. 3. School funding and upgrading our facilities.

DESIREE H. WALSH, 28 Eaton Road
Resident for 25 years
Raised 3 Needham High graduates
More affordable housing while maintaining integrity of our housing market.
More transparency /Inclusion in issues affecting all residents and that shape future of Needham
Making sure the education standards are the top priority in our schools


ILAN BARZILAY, 77 Thornton Road (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

JULIA SATTI COSENTINO, 265 Great Plain Avenue (Candidate for re-election)
Housing options that are affordable enough to allow new homeowners to move to Needham and empty nesters to stay in Needham; ensuring there are affordable services and ample amenities for our seniors; and creating opportunities for positive social, recreation and employment experiences for our youth.

MICHAEL A. DIENER, 30 Kenney Street (Candidate for re-election)
Long term fiscal sustainability through economic growth. Housing opportunities. Environment in a financially prudent way by taking advantage of technological advances.

KAREN ECKSTEIN HAN, 34 Grosvenor Road (Candidate for re-election)
I would prioritize the continued support of our public schools, solutions around affordable housing, and support of climate/sustainability initiatives.

KIMBERLY KNICKLE-TIERNEY, 206 Broad Meadow Road (Candidate for re-election)
Balancing the needs of families and older residents who want to remain in town; ensuring the preservation and accessibility of sustainable (green) spaces, and creating an environment which welcomes a diverse population

NANCY E. McCARTHY, 29 Sterling Road (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

KEVIN F. TIERNEY, 206 Broad Meadow Road (Candidate for re-election)
Environment–Need real progress on stormwater clean-up, carbon emissions limitation, and preserving open spaces. Equity–Make Needham more socioeconomically and racially diverse. Capital Investments-Implement the upcoming huge building/capital expenditures as efficiently and effectively as possible.

RICHARD A. ZIMBONE, 10 Woodbury Drive (Candidate for re-election)
1.) How to fund school upgrades/replacements for Pollard, Mitchell, etc.
2.) How to address the creation of affordable housing through changes in zoning (MBTA zoning requirements)
3.) How to control the projected doubling of property taxes within the next ten years due to needed capital expenditures

DONNA L. MEYER, 70 Whittier Road
I am a 27 year Needham resident, mom of 2 Needham High School graduates and an accounting professional. Will bring fresh ideas and a moderate and measured approach to issues facing Needham – diversity of housing, school quality and improving the transparency and accessibility of Town government.

Climate, Construction, and Community. Implementation of the Climate Action Road Map. Renovation of Needham’s Public Schools and Affordable Housing. Preservation of a welcoming downtown with an accessible Great Plain Ave redesign, support of small businesses, and diverse arts & culture programming.


LISA CHERBULIEZ, 17 Lindbergh Avenue (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

DAVID J. ECSEDY, 20 Holland Terrace (Candidate for re-election)
Continue the tradition of top-flight schools.
Support the town DPW including the RTS.
Public safety.

DAVID J. ESCALANTE, 103 Woodledge Road (Candidate for re-election)
School infrastructure – Precinct I has the oldest school in town. Improvements have continually been de-emphasized in favor of other projects.
MBTA rail in town center – state law demands increased density, but many voters say the train noise is a problem.
Keep housing affordable and taxes fair.

JILL C. KAHN-BOESEL, 44 Brookline Street (Candidate for re-election)
1. Increase housing afford. esp for folks starting out, Town employees, residents age 60+; redev’l Linden-Chambers; incentivize devel to build/rehab starter homes. 2. Work to improve stormwater management inc drainage system upgrade & revisit 2017 zoning regs. 3. Enhance downtown economic vitality.

JOSEPH S. MATTHEWS, 31 Rosemary Street (Candidate for re-election)
Housing market– maintain small/medium housing stock + encourage diversity
Rejuvenate center/heights– online shopping, pandemic, & other factors have sapped areas of vitality + led to underachieving tax base
Tree by-law– discourage unnecessary tree removal + encourage planting to help w/ flooding

ANNE W. WEINSTEIN, 3 Carey Road (Candidate for re-election)
1. Community Engagement. Grow multi-channel access to info to engage diverse voices committed to involvement inTown decision making. 2. Stormwater management. Leading proactive approach. Focus on climate resiliency and codifying evolving best practices. 3. Housing. affordable, access, MBTA comp.

REBECCA A. YOUNG, 1072 Highland Avenue (Candidate for re-election)
To increase more diverse housing opportunities that are sustainable for Needham.To deepen our community dialogue and actions to become a more diverse and equitable town for all. To ensure our school system can meet the ever changing needs of our students and to ensure resources for teachers.

Resident 19 years, 3 Public School students, Defense Attorney 30 years, Prosecutor 6 years, daughter of Cuban Immigrants. Will approach issues with a moderate perspective, a diverse background and a commitment to fairness. Priorities: Housing, Spending, Transparency and build engagement & awareness.

WILLIAM D. MAHONEY, 349 Brookline Street
In my opinion the three highest priority issues facing th town are Affordable Housing, Storm Management and Replacing the Mitchell School.

JENNIFER R. MEYERHARDT, 102 Birds Hill Avenue
Needham’s need to be in ongoing compliance with the MBTA communities law.
New contruction & zoning. Property rights vs envir concerns, diverity and affordabilty.
Stormwater management.. August 8, 2023 demonstrated that many homes in needham are suceptible to damage when a large storm hits.

MAGDA SCHMALZ, 32 Hoover Road
My highest priority issue is housing. I support more housing choice and more affordable housing. Maintaining quality schools is also a priority. Finally, flooding has become a major concern for many Needham residents. I believe that climate related concerns are connected to increased flooding.

MOLLY E. SILVERBERG, 55 Rybury Hillway
Resident for 9+ years. Two young children in elementary and pre-kindergarten. Highest priority issues include HOUSING, SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT and AWARENESS & COMMUNICATION. I have a fresh perspective to bring to Town meeting which fails to represent the younger population.


ROBERT E. DEUTSCH, 14 Highview Street (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

ELIZABETH NICOLE KAPONYA, 27 Highland Terrace (Candidate for re-election)
I want to protect Needham Heights from being overburdened by proposed development by the MBTA Communities Act/Law and the Muzzi redevelopment site. To that effect I am a Member of the HONE Committee – Needham Housing Advisory Group, and am seeking to minimize the effect it will have on us.

GEORGE F. KENT, 184 Richdale Road (Candidate for re-election)
Planning for Pollard and other school upgrades and how costs for these will be funded.
MBTA Multi-Family Housing – Zoning changes.. Review current zoning requirements to reduce tear downs.
As a long standing member of the PPBC, I will continue to use my experience to efficiently manage projects.

MICHAEL M. MATHIAS, 354 Webster Street (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

CHRISTINE S. McCOURT, 181 Richdale Road (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

DONNA M. MULLIN, 131 Paul Revere Road (Candidate for re-election)
Economic growth.
Public safety
Quality education

DEBRA A. WHITNEY, 36 Hunting Road (Candidate for re-election)
No response received.

MARSHALL S. DAVIS, 34 Concord Street
1. Affordable Housing/working to make Needham more affordable for families and seniors
2. Climate change/working to make Needham more climate resilient
3. Increasing recreational and open spaces

FRANCIS A. FLYNN 47 Mellen Street
Creative, affordable housing. Defending J from runaway mansionizing while supporting the MBTA communities Act.
Support the creative arts in our well regarded schools. Enhance this indicator of community health.
Expand and support recreation. Take every opportunity to acquire new conservation land.

AARTI SAWART-BASAK, 1 Paul Revere Road
Clean water, Cost-effective living for seniors, Nutritious, healthy, and sufficient meals for kids in Needham school

GILAD SKOLNICK, 33 Park Avenue
Top (realistic & achievable) priority issues are 1. Safer pedestrian infrastructure (ex. crosswalks & speed bumps) 2. Improved leisure facilities (ex. more playgrounds, public bathrooms, dog parks) 3. Making the town attractive to desired businesses (ex. bookstores, cafes, other small businesses)

JONATHAN D. TRAUB, 12 Alfreton Road
Thoughtful zoning changes, including a reasonable plan for compliance with the MBTA Communities Act. Support and promotion of local businesses. Ensuring a voice for young families of Needham to promote sustainable growth, including schools and education, public departments, and resident wellbeing.

Voting Information

Write-ins: Please contact the Town Clerk’s office at 781-455-7500 to express interest in becoming a write-in candidate and to learn more about a write-in candidacy. Should you wish to vote for someone who is not listed on the ballot, you may do so by writing the name and address of the person (substantially as it appears on the voting list) on the line titled “write-in space only” provided for each office on the ballot after the list of candidates. Don’t forget to fill in the oval next to the write-in line with the special pen.

Rides to the polls: As a voter service to Needham residents, the LWVN will offer rides to the polls on Election Day. Please call 781-343-1031 and leave a message to request a ride…please call at least 24 hours before; rides cannot be guaranteed if you call on Election Day.

Click on the post below for information about the April 9 election.