Polland wins third term from Oakland voters
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Rick Polland says he feels "great" about his election win and is ready to get back to work for Oaklanders.
The Town of Oakland held an election Tuesday to choose a town commissioner for the first time in 16 years. And Oaklanders decided to stick with who they knew. Town Commissioner Rick Polland, 65, was elected for Seat 1 with 71.2 percent of the vote. Turnout was 13.33 percent.
Although this is Polland’s third term, Tuesday's election marked the first time he was actually elected to office. He was appointed in 2012 to fill out Commissioner Ramona Phipps’ remaining term when she stepped down. He then ran unopposed in 2014 and 2018.
There are 2,776 eligible voters in Oakland. A total of 368 ballots were cast, with 262 for Polland and 106 for his opponent Matthew Bunevich.
Polland told VoxPopuli via text that he felt "great" and that he was ready to get back to doing the work of the people of Oakland.
Bunevich seemed unfazed by his loss. "I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I learned. I will be involved because I do think there's stuff we have to address no matter what."
Bunevich, who works as a liaison between 7-Eleven store franchisees and the corporation, was a virtual unknown who stunned Oakland when he qualified for the Seat 1 race in January, triggering the first town commission election in 16 years. At times the race got intense, a few residents described it as "ugly."
Jason Simmes, moderator of the Facebook group We Are Oakland told VoxPopuli that "as far as being heated," election discussions reminded him of the Oakland Avenue Charter School mask mandate debates. "There are always a few people who jump in and throw their opinions around and hide behind the keyboard."
Bunevich's election run may continue to have ripple effects. "I think it's going to push people to have conversations," he said in an interview. "I hope it inspires people to do something. It seems like just the challenge has brought a new spirit of Hey we can’t keep the status quo, and I’m happy about that.
"You can’t affect change by not making it, or by not participating in it. So if I affect the change that the commission now asks questions, or we get somewhere with reclaimed water a year faster, then I’ve done something."
How the ballots were cast:
Early Voting: 4
By Mail: 173
Election Day: 191