At age 75, Joseph P. Cummings is embarking upon his first run for public office, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“You need to stay busy. You can’t pack it in because you’re getting a little older,” he said.
The candidate for Mashpee Planning Board is running unopposed, and is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead when he takes office next month.
For more than a year, Mr. Cummings has served as an associate member of the planning board, a “bullpen”-type position in which he can only cast a vote if there is a lack of quorum or a full-time board member is absent. He became interested in the associate member position in January 2013 after reading an article about the need for volunteers to fill several town board and committee positions. At the time, Mr. Cummings was completing his second three-year term as a trustee of Windchime Condominiums, a position which required him to work with and become familiar with the planning board.
“I met with town planner Tom Fudala, sent a letter of interest to the board of selectmen, and they accepted me,” he said.
“Joe has definitely filled a void, and we were very lucky to have him come on to the board, especially with one of our members not being able to participate in meetings for much of the past year. He’s been a significant contributor, and we appreciate his enthusiasm, thoroughness, and assistance. He’s very well qualified, and I was very happy to hear that he was running for a full-time planning board position,” Mashpee Planning Board Chairman George W. Petersen said.
Mr. Cummings has been a resident of Mashpee for 10 years, moving here with his wife, Eleanor, from their longtime home in Bridgewater. He had a 30-year career in the medical device industry, working for Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific.
Mr. Cummings has high praise for the Mashpee Planning Board, saying that the panel is efficient, and that it provides residents an open forum to express their pleasure or displeasure with projects proposed for the town. “For a small town, Mashpee has done a good job with planning. The planning board is very careful to only approve projects that that fit in with the community. There’s a place for everything, and everything has its place—that’s how the board thinks,” he said.
When asked to discuss his position on the upcoming Town Meeting petition article asking voters to weigh in on whether Mashpee should leave the Cape Cod Commission, Mr. Cummings said that he remains undecided on the issue.
“I was surprised at the amount of mitigation fees the developers of the assisted living facility being built in town had to pay to the commission. That type of facility is needed in the community, and if it weren’t such a large company they may have had to walk away from the project. But, we need to remember the commission assists towns with technical expertise on issues such as wastewater management, so maybe the mitigation fees are necessary. I will listen to both sides of the argument and won’t make a hasty decision,” Mr. Cummings said.
Mashpee town election will be held on Saturday, May 17, from 7 AM to 8 PM at the Quashnet School on Old Barnstable Road.