Voters in next week’s town election will be asked to elect two selectmen from a list of three candidates on the ballot.
The slate includes Peter Beauchemin, a lifelong resident of town and a retired town firefighter, with five years of service on the Sandwich Housing Authority. He’s currently serving the authority as vice-chairman.
There’s also Patrick Ellis, another Sandwich “lifer,” past selectman (1996-1999) and former tree warden who was promoted up the DPW ladder to become the town’s first-ever director of the public works department.
The third candidate is Frank Pannorfi, who is the sole incumbent on the ballot this year. Mr. Pannorfi retired to Sandwich in 1999 and has served nine years as a selectman here, first elected to the board in 2002.
While we like Mr. Beauchemin’s friendly attitude and small-town manner and admire his willingness to jump into the political fray, we worry that his lack of experience on this top tier of town government could prove troublesome. It was clear from talking with him and from this week’s candidates’ forum that he understands the workings of the government machine only in the broadest possible terms.
If he were elected to the board, he would have a lot—and we mean a lot—to learn. The community can’t afford that kind of learning curve, not now.
That’s why this year we are endorsing Mr. Ellis and Mr. Pannorfi for the two open seats in this year’s election.
Mr. Ellis is a forward-thinking man with many opinions about where Sandwich has gone wrong in the past and even more ideas about ways to improve things for the future.
He has a perspective on this town that includes his experiences as a lifelong resident, a former municipal employee, and elected official.
While he can be longwinded and stubborn at times, he has a wit and passion for this community that we admire greatly. If elected, he would not only hit the ground running, we are confident that he would very soon be the one setting the pace for the board.
Mr. Pannorfi is also deserving of your vote on May 8.
As a selectman, his time in the trenches is unmatched by any of his fellow candidates, or any sitting member of the board, for that matter.
He does his homework and is an excellent communicator. We were touched by his willingness to defend town manager Bud Dunham during Wednesday’s forum, when suggestions were made that Mr. Dunham had outlasted his usefulness to the town.
While we do not always agree with his stand on the issues, we can find no fault in his willingness to research a subject, and, after formulating his opinion, be the lone dissenting voice on a matter. He votes his conscience.
While he has his critics—and who wouldn’t after nine years in leadership—he is not shying away from the fight. In fact, he is stepping up and asking for three more years in the hot seat. That takes moxie.
Mr. Ellis and Mr. Pannorfi are very different candidates with very different political ideologies. But working in tandem, they could be just what this town needs.