Almost every race in the Annual May Town Election in Mashpee this year will be contested.
Candidates will compete for open seats on the board of selectmen, planning board, school committee and even the board of water commissioners.
Nomination papers were due in the town clerk’s office on Tuesday, April 2.
The election is set for Tuesday, May 21.
“I think it’s great,” Mashpee Town Clerk Deborah F. Dami said about the high turnout of candidates. “People should be giving back to the community and this is the best way to do it.”
Ms. Dami has been encouraged with the higher participation in local government since the last Town Meeting when turnout far exceeded previous years.
Shane L. Clark, a firefighter with the Cotuit Fire District, filed his papers for the board of selectmen last week. The Mashpee native joins incumbent Carol A. Sherman in the race for the open seat.
Mr. Clark said he decided to run for the seat to give residents a voice in local government. He said a number of Mashpee residents expressed to him this election season that the current board does not listens to their concerns.
The issues he has heard from residents are many—from the cell phone tower proposed for Red Brook Road to economic development—but the underlying theme Mr. Clark has heard is a lack of a voice in government. “There are definitely issues in the town where people aren’t happy,” he said. “But the underlying theme is they don’t feel they are listening to them.”
He also wants to give voters a choice. Last year, incumbents John J. Cotton and Thomas F. O’Hara ran uncontested. Contested races lead to more discussions on the issues, Mr. Clark said.
The Cotuit firefighter is not new to Mashpee politics. He ran for the board two years ago against selectmen John J. Cahalane and Andrew R. Gottlieb as well as a third contestant, Christopher J. Avis. While Mr. Clark ultimately lost, he received the most votes in two of five districts.
Mr. Clark is a father of four sons, two who have graduated Mashpee High School and two currently in the school district. His wife, Vanessa Clark, is a paraprofessional in the school system. The Cotuit firefighter said he might be able to provide a new perspective on the board, having grown up and raised his family in Mashpee.
Michael R. Richardson, the current chairman of the Mashpee Finance Committee, and Brian Weeden, current member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council, had pulled papers early in the election season but did not return them.
Three Mashpee residents had turned in nomination papers for two seats on the Mashpee Library Board of Trustees as well.
Geraldine A. Orlando, 79, had filed her papers for the library board. She died April 1.
Amanda Hall and Mary J. LeClair now will be uncontested in their efforts to regain two seats on the Mashpee library board.
Three candidates will vie for one, three-year seat on the Mashpee School Committee. Incumbent Don Myers is seeking his third term on the school’s lead board. Catherine A. Lewis and Elana C. Doyle both pulled papers late in the election and returned them prior to Tuesday’s election.
Mr. Myers will also challenge F. Thomas Fudala for a seat on the Mashpee Water District Board of Commissioners. The committee oversees the Mashpee Water District.
Three are seeking two seats on the Mashpee Planning Board. Incumbent David Weeden, who has been a voice for conservation on the board, will seek to regain his seat. John F. Phelan, deputy fire chief in the Mashpee Fire Rescue, has turned in his papers for the board, as has Joseph D. Callahan. David A. Kooharian, a current board member, did not file papers in the election.
Jeremy Carter will again take the reins for Town Meetings as he is the only one to file papers for the town moderator position.