Helping others around him is what Brian M. Weeden, likes to do best. The 28-year-old Mashpee native and member of the Wampanoag Tribe, serves on numerous boards in town. For the town, he is on the Conservation and Historical commissions as well as the Environmental Oversight and Town Seal committees.
Mr. Weeden considers himself an educator, and there is one additional committee he would like to be part of—the Mashpee School Committee.
An employee of the Mashpee Department of Public Works, he is one of two candidates seeking a spot on the school committee. He and Matthew Davis are running unopposed for the two open three-year seats on the committee.
“I think this is the best way for me to create positive change that I’d like to see in our community. My life has been about youth development within the tribe and also trying to get the town to being more inclusive of our younger people,” he said.
Mr. Weeden, a 2011 graduate of Mashpee Middle-High School, is on the school committee ballot for the second time. In 2017 he was one of three candidates vying for two spots. Current vice-chairwoman Nicole Bartlett and former committee member Christopher C. Santos won those spots. The year prior, Mr. Weeden had a write-in campaign for a spot on the Mashpee Public Library board of trustees but lost to Marcia E. MacInnis.
Mr. Weeden is heavily involved in Wampanoag politics, as he is a member of the tribal council in addition to being part of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Enrollment, Natural Resources, Pow Wow and Youth Advisory committees. He also serves as advisor for the tribe’s Youth Council, which he founded in 2009.
“I think a lot of those positions I was in have helped me to become the leader that I am today,” he said.
Mr. Weeden is also one of four candidates on the ballot in the election for the next chairperson of Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council.
Mr. Weeden said his great-grandmother, Amanda E. (Stella) Gardner Hicks, served on the committee for more than 30 years.
“I think it’s very important,” Mr. Weeden said about the ability to carry on his family’s legacy. “I come from a long line of Wampanoag leaders that have given back to the community, and I’d like to follow in their footsteps.”
Despite his lineage, Mr. Weeden wants to carve out his own path and let everyone know what he stands for as a candidate.
“I want people to know that I believe in morals, ethical values, integrity. I also believe in effective communication. I believe I am someone who can bring people together,” he said.
As for what he likes about the current committee, Mr. Weeden mentioned that they have done a “great job with their collaboration efforts” between the tribe and the school.
On the flip side, he would like to see more funding through the school district for Wampanoag education initiatives rather than grants from the Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project. He also hopes to make an impact on the strategic plans for the school buildings in town, some of which are not in the best shape, he said.
Outside of all of the committees he serves on, Mr. Weeden enjoys traveling and is enrolled in early education classes at Cape Cod Community College.
“I hope that if given the opportunity, I can represent the whole entire community and our young people and I want to do a good job by our residents and our citizens and most of all our families and people that are affected by the school system,” Mr. Weeden said.