A preview of Wareham's 2018 town election

Jan 10, 2018

Nomination papers for the upcoming Town Election on April 3 have been available since early January. Candidates have until Feb. 9 to obtain papers, and until Feb. 13 to return them with the signatures of 50 registered voters to be on the ballot.

Here is the latest information on who has taken out papers to run in a town election.

Board of Selectmen

One Selectmen is up for reelection this year and one seat is vacant following the abrupt resignation of Judy Whiteside for an unspecified personal reason.

The Selectmen candidate up for reelection this year is Alan Slavin, who has already pulled and returned papers, saying he’s running to he wants to see some projects he’s started through to completion and continue to serve the town.

“I want to see Wareham continue to move forward,” said Slavin, who has championed projects related to transportation, including bringing a commuter rail station to town. “My goal has always been to continue being proactive, develop trust and confidence with our residents.”

He is currently running to keep his seat unopposed.

Faith Berry, Mary Bruce and Marc Bianco have also pulled papers for the Selectmen’s race. All three are seeking the seat formerly held by Whiteside. Both seats are for three-year terms. Because Whiteside served one year of her term, the winner of her seat will be on the board for two years before the next election.

Berry said she had several goals if elected. Those goals include promoting friendly, inclusive meetings, starting a program that rewards town employees for good customer service and seeking more grant opportunities.

Most importantly, she said, is getting businesses to invest in Wareham, which would bring in more tax dollars.

“It is my belief that government works to better the lives of those who live in the community they serve,” she said

Bruce, who is president of the Wareham Garden Club, said she’s been wanting to serve on the board for awhile and “now seemed like the right time.”

If elected, Bruce said she wanted to focus on bringing business to town.

“Economic growth is one of the biggest issues facing town right now,” she said.

A Wareham native, Bruce has served on the Wareham Council on Aging, is a currently a member of the Beach and Tourism Committee and is a member of Don’t Trash Wareham, which is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to beautifying the town. She retuned her nomination papers on Jan. 24.

School Committee

Current School Committee Chair Shannon Jenkins is up for reelection, and has taken out papers. She was first elected to the committee in 2015.

Fellow incumbent Geoff Swett has pulled papers, too.

Swett said he has experience and a strong management background on his side. He has been on the committee since 2005 with only one year off it.

Swett has lived in Wareham since 1999. He was a member of the finance committee, coaches the girls tennis team, is a chairman of the YMCA of Southcoast board and on the board of directors for the New Bedford Symphony. His passion for education drove him to his spot on the school committee.

“I do believe that any community’s future is fundamentally tied to the success of its educational system,” he said.

Flaherty is running for Geoffrey Swett’s seat on the school committee with a plan to ask questions that are important to parents.

Flaherty said he thinks parents are an important part of the school committee because of the perspective they provide. He has one child in Wareham High School and said he’s “ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”

Flaherty has lived in Wareham since 2004. He is the creator of Wareham Matters, a Facebook group with more than 6,000 members. Flaherty was on the school committee three years ago and also used to be on the Library Board of Trustees.

The issues he hopes to address as a school committee member are bullying (“I’m not convinced enough is being done"), lagging state scores and working toward a better relationship with Upper Cape. Flaherty has returned his nomination papers.

Rebekah Pratt and Rebecca Kennen have also pulled papers for the School Committee. Wareham Week has reached out to both for comment.

Wareham Housing Authority

There are two seats on the Wareham Housing Authority up for election, one five-year term and one, one-year seat. The one-year seat will fill a vacancy left by Rudy Santos, who passed away last year. In addition to current Chair Bob Powilatis, Kevin Costa and Jean Connaughton have taken out papers for the Wareham Housing Authority.

Deputy Moderator

Incumbent Joseph Ashley has pulled papers for Deputy Moderator. He is currently running unopposed.

Sewer Commission

Incumbent Sewer Commissioner Jim Giberti has pulled papers for his seat on the commission and is currently unopposed. Don Jepson has pulled papers for the non sewer user seat on the commissioner and is also unopposed.

Assessor

Steven Curry has pulled papers for an Assessor’s seat as did John Donahue. Neither has returned papers as of Feb. 1.

Visit the links below for more information about the candidates and offices on the ballot in April's town election.

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