De Molina Chosen Over Rayport For Vacant Planning Commission Seat

JohnCarl McGrady •

IMG 4906
Abby De Molina and Hillary Hedges Rayport, the two candidates seeking appointment to the at-large seat on the Nantucket Planning & Economic Development Commission.

The Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission (NP&EDC) voted 5-3 on Monday to appoint Planning Board alternate Abby De Molina over planning critic Hillary Hedges Rayport to the open at-large seat on the NP&EDC being vacated by former Chair Mary Longacre. Select Board representative Dawn Hill Holdgate abstained and two other members were absent.

De Molina gives the Planning Board an outright majority on the NP&EDC. A member of the Nantucket Historical Commission, De Molina was widely expected to be appointed, given Rayport’s criticism of the NP&EDC and her past unsuccessful attempts to be appointed to local boards including the NP&EDC.

Rayport, who sponsored a home-rule petition to restructure the NP&EDC at Town Meeting two years ago, received the support of at-large members Kristina Jelleme and Wendy Hudson, as well as Conservation Commission representative Seth Engelbourg. Select Board representative Dawn Hill Holdgate abstained and Housing Authority representative Bertyl Johnson was absent, leaving Longacre as the only non-Planning Board member to back De Molina, joining all four Planning Board members present.

“This is an opportunity to hopefully expand concepts and thoughts on appointments,” former Planning Board alternate Campbell Sutton said, urging Commissioners to support Rayport. “By the time their vote four times in four different places comes to Town Meeting, it feels overwhelming to Town Meeting, there's so much support for it”

At the meeting on Monday, Rayport focused on her academic and professional background in planning.

“I graduated with honors from Princeton University, I earned an MBA from Harvard University,” she said Monday. “I worked as an investor, I worked in software companies where I had rules in strategic leadership. The thing I really enjoy is synthesizing information and proposing solutions.”

She also tried to pitch her more controversial positions as a strength. “If you appoint me, you’ll show that you’re willing to appoint people to the Commission who challenge you,” she said.

But De Molina, a supporter of the current planning regime, was always heavily favored, and she received the support of all four Planning Board representatives on the NP&EDC who were present. NP&EDC chair Barry Rector was absent, but vice chair Nat Lowell as well as members John Kitchener, Joseph Topham, and Dave Iverson joined Longacre in backing De Molina’s candidacy. De Molina emphasized her experience in finance, project management, and as a volunteer member of several local boards and commissions.

“The key characteristic I would bring to this commission is an open mind and a willingness to listen,” De Molina said Monday, reading from a prepared statement. 

Loading Ad
Loading Ad
Loading Ad

Current News