Nantucket Select Board Race: Candidate Question

Nantucket Current •

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Select Board candidates Dawn Hill Holdgate, Rick Atherton, and Clifford Williams

Tuesday's election features a three-way race for one open seat on the Select Board. We posed the following question to the candidates:

As some of the Select Board's most important responsibilities are establishing goals, priorities, and policies for the town (as well as your annual evaluation of the town manager), please provide us your assessment of how well the town is being managed and where there are areas in need of improvement. If you feel the town is being managed effectively and appropriately on all fronts and there is no need for any changes, please say so.

Here are their responses:


As Nantucket’s highest elected body, the Select Board holds ultimate responsibility for the performance of town government. That’s why one of the most essential duties of the Select Board is to hold the Town Manager accountable for the efficient and effective administration of town operations.

In assessing how well the town is being managed and where there might be areas in need of improvement, I bring a unique perspective. My fifteen years on the Finance Committee, followed by nine years on the Select Board – including participating in annual performance evaluations of the Town Manager – have given me a thorough knowledge of town operations and finances. Since stepping down from the Select Board seven years ago, I have continued to pay close attention to town government as a member of the public. With the clarity that comes from distance, I have come to better understand how we can — and must — do better. Read Rick's full response by clicking here.


As I reflect on our shared journey, I am deeply grateful for the privilege of serving as a voice on the Select Board. Tomorrow, I ask for your vote—not just as a candidate, but as a fellow islander committed to the health, history, and prosperity of Nantucket. Together, we can reimagine what is possible and strive to build a Nantucket that works for everyone.

At the heart of our shared vision is the Select Board’s Strategic Plan—a beacon guiding our collective efforts to address the challenges we face. Crafted with care and collaboration, this plan embodies our aspirations across five priority categories: Housing, Transportation, Environmental Leadership, Efficient Town Operations, and Quality of Life. It offers the Select Board, Town Administration, and the community at large a roadmap shaped by our voices, concerns, and dreams for our beloved island. Read Dawn's full response by clicking here.


The first thing I would do, as I pointed out at Town Meeting, is stop spending millions of dollars on studies that we could simply do in-house for thousands of dollars instead. One example is Our Island Home: we have spent millions of dollars over the years studying the Island Home with very little to show for it. Moreover, Bobby DeCosta pointed out at Town Meeting, ” Does everything have a price tag of $5 million now”? This seems to be the new number for everything.

I volunteered to do a $3.5 million study, which would pay for engineering and development for housing on town properties, but I would do it for $3,000 and that would be $ 2,000 too much. Ironically this study is the very subject I have tried to help the town with for the past couple of years, affordable housing for town employees. Read Clifford's full response by clicking here.

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