The Annual Town Election is set for Tuesday, May 23 when polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Nantucket High School.
We reached out to the four candidates vying for the two open seats on the Select Board this year to introduce themselves to voters and share their platform. Their responses are below. Stay tuned for more candidate questions in the coming days.
I’m Tom Dixon and I hope you’ll consider voting for me for Select Board next Tuesday. I first moved here in 1999 with my mom and have since gone off on a few sojourns, but Nantucket has a very sneaky way of pulling you back into its orbit. Over the years on Nantucket I worked for Stephen Swift Furniture, did computer/tech work, and later found my passion in government and politics. Previously, I worked on a presidential campaign and state and local races. In 2017, I was appointed legislative liaison by our State Representative, Dylan Fernandes. We worked closely with the Town, the Select Board, island nonprofits, and island stakeholders on legislative priorities for the Town/County. This included Home Rule petitions, budget amendments, as well as on hundreds of constituent cases for assistance with state government (just one example of a case would be assisting an islander to with an unemployment claim). Read Dixon's full response here.
All Nantucketers know we live in a special place. In many regards, the Island is doing very well. However, Nantucket is at a crossroads, and our Island and community face unprecedented pressure. I am a physician and scientist by training. I have experience and decades of community service to the Island. I was chair and a member of the Board of Health for twelve years. I was chair of the Tick-borne Disease Committee and served as a director of the Shellfish Association, Maria Mitchell Association, and PASCON, as well as on the Vestry of St. Paul's Church. I have also volunteered for Meals on Wheels. And now, the Select Board. Experience is important – so is action. When I was a candidate six months ago, I pledged to the Nantucket community that I would listen to everyone, raise questions that need to be answered, research the issues and analyze all the data, and, when appropriate, challenge conventional thinking. Above all, I will put Nantucket and its people first. I believe I have kept my pledge. I have also often voted in opposition to my Select Board colleagues. Read MacNab's full response here.
My name is Kathy Richen. Over the years I have said, “Nantucket’s not for everyone,” so many times. This is true, and yet, Nantucket is good for those who choose to live here and make Nantucket work for them. Our extremely diverse population is an amazing bonus, one that our visitors are sometimes surprised at. Our diversity demands that our town government always be flexible when dealing with the needs of this community, always looking for ways to adapt to the needs of all and that is where I will strive to make a difference as a member of The Select Board. As we all know, diversity can pose difficult situations, situations that are difficult to solve. I believe my extensive background as a Town of Nantucket employee has prepared me for this position. My career in the finance department began in 1991 with retirement in 2016. I served as operations coordinator for the finance department and risk manager for the town in general. I now prepare the financials for the Community Preservation Committee, a part time position. Read Richen's full response here.
My platform has been the same since the every first time I pulled papers to run for the Select Board. I believe like most forms of government that we see today, we are trying to do more and more things for people that they should be able to do for themselves, the government isn't the solution, it's the problem. We need to focus on the basic services local governments are designed to provide: schools, fire, police, water/sewer etc. The idea of relying on the government for more and more services is just creating more dependency that is not sustainable. We need to focus on the basic infrastructure of the town first, like maybe fixing the roads that are declining exponentially. Looking to the future for hiring and retaining town employees, something that is way over due, moreover, creating housing for town employees before anyone else. Let the private sector solve its own housing problems as most business do. I would challenge state government to come up with more money to solve these problems instead of just mandating more and more from the local tax payer.