2024 Town Elections

            Editor’s Note: The Wanderer has invited candidates in contested races (more candidates on the ballot than seats open) to submit up to 350 words on their candidacy. Below are the Marion Select Board and Marion School Committee candidates who have responded to the Wanderer’s invitation. Mattapoisett and Rochester candidates submitting statements will appear in next week’s issue.

Marion Select Board

            There is one open seat for a three-year term on the Marion Select Board being contested by incumbent Randy Parker and challenger Diane Lopes-Flaherty. The Marion Town Election will be held on Friday, May 17, at the Cushing Community Center.

Diane Lopes-Flaherty

            My goal is to bring my long history of community service to all residents of our town. My door will be open. Initially, I would support a more practical mechanism to encourage residents’ feedback to the town; a review of town roadways for safety and signage, and the impact on residents of the Marion/Wareham bridge replacement. I would explore the feasibility of a designated truck route through the town to ease road noise and damage in residential areas, and a status report on the proposed New Meadow development as it pertains to aging in place. I was born and raised in Marion, one of nine children. My father, Benjamin “Jimmy” Lopes, was a Marion businessman, cranberry farmer, and special officer with the Marion Police. In my early 20s, I moved to Boston where I raised my three children and pursued a career in public service. I began as a social worker at the Cooper Community Center before serving as a victim-witness advocate under former Middlesex District Attorney Scott Harshbarger. I was later appointed as Neighborhood Services coordinator by Mayor Ray Flynn. The highlight of my career in Boston was to serve as the city’s commissioner of Elder Affairs for a record 11 years through 1998, becoming the first person of color to lead that office. I returned to Marion in 1999 and continued in public service for another 17 years as consumer mediator for the Attorney General’s Southeastern Massachusetts Division in New Bedford, where I received the Robert H. Quinn Award for Excellence before retiring in January 2017. I’m honored to have been recognized by the City of Boston, Boston University Medical Center, NAACP, National Society to Prevent Blindness, Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus, and the Boston Police Department, and to have served on the Board of Directors of the Madison Park Community Center, Boston Police Athletic League, MA/NH Chapter of the national Alzheimer’s Association, and the Cape Verdean Festival Association. I’m an avid gardener who loves this town, its people, and the opportunity to live with my husband Gerald in the home my father built on Point Road.

Randy Parker

            Dear Fellow Marion Residents, I am Randy Parker, and I have had the privilege of serving as a member of the Select Board for the past six years. As we approach the upcoming election on May 17, I humbly seek your endorsement for my re-election. Having been an integral part of the Marion community for most of my life, I deliberately chose to raise my children and build my business in this town that I am fortunate and proud to call home. Throughout my tenure on the Select Board, I have embodied a hands-on approach, dedicated to gathering information and conducting thorough research before making decisions. This commitment to diligence has been the cornerstone of my service, and I am proud of the positive impacts we have achieved as a team within our town over the last several years. Some notable achievements include: the renovation of the Town Hall, the implementation of an emergency egress at Sippican School, and securing a School Resource Officer for the Sippican School. Looking ahead, there are several issues facing our town that demand our attention and action including: incorporating the comfort-dog program with the Police Department, reducing the speed limit to 25 in town (Article 32), and construction of the Department of Public Works facility. I firmly believe that I am the best candidate to address these challenges. I am committed to working tirelessly to explore every avenue, gather relevant details, and present the most informed options to our taxpayers. In closing, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to you for taking the time to consider my candidacy. Whether you wish to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing our town or simply share a cup of tea, I am always available and eager to engage with you. Please feel free to reach out to me at your convenience. Thank you for your support and consideration.

Marion School Committee

            There are two open seats for three-year terms on the Marion School Committee being contested by incumbents April Nye and Michelle Smith and challenger Kristina Callina. The Marion Town Election will be held on Friday, May 17, at the Cushing Community Center.

April Nye

            As I seek re-election for a third term, allow me to reintroduce myself. I hold a Master’s Degree in Criminology and Law and graduated from Suffolk University. I worked nearly 20 years for the commonwealth and retired from the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department as the Gang Unit program manager, which focused on rehabilitation and victim’s rights. When our son went off to Kindergarten, I started volunteering in VASE and eventually would become president of the same and spend the next seven years dedicating myself to the school community and organization and still contribute now in various ways. I loved volunteering, but knew I also wanted to help and be involved on a different level, so I ran for and was elected in 2018 to the Marion School Committee. Since being elected in 2018, I have dedicated myself to supporting the rights of Sippican School students and their families, working with our faculty and administration to ensure they have what they need to meet our students where they are at, and pride myself on being accessible and transparent to the community of Marion. I have been the chairperson now for three years and know firsthand the importance of cultivating productive relationships with all stakeholders within the school and community, as well as have worked tirelessly to develop positive working relationships with our town Select Board, Finance Committee and town administrators and pride myself on having turned what were once contentious relationships into productive ones and appreciate everyone’s commitment to our schools. It was my mission in 2018 to bring a School Resource Officer into Sippican and having finally done so in 2023 was a true accomplishment I feel for our students and school community. I am thankful to the voters for supporting the SRO and the added layer of security, as well as knowing the positive impact Community Policing has on children. There is much work to be done at Sippican, and I look forward to continuing this work on behalf of students, their families and the town and hope to have earned your continued support on May 17.

Kristina Callina

            My name is Kristina Callina and I am asking Marion voters to elect me on May 17 for Marion School Committee. I am the parent of a third-grader at Sippican and an Old Rochester District alum, and have served the past three years on the Sippican School Council. I hope Marion voters will elect me because I have experiences from my educational background in child development, as a small business owner, data analyst, and as a parent, that I believe can benefit our community. As a developmental psychologist and statistician, I have expertise in social science research design and data analysis and reporting, having worked with institutions such as the United States Military Academy at West Point and the National 4-H Council to study and promote leadership and social-emotional learning among young people. I am looking forward to contributing my unique talents to the Marion School Committee, and to partnering with other School Committee members and the superintendent to serve our children and our community. As a parent, tri-town alum, and community member, I have a personal interest in preserving and improving the quality of our school system, and I believe in quality public education for our current and future students. For instance, while on the Sippican School Council, I provided guidance to the school improvement planning – my hope is to join the School Committee to help set policies and funding strategies to implement those plans. In my professional life, I have successfully partnered with diverse stakeholders across from private, military, and non-profit sectors, and I believe strong partnerships are likewise foundational to our school’s success. I plan to help strengthen relationships between the School Committee and community stakeholders through transparency and thoughtful communication. I promise to work collaboratively to accomplish the School Committee’s goals and to serve our teachers, students, and community. Finally, as a research scientist, I know how to balance rigor and reality, making decisions using best practices, available data, and real-world constraints and opportunities. I love Sippican School and promise to use all available information to vote in the best interest of the students of Marion.

Michelle Ouellette Smith

            As a candidate for re-election, I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to continue serving our community for another 3 year term. For over the past 12 years, I have dedicated myself wholeheartedly to the betterment of Sippican and the ORR educational system. I am committed to continuing this important work. During my tenure at Sippican, I have had the privilege of witnessing the impact that a quality education can have on the lives of our students. Guided by a commitment to excellence, equity, and inclusivity, I have worked tirelessly to ensure that every child has access to the resources, support, and opportunities they need to thrive academically and personally. Together with my esteemed colleagues on the school committee, as well as our dedicated educators, administrators, parents, and community members, we have achieved significant progress in advancing the goals of Sippican and the ORR District. From implementing innovative programs to improving student outcomes and closing achievement gaps, we have worked collaboratively to ensure that our schools remain at the forefront of educational excellence. However, there is more work to be done. As we look to the future, we will confront new challenges and opportunities that enhance the quality of education. Whether it’s addressing the social and emotional needs of our students, or advocating for adequate funding and resources, or keeping our curriculum up to date and equitable for all learners, I am fully committed to facing these challenges head-on and ensuring that Sippican continues to thrive. I believe that my experience, dedication, and proven record make me uniquely qualified to continue serving on the School Committee. I have served as a chair and co-chair, served on the budget and contract negotiations committees. With your support, I will continue to be a tireless advocate for our students, teachers, and schools, working diligently to uphold the values and principles that define Sippican and our district. I am deeply committed to earning your support once again and to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to build a brighter future for our children and our community. Thank you for your continued support.

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