It’s been a long time since Mattapoisett voters have gone to the polls and found more than one candidate listed for an open seat, but the Selectman’s race in Mattapoisett is warming up with at least two potential candidates planning on submitting nomination papers. John DeCosta and Tyler Macallister have told The Wanderer they plan on running for election.
DeCosta, 57, a lifelong Mattapoisett resident, said, “I come from a legacy of public service,” noting his father’s many years in town government.
DeCosta is a graduate of Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School, worked for fifteen years on the Mattapoisett Water Department, and is currently employed by the State of Massachusetts as a park supervisor for the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
When asked why he wanted to become a selectman, DeCosta replied, “I want to bring a new voice to the Board of Selectmen.”
DeCosta has been a volunteer member of the Fire Department for 17 years, a member of the Capital Planning Committee for 12 years, has one year on the Bike Path Committee, was co-chairman of the Open Space Committee for two years, and currently sits on the Community Preservation Committee where, until recently, he was the chairman for the last 12 years.
Volunteerism and the importance of being involved in the community on many levels is the driving force that brought DeCosta to the decision to seek the open seat on the Board of Selectmen. “I’d like to get people back to being involved at town meeting,” he said.
Regarding the future of the community, DeCosta said that the biggest issue facing the town was the lack of affordable housing.
“We are losing our kids,” he said.
Other areas he noted as critical were careful consideration of capital needs, the school charter, and transparency in how tax dollars are spent.
“People don’t seem to feel we are transparent, in spite of all the information that is available,” he said. He empathized the importance of transparency at all levels.
DeCosta said he was fiscally conservative. “We need to make sure when we add a long-term expense that it is on something we really need moving forward.”
Macallister, 52, wants to resume his work on the Board of Selectmen.
“It was unfortunate that I had to resign to pursue the town administrator job,” he said of the protocol he was required to follow under the conflict of interest statute. Now with that opportunity no longer viable, he wants to return and pick up where he left off. “It was always my plan to try and return to the Board of Selectmen.”
Regarding the 8.5 years he served on the Board of Selectmen, Macallister said he was proud of the work they had done. He said the trio brought different strengths and had made great strides in tackling difficult issues facing the community.
Macallister was also on the Conservation Commission for five years and the Plymouth County Advisory Board.
Speaking for himself, Macallister said, “I tend to really pay attention, keeping an open mind before rendering an opinion.” He said that for the years he sat on the board he had worked with the Finance Committee bringing the town, “…a long way.” Of his return to the board, if that should come to pass, he was confident, “…we wouldn’t miss a beat.”
On his list of challenges facing the town, Macallister said, “Our aging population,” was among the top priorities. He said that as the senior-citizen population increases, the role of the Council on Aging should be expanded. Other areas needing critical attention were the consolidation of town buildings and wharf repairs and improvement. “Our waterfront is a jewel.”
Macallister was born and raised on Cape Cod and has lived in Mattapoisett for 20 years. He holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as well as dual B.A. from UMass Dartmouth in Marine Biology and General Biology. Additionally, Macallister holds a Master Captain’s license. He said he was self-employed working in the renewable-energy industry and is a partner in a solar-business venture. He also owns and operates a charter fishing business.
Town Clerk Kathleen Heuberger said that nomination papers for the May elections may be pulled between February 3 and March 27.
With six weeks before the closing date for filing nomination papers, there is still the opportunity for other residents to seek the town’s highest position. Time will tell if the field of candidates for Selectman stands at two.
To learn about all open seats for all boards, committees and town offices, contact the town clerk’s office at 508-758-4100 extension 2.
By Marilou Newell