Meet John Sousa

Mar 19, 2024

Two candidates are in the running for a three-year term on the Dartmouth Select Board.

John Sousa, a member of Town Meeting, Finance Committee, Community Preservation Committee and Prudential Committee in Fire District #2, said he would bring over 45 years of experience from other parts of town government to the position, including 27 years on the Planning Board.

Now retired, Sousa spent over 40 years in management positions for the electric utility industry in the engineering and construction field. He’s a life-long resident of Dartmouth and now owns a home with his wife Conee over on Fisher Road. 

Though he never considered running for Select Board in the past, Sousa said enough pressure from others finally convinced him to take out the nomination papers.

“It's about making Dartmouth the best place I can for me and my children,” he said.

With a budget shortfall and aging infrastructure, Dartmouth needs to take action and there’s not going to be a “magic bullet” to make these problems go away next time, Sousa said, referring to the district’s use of school choice funds to alleviate some of the burdens of this year’s budget.

The town doesn’t have many options, and it may have to consider both cuts and increased taxes, he said. 

Sousa emphasized the importance of keeping residents in mind who may be on fixed or low incomes. He said limiting the impact on the taxpayer is a priority of his and he’d like to keep any necessary adjustments minimal.

In the past, officials have threatened cuts to public safety, such as police and crossing guards, in order to convince the town to approve a tax override, but Sousa said he doesn’t agree with the use of these “scare tactics.”

“There's a much better way to make cuts in town and not go after the heartstrings of the voters,” he added. “My solution is to work — dive into the weeds — and work with everybody and try to figure out what will be best for the town given this crisis we will be facing next year.”

Additionally, Sousa said he’d like to see improvements made to communications within the town. Working closely with town officials, residents, developers and other stakeholders while on the Planning Board, Sousa said he saw firsthand Dartmouth’s reputation go from being the best to do business with to the worst. 

“Our customer service is not up to par at the moment,” he said of town hall. “It hasn't been pleasant, and it seems as though unnecessary roadblocks are being forced onto people — that needs to change.”

Sousa said he considers himself “very approachable” and encourages residents to “pick up the phone, talk to me, stop me on the street. I'll be more than happy to talk to you and listen to your opinion.”

He added how he always tries to understand both sides of all issues. “You need to try to learn as much as possible about the other side as your side when you’re lobbying — that’s the person I try to be.”

And then, it’s also important to take a stance.

“I've always done that and I'm proud of my stance,” he said. “Even though I've made enemies because they don't agree with my stance, I'm comfortable because I've done my homework.”