Three contested races take shape as election deadline closes
Dartmouth’s April town election will include three contested races, as the deadline for candidates to finalize their campaigns has passed.
In the Select Board race, both incumbents, John Haran and Shawn McDonald, have challengers vying for their seats. On the Planning Board, three new faces are running for two unchallenged seats.
In the Select Board race, Haran, the incumbent, is running for his second term. The commercial fishing industry representative is also a member of Dartmouth Fire District No. 1's Prudential Committee and the Dartmouth Republican Committee. Previously, he served on the Finance Committee and Planning Board.
He could not be reached for comment. On his campaign website, he listed providing strong leadership, supporting public safety, making sure tax dollars are spent wisely, and maintaining Dartmouth's roads, projects, and buildings as priorities.
He is being challenged by Kelli Martin Taglianetti. She won her first race for Select Board in 2015, but did not seek re-election in 2018 due to difficulties in dedicating time to her role with her full-time job as a network analyst for Shields MRI and a possibility of moving from her lifelong home of Dartmouth.
But she’s staying in town, and is committed to serving the people of Dartmouth once again.
“I think it’s time once again to have a woman’s perspective and an objective opinion on the board,” Taglianetti said. “That was one of my key reasons for wanting to jump back in.”
In the second Select Board race, McDonald, the current board chairman, is seeking re-election for his fourth term.
“I’m still having fun,” McDonald said. “I’m still enjoying doing this, and I still have a lot more to contribute.”
He is being challenged by Frank Condez, a former sergeant with the Dartmouth Police Department, who was terminated from the department in 2015. Condez is suing the town and several town officials regarding his dismissal and his department-issue firearm, which he reported missing from his locker in 2014.
“My focus in running for Select Board is to return transparency, fairness and accountability to town government,” Condez said via email. He said he wants to ensure everyone is treated fairly when appearing before the board and closed-door executive sessions are not being abused.
In the Planning Board race, two seats are open due to the retirement of a Planning Board member last year, and another member’s decision to not seek re-election.
Stephen E. Taylor is running unopposed for the three-year seat. The businessman recently retired from his nonprofit job, but does some investing and financial work on the side. Being semi-retired, he felt now is the time to give back to Dartmouth.
“In general, I care about the town’s long-term health,” Taylor said, noting the importance of the in-development Padanaram Harbor Management Plan.
Two candidates are running for the five-year seat: Margaret A. Sweet and Timothy Cusson.
Sweet, a realtor, previously served on the Zoning Board of Appeals and has been involved in bylaw review subcommittees. She hopes to ensure Dartmouth remains a fair town for developers and companies to do business in.
“I’d like to serve on the Planning Board to make sure the Town of Dartmouth stays the way it is,” Sweet said.
Cusson is the Vice President of Parallel Products, a recycling company with offices in New Bedford. He also had a family business involved in residential development in Massachusetts.
“I have extensive history in development, both residential and industrial,” Cusson said. “I was looking for a way to give back to the community and felt this would be a good fit.”
Other races are uncontested as incumbents seek to keep their seats. They include: James Vieira and Joseph Vieira for Parks Board, Kevin Santos for Board of Assessors, Chris Oliver and John Nunes for School Committee, Elaine Lancaster and Bradford Thelin for Housing Authority, Lynne Brodeur for Board of Health, and Melissa Haskell for Town Meeting moderator.
In the Trustees of the Free Public Libraries race, incumbent William Chandler is running for re-election, and Joan Menard is seeking an open seat on the board.
The town election is April 2. The last day to register to vote in time for the election is March 13.