Anyone who heeds the call to municipal service and runs for office should be praised for their willingness to put in the time and effort to serve and place themselves in the often unforgiving public eye. At a time when politics, both at the national and local levels, has become so divisive, all candidates should be recognized for putting their community first and contributing toward the greater good.
In any election, however, choices must be made; there are winners and losers. This year's Chatham annual election for a single seat on the board of selectmen offered two candidates with similar pedigrees but whose experience and positions diverge significantly. And there has been divisiveness, mostly generated by a newly formed political action committee that set its sights on taking down one candidate. That lowered things a level or two, was overkill and something we don't need in our small-town politics.
That said, we endorse Shareen Davis for Chatham selectman.
Chatham needs Davis now precisely to ratchet down the level of rhetoric that's dominated the political landscape here for the past few years. She has a measured way of cutting through to the details and speaking plainly to the issues that concern members of the community. Davis certainly has the background and credentials to understand and work within the town's political system. She knows Chatham, too, having grown up here, run a family commercial fishing business and co-owned a downtown gallery, and worked over the years on numerous campaigns related to the fishing industry, lobbying for the interests of small-boat fishermen. She knows the challenges those in that industry face, as well as the general economic difficulties Chatham's unique economy poses to working men, women and families. As such, she knows that the region's “blue economy” needs to be protected and favors strong environmental protection, including following through with the long-range comprehensive wastewater management plan. Even though commercial fishing accounts for a shrinking piece of the economy, the second homeowners, visitors and building trades that are the economic engine that is currently driving Chatham would not exist without a healthy, clean environment.
Davis will bring positive energy to the board of selectmen, which too often gets bogged down in meandering discussions that don't do anything to further the public good. She understands the board's policy role and would, we believe, help refocus it toward issues of importance to residents.