CHATHAM — By a healthy margin of 1,289 to 706, Shareen Davis unseated Selectman Seth Taylor in last Thursday's annual town election.
Davis began her three-year term the following day, when she took her oath of office. The selectman's race was the only contested one on the ballot.
Davis thanked those who backed her campaign.
“We had a really good support team of volunteers,” she said. A series of meet-and-greet events she held in the run-up to the election gave her important insight into the issues that voters saw as most pressing. She said the need for affordable housing tops that list, as does the need for a new senior center.
As for her immediate priorities, Davis acknowledged that she is the board's newest member and will need time to learn how the board does business, including “getting comfortable with working with four people.”
Davis said she is proud of the campaign she and her supporters ran, in light of some comments made by her opponent.
“I decided I wasn't going to participate in that,” she said.
She and Taylor spent the majority of election day holding signs and greeting voters outside the polls.
Taylor said it has been a privilege and an honor to serve as a Chatham selectman, as many of his ancestors have done in the past. While he would have preferred a different outcome, “what's important to me is the democratic process,” he said. He added that there was “a lot of invective piled on me for three years.”
Asked whether he sees his advocacy for the town during the Monomoy wildlife refuge boundary dispute as an achievement, Taylor said that would be premature, since the dispute is ongoing. He said he has concerns about the state of negotiations between the town and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“I don't believe there's anybody on the board of selectmen who has the skill set to finish that out,” he said.
Taylor said he is proud of the long hours he devoted to the job, saying he never “phoned it in.”
“Nobody worked as hard as I have, ever,” he said.
Nearly 2,000 ballots were cast in the election, representing about 36 percent of the town's registered voters.
Meeting very briefly Friday morning, selectmen unanimously elected Cory Metters as the board's chairman, on a nomination made by Selectman Amanda Love. On a nomination by Selectman Jeffrey Dykens, Dean Nicastro was unanimously named the board's vice-chairman. The job of clerk, traditionally reserved for the newest board member, went to Davis.
Voters in the annual town election reappointed Nancy Scott and Jacqueline Macy Zibrat-Long to three-year terms on the Monomoy Regional School Committee, and 24 write-in ballots secured a one-year unexpired term for Patricia Ford on the Chatham Housing Authority.
Three ballot questions were handily approved by voters. The first, passing by a 10-to-one margin, instructs the governor to require the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to move its spent fuel to dry cask storage as soon as possible.
Also passing were two articles that allowed borrowing beyond the limits of Proposition 2½ for two big-ticket items: $31 million for the next phase of wastewater work and $11.3 million for waterfront infrastructure projects.