Hopefuls Seek Nod For U.S. Senator, County Commissioner
With all eyes on the November presidential election, officials are reminding voters that the state primary election is set for Sept. 1. While there aren’t many headline-grabbing races, Democrats will decide between incumbent Edward Markey and challenger Joseph Kennedy, III, for U.S. Senate, and will choose among three candidates for the chance to seek two seats on the board of county commissioners.
The Republican ballot is even less interesting, with unopposed incumbents in three seats, and two people seeking to be the party’s candidate in the upcoming U.S. Senate race. Shiva Ayyadurai is a scientist who holds four degrees from MIT; his claim to have invented email is refuted by some. He faces off against Kevin O’Connor of Dover, who is an attorney.
For Democrats, the Markey-Kennedy showdown is the headline race. Markey has served the Senate since 2013, and before that spent almost four decades in the U.S. House of Representatives in the district surrounding his hometown, Malden. He has campaigned on his record of advancing energy and environmental policies, healthcare reform and economic development.
Having served four terms in the House, Kennedy was a Peace Corps member, a legal aid attorney and an assistant Cape and Islands District Attorney. Grandson of Attorney General Robert Kennedy and grand-nephew of JFK, Kennedy is campaigning on issues that include criminal justice reform, civil rights and climate change. Social justice is a central theme of his platform.
On Cape Cod, two of the three seats on the Board of County Commissioners will be up for grabs in November. Incumbent Ronald Beaty, a conservative firebrand and convicted felon, faces off against the top two vote-getters in a three-way race among Democrats. The executive branch of county government, the county commissioners draft the county budget, appoint the county administrator and other employees, and can veto ordinances from the county assembly.
A native of Barnstable village, Cheryl Andrews of Provincetown made a career in dentistry and operated her own practice. She was appointed to the Provincetown health board and helped lead the town’s wastewater program, serving on the water and sewer board. In 1998 she was elected to the board of selectmen, serving until 2007 when term limits required her to leave. Andrews served seven years on the housing authority and two terms representing the town to the county assembly. In 2014, she ran for the board of selectmen again, serving another five years. She now serves as Provincetown’s representative to the Cape Cod Commission.
“Cape Cod faces an unusual mix of serious challenges that we will be living with for a long time. We are in the early stages of a pandemic, an incredibly serious public health crisis. We are in the early stages of an economic crisis that is completely immeasurable as of today. We are in the midst of a crisis in national leadership and a failure to deal with a lack of faith in some Police Departments that has lead to civil unrest,” Andrews wrote on her web page. “It is critical that we elect candidates to office that have the education, experience and proven leadership to serve our citizens well.”
A Yarmouth selectman, Mark Forest began his government service as Provincetown town manager, then became top aide to Congressman Gerry Studds, and later, Bill Delahunt. He helped shape the creation of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the 15,000-acre Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve, the largest open space conservation initiative since the establishment of the Cape Cod National Seashore. He has been active in addressing groundwater pollution on Cape Cod, and helped create health care clinics for veterans and homeless people. Last year, Forest was appointed interim town administrator in Brewster, tasked with straightening out the town's finances.
The pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the health care and long-term-care sectors on the Cape, Forest argued, and local leadership is critically important. “In the meantime, we have a range of big picture, long term issues we still need to address. I put climate change and clean water at the top of the list. But there are others too,” he wrote on his campaign website. “We need to make the Cape ‘Age-Friendly’ and ‘Business-Friendly.’ We need to help each town on Cape Cod that is struggling to meet the demand for affordable housing and transportation. We need to do more to help towns engage in ‘smart’ economic development by expanding broadband and investing in cultural and heritage tourism. We need to sustain the fight against drug and alcohol abuse. The list goes on.”
The third Democrat seeking a county commissioner’s seat is Sheila Lyons of Wellfleet, a self-described progressive activist who made a career in social services working in Boston, Maryland and Hyannis. Moving to Wellfleet in 2003, Lyons served as president of the town’s democratic committee for four years, and vice-president of the Cape and Islands Democratic Council for two years. In 2006, she was elected to the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates as Wellfleet’s representative, and won election to the board of county commissioners two years later. She served as a county commissioner for eight years, and now works at Outer Cape Health Services in Provincetown as a health care access specialist.
“We’ve made a lot of progress on Cape Cod, but there is more we can do to improve people’s lives and protect our environment and communities from the immense challenges of climate change, poverty, and healthcare,” Lyons wrote on her website. “I worked with you before as your commissioner for two terms, and I’m running again to continue our efforts.”
Polls for the state primary election will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1. It is still possible to cast your vote early; early voting ends Friday. Call the town clerk’s office in your town for instructions.