Candidate profile: Judith Whiteside for Select Board

Apr 19, 2023

After 40 years of working and volunteering in Wareham, and four terms on the Select Board, current Select Board Chair Judith Whiteside prides herself on her experience. 

With Ron Besse, Jared Chadwick and Tricia Wurts joining the Select Board last year, Whiteside made it a priority to show them the ropes.

“I want to continue helping the new people learn, passing on as much knowledge as I can,” Whiteside said.

If elected on Tuesday, May 2, it would be Whiteside’s fifth term on the Select Board. She has also previously served on the Finance Committee, and worked as a public school teacher in Wareham for over a decade.

Whiteside expressed concern about the fiscal state of the town in advance of two urgent projects that will require substantial funding: A new sewer plant and a new, larger police station

The town needs to make choices and set priorities about what it wants to get done, Whiteside said. 

“You have to compare the absolutely necessary things,” she said, “and the things that we would like to see.” 

Whiteside said that she doesn’t like the idea of constructing new projects quickly and sloppily, then having to pay money to upgrade them down the line. She wants to look at the long-term needs of the town, while still keeping taxes low. 

“I think my biggest issue is affordability for the people who live here,” she said. “I want the best for everybody, but it also has to be affordable for everybody. We can’t turn into Nantucket.”

Whiteside believes that her accomplishments speak for themselves. For instance, she advocated for the town’s 2022 purchase of the Little Harbor Golf Course, keeping it as recreational space for the town to enjoy.

She also believes that she has helped make town administration more efficient.

Currently, she is actively working to encourage more private economic development in Wareham, especially on Main Street, in ways such as approving new liquor licenses in the area.  

“I really enjoy being able to serve the town,” Whiteside said. 

Whiteside said that she finds the Redevelopment Authority’s urban renewal plan interesting, and asked if residents like the way Main Street looks today.

“[Main Street] isn’t what it was in 1954, ‘64, ‘74,” she said.