Four to run for two Selectmen seats

Apr 27, 2020

Four people are running for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen. 

On the Board of Selectmen, both Mary Mackey and Peter Teitelbaum are up for reelection. While Mackey is not running for a seat, Teitelbaum is. 

Former Selectmen Judith Whiteside has thrown her hat in the ring, as have newcomers Jody Santagate and Ron Besse. 

Selectmens’ terms last for three years, and the top two vote-getters will be elected.

Whiteside announced her intent to run fairly recently, and attributed that decision in part to the current pandemic, which she said is creating both a health and financial crisis in the community.

“My past experience as a selectman, my previous eight years on the Finance Committee, and my former career in banking will bring much needed expertise to the Board in the years to come as we work toward fiscal recovery,” Whiteside said.

Whiteside is a retired English teacher who taught at Wareham High School for 12 years. She currently serves as a Road Commissioner and as the Chair of the Charter Review Commission for the Town of Wareham. She is one of the founding members of Don’t Trash Wareham in addition to being active in the Mass Audubon Society. She is also a member of the Coalition for Buzzards Bay and the Wareham Land Trust.

Ronald Besse, who works in management, is running for a seat on the Board of Selectmen. Besse said that, if elected, he hopes to focus on programs and support for the elderly, young people, and veterans. 

This would be Besse’s first experience as an elected official, although he has volunteered on several campaigns at the state and national level.

“I’m here to be a voice for the people. I want to be able to listen to your concerns and help address them,” Besse said. “I can’t change the world, but I can be a voice for the people to help build the change.”

As an official, Besse said he would work on solving problems one at a time, and attempt to increase the transparency of local government.

Jody Santagate has pulled papers to run for the Board of Selectmen. Santagate has extensive volunteer experience with the Wareham Tigers, where she served several roles.

Santagate has volunteered for the Quincy Community Action Programs and Head Start Preschool in Plymouth. At both organizations, she helped people apply for benefits including food stamps, fuel assistance, and federal grants.

After moving to Wareham, Santagate continued her work at Cape Cod Child Development, where she volunteered on the policy council from 2006 to 2009, publishing a monthly newsletter to the families of children in the Head Start program with new policies, resources and information. 

Voting will take place in Wareham on June 23.