An upset in Onset Water Commissioners race

May 23, 2023

Challenger David Andrade defeated incumbent Onset Water Commissioner David Halberstadt 88-47 in the Onset Fire District’s annual election on Tuesday, May 16 — and nobody was more shocked about it then Halberstadt himself. 

“I wouldn’t know [Andrade] if he bit me,” said Halberstadt, who has never met his opponent and did not even know someone was running against him until his barber told him. 

The Board of Water Commissioners race was the only contest in the election, which saw 136 residents cast a ballot.

At press time, Andrade could not be reached for comment. 

Halberstadt has served on the board for one three-year term. He previously served on the Fire Station Building Committee, helping to coordinate the construction of the new Onset fire station on Sand Pond Road. 

In a campaign email sent to town officials, Halberstadt touted his experience and his successful campaign against “a contentious 40B permit holder” which wanted to connect to Onset’s water supply for free.

“That stopped what could have been a very dangerous precedent of losing our autonomy,” Halberstadt said in an interview with Wareham Week.

He also implemented “a professional evaluation system” to find water superintendents, such as current Superintendent David Candidas. 

“The water mains have serious problems,” Halberstadt said. “Candidas has done a great job of identifying and prioritizing the projects we have to get done.” 

The water district is currently undergoing several major projects, including one or two new standpipes for fire hoses to connect to and upgrades of 80-to-100-year-old water main infrastructure throughout Onset. 

“There are major improvements and plans underway at the Onset Water Department,” Halberstadt wrote in his campaign email. “I hope you agree this is not the time to vote for a new, untested and rookie candidate.”

Turnout in support of Andrade was the highest that the Onset Fire District has seen in the last five years. 

“It was quite surprising to see him do an incredibly good job,” Halberstadt said. “Somehow, they put out a very effective get-out-the-vote campaign.” 

Halberstadt wished Andrade “the best of luck” at such a “critical” moment in the Onset Water Department’s history. 

“It was a wonderful three years,” he said. “I think the future is very bright.”

Incumbent Prudential Committee Chair Pamela Pike and incumbent Moderator Robert Brousseau won reelection unopposed.