Wareham Selectmen candidates weigh in on reasons for running

Jan 25, 2018

Wareham’s town election will be held April 3 with two Selectmen seats for three-year terms on the ballot. Four people so far have taken out nomination papers: Faith Berry, Marc Bianco, Mary Bruce and Alan Slavin.

Incumbent Alan Slavin currently running unopposed for the seat he holds. Three candidates are seeking a second seat that was held by Judith Whiteside, who resigned unexpectedly citing an unspecified personal reason after serving one year of her term. Berry, Bianco and Bruce are all seeking that seat.

Berry said she had several goals if elected. Those goals include promoting friendly, inclusive meetings, starting a program that rewards town employees for good customer service and seeking more grant opportunities.

Most importantly, she said, is getting businesses to invest in Wareham, which would bring in more tax dollars.

“It is my belief that government works to better the lives of those who live in the community they serve,” said Berry. “I want to promote bringing in new businesses that preserve the ambience of Wareham’s beach town quaintness. This will generate additional revenue.”

Berry said she has a strong interest in public service. She has worked for the federal government as a supervisor, park ranger and firefighter. Currently, she works for the National Fire Protection Association.

The nonprofit is dedicated to promoting fire safety. Berry is seeking the seat left vacant by Whiteside.

If elected, Bianco said he’d focus on expanding the town’s industrial parks, education and infrastructure, working to bring a commuter rail stop to town in particular.

Bianco’s town experience includes the Planning Board where he has served for the last nine months and a stint on the Zoning Board of Appeals in the early 2000s.

He’s lived in town for the past 25 years and is originally from the Berkshires.

Bianco said if elected he’d bring a “fresh set of eyes and ears” to the board.

“As a business owner in town I would bring a different perspective to the board,” he said.

Bianco owns United Alliance Services, a consulting firm focused on workplace safety. For Bianco, planning for the future is important.

“We need to take the 25,000-foot view, so to speak,” said Bianco. “And see where the town is going not only tomorrow, but ten years from now.”

Mary Bruce, who is president of the Wareham Garden Club, has also pulled nomination papers. Bruce is seeking the seat previously held by Whiteside.

Bruce said she’s been wanting to serve on the board for awhile and “now seemed like the right time.”

If elected, Bruce said she wanted to focus on bringing business to town.

“Economic growth is one of the biggest issues facing town right now,” she said.

A Wareham native, Bruce has served on the Wareham Council on Aging, is a currently a member of the Beach and Tourism Committee and is a member of Don’t Trash Wareham, which is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to beautifying the town.

Alan Slavin, who has returned his nomination papers with the required 50 signatures, said he wants to see some projects he’s started through to completion.

“I want to see Wareham continue to move forward,” said Slavin, who has championed projects related to transportation, including bringing a commuter rail station to town.

Slavin said he’s also focused on bringing grants and new business opportunities to Wareham through his involvement with Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District Commission. The agency seeks to create economic opportunity in southeastern Massachusetts, protect natural resources and develop cultural amenities.

“My goal has always been to continue being proactive, develop trust and confidence with our residents,” said Slavin.

Slavin has served on the Board of Selectmen for the past six years. Before that, he was on the Capital Planning Committee and the Planning Board.

The last day to pick up nomination papers in the Town Clerk’s office is Feb. 9. The deadline to return papers is Feb. 13 at 5 p.m.