Potential June 20 voters gathered at the High School library on Tuesday for the first of the two-night candidates event. The event is organized annually by the League of Women Voters.
After a brief introduction by Voter Services Chair Shari Pressman, moderator Jeff Shribman took the podium while the first round of candidates flocked to the debate table.
The Municipal Light Commission candidates were the first of three groups covered in the two-hour event. There are four candidates divided into two separate races. Incumbent Lisa Wolf is running against Walter Homan for a three-year term, and Adam Smith is competing against Nathaniel Burke to finish the final year of the term Smith took over after former member Karl Johnson resigned. Smith was unable to attend the event, and Shribman relayed his opening statement to the crowd.
The first topic discussed was about the renovation of the commission’s office and substation. Wolf and Burke alluded to having some regret on the amount of funds used in the renovation and how they were allocated. Homan argued that the renovation was necessary to provide safety to the workers due to the state of their facilities.
The second topic was about the infrastructure and whether or not it is prepared to take on an influx of electric vehicles in Marblehead. Wolf, Burke, and Homan were in a consensus that the town is not prepared to take on a large amount of electrification and that a priority of the board should be modernizing the technological infrastructure of Marblehead so it can be prepared in due time.
Next, the three candidates running for Board of Health stepped up to make their cases. David Belf-Becker is looking to return to the board after previously serving on it for 18 years. Meanwhile, Thomas Massaro and Thomas McMahon are newcomers.
The main topic of discussion was about the waste transfer station and how it can be improved. McMahon made statements suggesting that the transfer station design needs improvement. Belf-Becker took the stance that the Board of Health did well in reacting to the mandates by the state regarding the waste transfer station and the contamination level discovered after the fact. Massaro, as a relatively new Marblehead resident, explained that his personal experience with the station was adequate. However, he would want the full engineering history accessible somewhere so he can determine its future.
Last but not least was the Board of Selectmen. The six candidates, Brett Murray, James Nye, Jackie Belf-Becker, Alexa Singer, Moses Grader, and Erin Noonan all have experience on the board either past or present. The first question posed was about citizen petitions and meeting accessibility, and all the candidates echoed similar sentiments in support of both the petitions and the technological advancements taken to make government meetings more accessible to the citizens of Marblehead.
The override was then brought up. The candidates again echoed similar opinions, that the override could have and should have been avoided, but ultimately all supported it. The only exception was Nye, who referred back to his 18-year experience in which the town paid all of its obligations solely with revenues collected.
The remaining departments will reconvene tomorrow night at 7 p.m.