Candidate profile: Kenneth Wilbur for Mattapoisett Select Board
MATTAPOISETT — Ken Wilbur may not have any political experience to speak of, but he’s hoping voters will see past that to his wealth of experience in other fields when they go to the ballot box on July 27 to choose a new Select Board member.
Wilbur, a longtime Mattapoisett resident, said that his priority as a member of the Select Board would be to get to know the needs of the town and to do what’s best for the majority of residents.
“There is no agenda here. I’m not here for friends or relatives — you know, to get them a job. I’m here to do what’s best for the majority of the population. And I intend to ask lots of people questions as I walk down the street everyday,” he said.
Wilbur has worked a wide variety of jobs over the course of his career, from Air Force musician to substitute teacher to cell phone salesman to baker, each of which he says brings him a different perspective.
“Musicians have to work with people. You can’t be in a group and not get along with the people in the group; it just doesn’t work,” he said. “I used to bring tape recorders and record every single performance and afterwards we’d go back to my room, have a couple beers, and we’d listen to it and critique each other.”
More recently, Wilbur helped his sister open a bakery in Mattapoisett center called Gail’s Goodies and More where he baked artisan breads and pastries. He said that the experience gave him some insight into the business world.
On issues from town finances to affordable housing, Wilbur said he tries not to make a decision until he has all the information in front of him.
One such issue for Wilbur is the idea of consolidating the two Mattapoisett elementary schools in order to move town hall into the unused building.
“What do you have and how much do you need for this department or this office? How many people are going to be there? Are you thinking that ten years down the road you’re going to have twice the amount of employees?” he said. “The town only holds so many people. There is a finite number of places here to live. And therefore, you’re not going to have a major expansion of the employees of the town. So you can’t make a decision like that until you have those facts first.”
Wilbur also stressed the importance of prioritization and moving at a pace that makes sense for the town.
“The Town is moving fast,” he said. “Does it really need to move that fast? I don’t know. I personally don’t think it needs to move that fast. I think we should spend more time on taking care of the things that really need to be taken care of.”
Wilbur cited the new Police and Fire Department buildings as well as a ballooning staff of harbormasters while discussing areas in which the town may be moving too fast for its own good.
“There are what I call the wants and the needs,” he said. “Let’s take care of the needs first. The wants come later.”
When asked about what the “needs” of the town are, Wilbur cited taxes and affordable housing as issues that he has heard a considerable amount about from voters.
Overall, Wilbur’s appeal to voters was based on personality and character.
“Take the whole picture and ask yourself, ‘can this person accomplish the mission,’” he said.