Two candidates vie for Select Board as Mattapoisett special election race shapes up

Jun 15, 2021

MATTAPOISETT -- In a two-way contest for the Select Board, former member Tyler Macallister and newcomer Kenneth Wilbur are both focusing on fiscal policy and care for Mattapoisett’s elderly.

Voters will decide which of the two candidates should fill the seat of late Select Board member John DeCosta in a special election on July 27. The winner will finish DeCosta’s term which ends in 2023.

Macallister is a former Select Board member who resigned in 2019 to pursue the Town Administrator position. When that didn’t pan out, Macallister remained in local politics, joining the Finance Committee.

“I’ve been involved in town since ‘05,” he said.

Macallister also ran for Select Board in 2020, shortly after he resigned to pursue the Town Administrator position. That election was won by DeCosta.

With a master’s degree in business and experience running three businesses, Macallister said his financial experience both academic and practical will help him continue what he started on the board.

“We secured the triple-A bond rating,” he said, during his time on the board. Macallister added that it’s important to have a “good fiscal policy” in order to keep it.

Macallister advocated for the consolidation of Mattapoisett’s two schools, an issue that is still being considered as the town conducts a study on the viability of the matter.

He said he’s been an advocate for the consolidation “for quite some time,” adding that “there’s a lot of good things that can come from that consolidation,” like moving Town Hall to Center School.

Wilbur, on the other hand, said he’s looking at the issue with an open mind.

“I don’t make my decisions quickly,” he said. “I do my homework.”

Wilbur said he “wouldn’t even buy a toaster” without doing extensive research. He said his approach to school consolidation, and all other issues, would be the same.

“Ask me the day of the vote,” he said. “Until then, I’m trying to absorb as much information as possible.”
A more pressing issue to Wilbur, a 68-year-old resident of the Mattapoisett Housing Authority property on Acushnet Road, is elder visibility.

“Nobody speaks for the elderly,” he said. “I’ll be the oldest person on the board.”

The lifelong resident said it’s the reason he decided to enter the race.

Macallister has his eyes on helping Mattapoisett’s elderly as well. He said he’d like to see more money and programming flow to the town’s Council on Aging.

“We’re going to need to fund that organization and probably enhance it,” he said, adding that the town’s senior population is growing. According to the US Census Bureau, Mattapoisett’s largest age demographic is those between 60 and 65.

Both candidates, with a focus on caring for Mattapoisett’s elderly and cautious spending, think they can help make the town a better place.

“There’s a lot of work to be done to get things back up,” Macallister said, in the wake of covid.

“I just think a third opinion would be good,” Wilbur said, for the board.