, Gloucester, MA

March 29, 2013

Editorial: Selectmen's choice in Rockport

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Too often in recent years, Rockport’s election races have produced too few candidates for key offices, including for seats on the town’s top legislative panel, the Board of Selectmen.

The results have been twofold: it has meant either no choices for voters to fill these important seats, as in 2011, or — both last year and in 2009 — belated write-in candidacies that, while creating some excitement, have nonetheless turned into mad dashes for seats, giving voters little time to closely examine the candidates’ positions and assess some of the issues at hand.

That won’t be the case this year. Donald Campbell Jr. and Eliza Lucas have both turned in their signatures and earned spots on the ballot, seeking the lone open selectmen’s seat that’s being vacated by Frances Fleming, who chose not so seek re-election for a second term after winning her first term in perhaps the town’s wildest race yet — the lively 2009 contest that emerged among five write-in candidates after not a single candidate initially sought the seat that was then being vacated by long-serving Selectman Charles Clar k.

The campaigns of Campbell and Lucas are encouraging on several counts, notably due to the fact that each would be a political newcomer to the town. And they bring interesting perspectives to the race; Lucas as a Bearskin Neck business person, co-owner of the Top Dog and a media producer, Campbell as a parent with close ties to the town’s schools. His wife, Becca Campbell, co-chairs the fund-raising committee for the Rockport schools’ PTO.

As such, both can clearly bring new energy and new voices to the board. But more importantly, both will give voters a choice when they go to the polls May 7.

We wish both candidates the very best, and look forward to covering the campaign. But their ballot presence in a contested race already ensures the town’s voters should be the real winners — before this race even takes flight.