By Beth David, Editor
Roger Cabral easily unseated incumbent Selectboard member Garry Rawcliffe in Acushnet’s local election on Monday, 4/3.
Mr. Cabral is new to electoral politics, but has served on a number of appointed positions in town, including Finance Committee and school building committee.
In an election that brought 15% of voters to the polls, Mr. Cabral received 709 votes to Mr. Rawcliffe’s 419. The tide turned on the issue of the proposed expansion of the liquefied natural gas facility on Peckham Road.
Mr. Cabral has been a vocal opponent of the expansion, while Mr. Rawcliffe has consistently said there is not enough information available to make a decision. Candidates night and other political discussions have mostly been around that difference, with Mr. Cabral criticizing the whole board for not making a decision, and Mr. Rawcliffe saying his board had at least gotten some concessions from Eversource on the expansion plans.
At the Senior Center’s polling place on Monday, Dana Sargent held a Cabral sign. He said he moved from Acushnet to Dartmouth because of the LNG proposal.
He said Mr. Cabral had a handle on the most important issue in town, being against “putting poisonous gas in our back yard.”
“I was literally losing sleep over something that close,” said Mr. Sargent.
Christine Tarini, an abutter to the LNG facility, also held a sign for Mr. Cabral.
“It’s not just that,” said Ms. Tarini. “I think he has good ideas. We need change. We need someone who’ll back us up.”
Acushnet resident Wayne Richmond said that Mr. Cabral also had a lot of experience with the town’s finances.
“He’s not afraid to take a stance,” said Mr. Richmond.
Debra Anderson said she supported Mr. Cabral because she was “impressed” with how he took a leadership role fighting the LNG proposal, but also because of his experience in town government.
Mr. Rawcliffe’s wife, Michelle Rawcliffe, also held a sign at the COA. She echoed her husband’s view that there was not enough information to make a decision.
“You need more facts before you sign the paper,” she said.
In the only other contested race on the ballot, incumbent Lawrence Mulvey beat out Robert Lanzoni, 561 to 452, for a seat on the Housing Authority.
In the moderator race, which was actually an empty spot on the ballot, former moderator Robert Francis and Nicholas Gomes, a former Housing Authority member and former moderator, both received 32 write-in votes.
Mr. Gomes only recently was forced to resign from the Acushnet Housing Authority as part of the settlement of a lawsuit with James Madruga, who also resigned from the AHA as part of the deal.
Mr. Francis had announced early in the election season that he planned on retiring, but no one took out papers to get on the ballot for his seat. Eventually, Mr. Francis said he would run a write-in campaign.
Town clerk Pamela Labonte said she has notified the candidates and the Selectboard of the “failure to elect” in the moderator race. The Selectboard will now request letters of interest and will appoint someone to the position until next year’s election.
Two races were for current appointees to fill the remainder of unexpired terms: Bryan Deshamps for Planning Commission, and Andrew Gomes for Housing Authority.
The other races, all uncontested and all filled by incumbents, were: Pamela Labonte, town clerk; Marc Cenerizio, Assessor; Robert Medeiros, Board of Health; David Michael DeTerra and Jody Tavares, School Committee; Marc Cenerizio for Planning Commission, Joanne Cioper, Cemetery Board; Henry Preston and Joan Howland, Library Trustee; Robert St. Jean, Park Commissioner; Raymond Barlow, Tree Warden.
There was no candidate for one seat on the Commission of Trust Funds. •••
Click here to download the entire 4/6/17 issue: 04-06-17 Election