Developments In The Plymouth Select Board Race
Mand and Heywood Declare Candidacies; Cavacco Will Not Seek Third Term
[Readers, I’m still working on my strategic appreciation of our situation at the beginning of the New Year. In the meantime, important developments have occurred in local politics. Note: I have treated the three candidates/public officials mentioned in the chronological order they declared/announced they were not running.]
(PLYMOUTH) — Plymouth’s Select Board race in this year’s spring Town Election is beginning to take shape, with two candidates — current Planning Board and Charter Commission Member Frank Mand, and current School Committee Member Vedna Heywood — having declared their candidacies, and the current Chair of the Select Board, Selectman Betty Cavacco, announcing that she will not seek a third term.
Selectman Richard Quintal, Vice Chair of the Select Board, is also up for reelection in May, though he has made no announcements regarding his plans.
( Plymouth Town Hall, western entrance, Spring, 2022; photo credit — J. Benjamin Cronin. )
Mand Announces: He Is Running For Select Board
Frank Mand announced his candidacy in a video posted on Nov. 5th, 2022, on his Facebook page.
“There’s plenty of good here to last a lifetime — if we can keep it. That’s what my campaign is about: keeping the good,” said Mr. Mand.
( Plymouth Planning Board Member and Select Board candidate Frank Mand; photo credit — Frank Mand, via Frank Mand For Select Board Facebook page. )
He pointed, both in his announcement video and in subsequent social media posts, to the successful restoration of Burial Hill and the 1820 Courthouse under the Community Preservation Act, and noted that moving Town offices to the 1820 Courthouse helped provide an anchor that has sparked downtown Plymouth’s continuing renaissance.
“We can do this. We can maintain our quality of life, conserve our resources, attract the best businesses… without selling off everything we moved here for in the first place,” said Mr. Mand in a Dec. 27th Facebook post.
“We [are] at a tipping point. You don’t have to be an elected official to know that the streets are congested, the woods are disappearing, our inexhaustible supply of water is — somehow — in short supply – and the character of the community is changing,” said Mr. Mand.
“Yes, change is inevitable: but how we change and evolve is just as important,” he continued. “Yes, growth is inevitable: but how we grow should be decided through the priorities of our community.”
“We still have amazing resources, a unique history, and a wealth of established, non-governmental organizations that should allow us to come up with a plan to grow and thrive, without sacrificing what we love about Plymouth.”
A former longtime reporter and columnist for the Old Colony Memorial, and a prominent conservationist and environmental advocate, Mr. Mand currently serves as the Vice President of the Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance, an organization devoted to preserving the globally rare ecosystem — the Atlantic Coastal Pine Barrens — that covers vast swathes of southeastern Massachusetts.
Mr. Mand was elected to the Planning Board in the spring of 2021. Prior to that, he ran for the Select Board in the (Covid-delayed) spring elections in 2020; he was not elected.
His campaign website is: https://www.electfrankmand.com/
Heywood Declares Candidacy for Select Board
A second candidate entered the race for Plymouth Select Board on Dec. 11th, when School Committee Member and community organizer Vedna Heywood declared her candidacy.
“I am excited to announce that I am running for the Plymouth Select Board,” said Ms. Heywood on her campaign website.
( Plymouth School Committee Member and Select Board Candidate Vedna Heywood; photo credit — Vedna Heywood, www.electvedna.com. )
“I am honored and humbled to have earned the support of many as a school committee member and a community advocate. I believe now more than ever that Plymouth needs a person who is willing to openly listen to the concerns of all community members and collaborate to build a better Plymouth,” Ms. Heywood said.
“I believe Plymouth needs and deserves a voice on the Select Board that advocates for them, whether it be for affordable housing, living wages, or how we attain a pattern of sustainable economic growth,” she continued.
“I want to engage and partner with this community; help create a shared vision for the future of the town, and invite everyone to take part in the work of achieving it. Encouraging community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions still remains one of my highest priorities,” said Ms. Heywood.
“We have big challenges ahead of us as well as opportunities. Opportunities for growth and partnership. The strength of any campaign lies with those who come together to work towards what they believe is best for their community and I’m asking you to work with me to ensure this town is the best place to live, work, learn and play,” she said.
Ms. Heywood, a a Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit Nurse at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, is active in a number of community organizations, locally as well as nationally, and currently serves as a Member of the national Board of Directors, and a national Trustee of, the League of Women Voters. Prior to that, she served in a leadership capacity with the Massachusetts League of Women Voters, among other organizations.
Ms. Heywood was elected to the School Committee in the Spring of 2018, and ran for Select Board in the August, 2021, special election; she was not elected.
Her campaign website is: https://www.electvedna.com/
Cavacco Will Not Seek Third Term; Reflects On Service
On Friday, Jan. 6th, 2023, Selectman Betty Cavacco, the current Chair of the Plymouth Select Board, announced that she would not seek a new term in the Spring elections.
“After serving on the Select Board for almost six years, I have decided not to seek a third term at the May 2023, Annual Town Election,” said Selectman Cavacco in a Facebook post, noting that she wished to give other candidates plenty of time to prepare nomination papers and otherwise prepare for the campaign.
( Selectman Betty Cavacco, center, flanked by Sen. Ed Markey, at left, and Selectman Richard Quintal, at right; photo credit — Selectman, Betty Cavacco via Facebook. )
“My time in politics has been extraordinary,” continued Selectman Cavacco. “We have accomplished so much during my time in office. We were able to finally provide a fair and reasonable wage to all of our employees, develop the first steps in a long-term strategic plan and rebuild the morale across the spectrum of our departments. I can walk away knowing the town is on solid ground and will accomplish great things in the future.”
Selectman Cavacco extended special thanks to her family for their support over her two terms on the Select Board.
“I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and to continue my heavy involvement with other projects. I want to publicly acknowledge my husband and children’s’ unwavering support throughout the years. If it were not for them, I could not have been able to serve this great community that I love so much,” said Selectman Cavacco.
Selectman Cavacco was first elected in the spring of 2017, and was reelected in the spring, 2020, election, and has served as both Vice Chair and Chair of the Select Board, her current office. Prior to that, she served on the Finance Committee. She is active locally in the community, including founding and leading the Plymouth Youth Foundation, as well as serving currently as the Vice President/Events Coordinator for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Parents Association.
The Plymouth Town Election is on Saturday, May 20th, 2023.
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