A two-way race for selectman is underway in Aquinnah. Incumbent selectman and board chairman Beverly Wright will be challenged for her seat by Julianne Vanderhoop. The annual town election is May 15. Ms. Wright, a former chairman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), was elected three years ago and is seeking a second term. Ms. Vanderhoop, a businesswoman and baker who owns the Orange Peel Bakery in Aquinnah, is also a tribal member. A candidates forum is scheduled for May 7, sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard League of Women Voters. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the old town hall.
Ms. Wright said she hopes to continue the work she started.
“Over the last three years [the board] and I have accomplished a lot,” she said. “The town is running smoothly.”
Ms. Vanderhoop said she wants to focus on creating more opportunities for younger Aquinnah residents.
“I’ve seen great people having real struggles to live in this community,” she said. “There’s a real need to find out what’s going on as far as assistance and ability to create housing that can help people stay in this community.”
The annual town meeting is May 13, and the selectmen signed off on a final warrant last week. There is good financial news in Aquinnah this year with a $3.9 million operating budget up just 1.5 per cent or $57,000 over last year. As a result, all spending articles will be paid from free cash rather than taxation.