On Thursday April 11, Oak Bluffs voters will choose between four candidates for two open select board seats.

Kris Chvatal, Bill Cleary, Emma Green-Beach and K. Mark Leonard are running for the two three-year terms. The seats have been held by Ms. Green-Beach, the current board chair, and Jason Balboni, who decided to not run for reelection.

The four candidates responded to questions emailed to them by the Gazette. Their answers, lightly edited for clarity, style and length, appear below.

The annual town elections will be held in the Oak Bluffs library meeting room. Polls are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Kris Chvatal

Kris Chvatal — Ray Ewing

Occupation: High school math teacher

Current or previous town board service or other relevant roles: I served on the zoning board of appeals (eleven years, seven as chair), the planning board (three years), the high school advisory council (three years), and the town hall building committee. I co-wrote the town’s wind power bylaws and wrote the town’s solar power bylaws, both of which were designed to ease and encourage public adoption. More recently, I served on the planning board public committee for bylaw reform. Before teaching, I worked in technology and biotechnology as a consultant and advisor.

What encouraged you to run for select board? It has been both a challenge and a pleasure to serve on these boards and committees, and I’d like to continue to give my time. Over the last month, I have visited more than 500 homes across the town, asking people to share their concerns. The most frequently mentioned are unsurprising: affordable housing, cost of living, tax and insurance burdens, density and infrastructure, among others. Engaging with these problems in an effort to better my community is a worthwhile pursuit. I love living here and hope that my children will be able to settle here as well.

What is the most critical issue for Oak Bluffs? My list would include the convergence of multiple, high dollar projects (nitrogen mitigation, high school campus redesign, sea wall and harbor jetty reconstruction) and its impact on taxes. Access to affordable housing, an inequitable high school funding formula, improvements to senior services and a critical water pressure deficiency would also make the list.

What efforts need to be made to address these issues? For the capital projects, we’ll need to chase down every last grant dollar and lock down optimal bond rates. To help ease the burden on year-round residents, I support increasing the residential tax exemption to 20 per cent and limiting eligibility to homes under $4 or 5 million (now at an eye-popping $7 million). Any traction we can gain in renegotiating the high school funding formula is worth pursuing. Housing will always be a serious, debilitating concern; voter support of efforts such as the accessory dwelling unit bylaw on this year’s warrant is essential. I favor a zoning bylaw change that would prohibit short-term rentals as a residentially-zoned property’s principal use, which depletes the number of long-term rental units. With our aging population, a fresh look at the work and needs of the council on aging and its facilities is overdue. And finally, a new well. We are nearing the point at which there will not be adequate water pressure to fight a fire in the early morning hours of summer. Our only other choice may be to pause new construction, a last resort which most would like to avoid.

Why should residents vote for you? I am a long-time resident who has served many years on multiple boards and committees, with a track record of getting change realized. I’d like to take a role in ensuring a culturally robust, environmentally sound and economically viable town for the future, so that my children and others can not only remain, but thrive. I ask that the people of Oak Bluffs grant me that opportunity to see this through.

Bill Cleary

William Cleary — Ray Ewing

Occupation: Self-employed real property appraiser, Martha’s Vineyard Appraisal

Current or previous town board service or other relevant roles: I have served on the master plan committee, the planning board, the energy committee, the climate action plan steering committee, the community preservation committee, the capital program committee and the finance committee. I am also involved with the Vineyard sustainable energy committee, the Eversource working group and the hospital road working group.

What encouraged you to run for select board? I am and have been an active participant in all the volunteer efforts that I have conducted for the town. We have many significant challenges in front of us. After careful consideration, I have decided to use the knowledge and experience I have gained to try to work respectfully and collaboratively to address the evolving needs of the town. The select board is the primary decision-making board for the town, so why not try to be an active participant with that group.

What is the most critical issue for Oak Bluffs? In no order as they are all critical: Housing, comprehensive wastewater management plan, zoning changes, pond and ocean protection, harbor plan and jetty restoration and coastal resiliency to name a few.

What efforts need to be made to address these issues? For all the challenges in front of us, we need to have a solid financial base, a strong town management team, committed and motivated town employees, volunteers and constituents. These issues will not take care of themselves. We all need to work together to be respectful listeners, positive communicators and have a willingness to work hard to get the job done together. A lot of important work has been conducted in the past five to six years by individuals who should be proud of their accomplishments. Now we need to build from that strong base, have a clear vision and get more people involved. I believe it will take many passionate people with differing views for us to reach our potential as a town.

Why should residents vote for you? If the voter wants a person with a good attitude, a respectful listener, a good communicator, a motivated, hardworking individual who will receive all the information presented, understand what they know and more importantly what they don’t know, and always make the best possible decision for the greater good based on the information at hand, then I am your candidate.

Emma Green-Beach

Emma Green-Beach — Ray Ewing

Occupation: Executive director and shellfish biologist for the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group

Current or previous town board service or other relevant roles: I am seeking re-election to the Oak Bluffs select board, which I have served on for one three-year term, so far.

What encouraged you to run for select board? I was born and raised in Oak Bluffs, and I decided to run for the select board three years ago very simply because I wanted to serve. I have no specific motive except to help lead Oak Bluffs with collaboration, respect and inclusion, and with an environment focus.

What is the most critical issue for Oak Bluffs? I think some of the biggest challenges we face, in no specific order are: attainable, year-round housing, degradation of terrestrial and marine habitats, various threats of climate change and increasing real estate taxes.

What efforts need to be made to address these issues? In order to overcome these massive challenges, elected and appointed leaders, town staff, seasonal and year-round residents need to partner with empathy for each other and creative problem solving. There will be no easy fixes, but if the many bright minds of Oak Bluffs can work together and seek the counsel of bright minds outside of Oak Bluffs, we should be able to preserve the hard-working character, joyous charm and friends and families of our community.

Why should residents vote for you? I hope people will vote for me because as a child of a single mother raised in Oak Bluffs, as a scientist, environmentalist and a woman, I often bring a different perspective to deliberations. I think that my leadership style is collaborative, respectful and patient, and I would love to serve the town for another three years.

K. Mark Leonard

Mark Leonard — Ray Ewing

Occupation: Retired Army Colonel with over 24 years of service and a retired Business Consultant Firm Partner.

Current or previous town board service or other relevant roles: I am a member of the capital program committee, zoning reform sub-committee, chair of the affordable housing committee, and serve on the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority board of directors.

What encouraged you to run for select board? I have a strong desire to serve my community and received encouragement from other board and committee members.

What is the most critical issue for Oak Bluffs? The town will face significant infrastructure projects in the next three to seven years. The challenge is funding the town’s wastewater modernization to completion and developing a strategy for addressing the growing adverse impacts of climate change on our harbor, shoreline and waterways while building a new high school and supporting attainable year-round housing.

What efforts need to be made to address these issues? First, as the town’s chief executive, the select board must establish capital investment, operational and financial goals to focus our town boards, committees and departments on shared objectives. The town must increase our capability to find, apply and compete for state and federal grants to help pay for these infrastructure projects. Current budget growth and added debt are not sustainable for Oak Bluffs taxpayers.

Why should residents vote for you? I am like you. I am a resident concerned about protecting our harbor and waterway resources, modernizing aging infrastructure, working for our family and friends to achieve attainable housing and controlling rising taxes. On the select board, I will provide transparent, informed and proactive leadership in representing the needs and desires of our community.