Chilmark voters got a chance to hear from candidates for select board at a forum hosted by the Island’s League of Women Voters Thursday.

The event, hosted at the community center and moderated by Deborah Medders, kicked off with candidate statements from Jeffrey Maida and William Meegan, both of whom are running for the select board seat now occupied by Bill Rossi.

Mr. Maida, former manager of the Net Result fish market and member of the harbor advisory committee, emphasized his Menemsha roots and dedication to the community. 

“When elected, I will continue in honoring the foundation that has successfully made our town what it is today,” said Mr. Maida, who was born and raised in Chilmark. “I feel it is important to know what other people involved in town politics are thinking and what concerns they may have. I will always be accessible and willing to listen to your comments and concerns.”

Mr. Meegan, a retired builder and former member of the planning board, highlighted his municipal experience and commitment to transparency in his approach. 

“I hold myself to a high level of accountability and love working with others in a spirit of cooperation and light heartedness,” he said. “My agenda is a desire for my family and all of you to be able to afford to continue to live here.”

Both candidates were given a chance to respond to questions from the audience. A controversy over how Chilmark manages the town tennis courts, and a warrant article establishing an independent tennis committee, was the subject of much discussion.

Mr. Maida called for more cooperation.

“It’s very unfortunate that the two groups are unable to work this out amongst themselves. And I still believe they could,” he said, of the conflict between the  Chilmark Town Affairs Council and the Friends and Associates of Chilmark Tennis organizations. 

“The current bylaws and fees proposed on the town warrant, I don’t think to me that it is 100 per cent in the best interest for the town. I think there needs to be some work done on it,” he said.

Mr. Meegan said he felt the issue largely centered on “human nature,” and should be resolved in the community.

“We have to get the egos out of the way, let’s roll up our sleeves and sit down and do the work” he said. “This is what’s at stake: the harmony of this summer community and the winter community.”

The forum also focused on affordability and engaging younger residents in town politics, along with a host of other issues. Mr. Maida pointed to ongoing infrastructure and traffic issues in Menemsha as being among his top priorities, while Mr. Meegan pointed to excessive town traffic as a major concern. Voters Thursday also heard from Jane Kaplan and Caitlin Kane, two candidates running for a seat on the library’s board of trustees. 

Ms. Kaplan, a retired lawyer and the incumbent, has served as a trustee for 11 years, and said her institutional experience would be valuable as the library begins planning for future capital expenses. 

“I’m interested in helping to preserve the Chilmark public library’s vital role in our community as a crucial aid to lifelong learning, a means of introducing our children to the joys of literature, research and intellectual discovery, and as a source of enrichment for all ages,” she said. 

Ms. Kane, meanwhile, is challenging Ms. Kaplan to make the library more welcoming to schoolchildren and parents.

“[Children’s] presence isn’t always encouraged, and I’m not the only person who feels that way,” she said. “I want to be a voice for students and families at the school.”

Ms. Medders also read statements submitted by unchallenged candidates who did not attend the forum that evening, including Richard Osnoss for planning board and Jan Buhrman for board of health. 

The Chilmark town election will take place Wednesday, April 24, at the Chilmark Community Center, with polls open from noon to 8 p.m.