Aquinnah voters and taxpayers have benefited from changes in town government in the last few years, including a change in professional management in town hall. But the key has been the ability of the three sitting selectmen to act with a clarifying determination that their decisions will be made, and will be seen as, in the interests of all Aquinnah residents — Indian and non-Indian, voter and non-voter, year-rounder and seasonal resident.
It’s a complicated constituency, and a successful selectman needs to understand the complications and the ways these varied constituencies interact, cooperatively sometimes, but antagonistically sometimes as well. Camille Rose, the two-term incumbent who stands for re-election next week, has demonstrated just such an understanding, and the fruits of her leadership have accrued to the benefit of all Aquinnah residents.
Voters have the composition of the three-member selectmen’s board just right, including Ms. Rose, Jim Newman, and Spencer Booker, a member of the Wampanoag tribe. Mr. Booker, having always in mind his affiliation with the sovereign nation within the town, has demonstrated a fixed understanding of his responsibility to his broad and diverse constituency. Together, the three have acted in ways that apply Aquinnah policies even-handedly, something that would be very bad practice to change.
Ms. Rose is a full-time, all-in Aquinnah resident who has lived and worked in town for 38 years, much of that time as a commercial fisherman. She has a long record as an elected and appointed official. She has served on several boards, including the finance committee, shellfish committee, planning board, Martha’s Vineyard Commission, and several advisory committees over the years. Her knowledge of her town, its people, its issues, and its opportunities is vast.
As she should be, she is proud of what she has accomplished in her two terms as selectman.
“In the six years I have served as selectman,” she told The Times, “there has been a sea change in our town government. We are functioning as an efficient business, our staff works harmoniously and have corrected many improper practices. Our neglected town buildings have been rehabilitated; we finally have a safe emergency shelter in the Old Town Hall with its new kitchen and generator. Through careful fiscal planning we have been able to present a balanced budget without cutting any services and keeping debt to a minimum. I am running for re-election because I would like to help continue this momentum.”
Hers is a commendable record, one which voters will do well to expand by re-electing Ms. Rose. And, Ms. Rose sees clearly the way government ought to work to serve the needs of all townspeople.
“I see no difficulty serving the needs of all of our residents, regardless of affiliation or seasonal status,” she explained. “I believe that individual concerns need to be addressed with equal consideration, and no one is more entitled to privilege than another.”
If there is a more pressing issue facing Aquinnah voters than the inescapable need to keep efficient, evenhanded behavior the hallmark of town government, few voters can name it.
Ms. Rose’s experience, her demonstrated ability, and her crisp and determined fairness should recommend her to voters, as this page does.