Martha’s Vineyard votes Democratic in state races, legalizes marijuana

Islanders elect Ferreira, Cyr, and Fernandes, while saying no to slots and charter schools expansion, and yes to marijuana.

Diane Edwards of Edgartown, June Parker of Vineyard Haven, and Woody Williams campaign for candidates outside the Tisbury polls. — Stacey Rupolo

Martha’s Vineyard voted Democratic in all state races, and stayed aligned with the rest of the Bay State on the four ballot measures. Dukes County elected Joseph C. Ferreira as councillor, Julian Cyr as state senator, and Dylan Fernandes as state representative. Islanders voted no to adding a slots-only casino license, and against increasing the number of charter schools in the state, while there were yes votes across the board for marijuana legalization and to prohibit inhumane caging of farm animals.


Joseph C. Ferreira won the uncontested 1st District Governor’s Council race. The Democratic candidate was born in Fall River and grew up in Somerset. He is an attorney, a former police chief, a former special assistant district attorney, and a former Superior Court law clerk, working on the public’s behalf on the Governor’s Council. Mr. Ferreira works as a lawyer at Lynch & Lynch in Easton.

State senator

Democratic candidate Julian Cyr won the Cape and Islands state senate race against Republican candidate Anthony Schiavi. Mr. Cyr won all of Dukes County, Nantucket, and most of the Cape. Mr. Schiavi, by very small margins, won the towns of Barnstable, Mashpee, and Chatham.

Mr. Schiavi is a retired brigadier general with a 30-year career in the U.S. Air Force. He’s a decorated fighter pilot and veteran of Operation Desert Storm, an experienced town manager, and a former police commissioner.

Mr. Cyr is a Cape Cod native and resident of Truro. He was recently director of policy and regulatory affairs for environmental health at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). In 2013 and 2014, Mr. Cyr chaired the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth. Under Governor Deval Patrick, he worked with members of the state senate as deputy director for government affairs at the Department of Public Health. He has a B.A. in public policy and community health from New York University.

State representative

Democratic candidate Dylan Fernandes won the Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket district race against independent Tobias Glidden. Jacob Ferry ran as an independent before dropping out of the race in September and announcing his support for Mr. Glidden.

Mr. Glidden, a Nantucket native, won there by a large margin. In Edgartown, he edged out Mr. Fernandes by a small margin.

Mr. Fernandes, 26, is from Falmouth. He was a staffer on the South Coast for Elizabeth Warren before serving as attorney general Maura Healey’s political director, running her statewide field staff. He went into the Attorney General’s Office to work in civil rights and consumer protection before serving as digital director, where he launched campaigns aimed at moving the State House forward on key legislation like pay equity, LGBT rights, and the opioid epidemic.

Mr. Glidden, 28, is a seventh-generation islander. He served for three years on the board of selectmen for Nantucket, has served as chairman of the Nantucket County Commissioners and as a board member of the capital programs committee, the affordable housing trust fund, the Community Preservation Fund, and the bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee.

Mr. Ferry, 24, of West Tisbury, was chief of staff for state representative Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk), and was a transportation planning intern at the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

Ballot measures

Dukes County voted as Massachusetts did on all four ballot measures.

On Question 1, Islanders across the board voted no, prohibiting the construction of a slot parlor on a site in Revere, keeping in place the current law that allows only three resort casinos and one slots parlor.

On whether the state should allow charter schools expansion, Islanders voted no on Question 2 by a close margin. The state will maintain the current charter schools cap. All towns in Dukes County voted yes, except for Oak Bluffs. West Tisbury was tied.

Question 3 asked if the practice of forcing animals into cages so small that they can’t turn around should be prohibited. Both the Vineyard and the state voted yes, supporting the prohibition of the sale of eggs, veal, or pork of a farm animal confined in a space that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, extending its limbs, or turning around.

Islanders voted to legalize marijuana, as did the state, voting yes on Question 4 and supporting the legalization of marijuana for recreational use for individuals over 21. All towns on the Vineyard voted yes, with West Tisbury approving the measure by the largest margin.