So you want to be a leader?

Nomination periods open up for spring town elections across the Island.


Longtime Aquinnah selectman Jim Newman won’t seek re-election when his term expires this spring. But while Newman is stepping away, four Island candidates — Arthur Smadbeck of Edgartown, William Rossi of Chilmark, Jim Rogers of Tisbury, and Skipper Manter of West Tisbury — all told The Times they plan to seek re-election. Two Oak Bluffs incumbents — Jason Balboni and Greg Coogan — remain undecided.

“I’ve been doing this for 18 years,” Newman said, “and I want to go in a different direction with how I spend my time going forward.” 

Thus, community members who plan to participate in the Aquinnah election will not be running against the incumbent. The election is set to take place on the second Tuesday in May, May 11. Interested parties can pick up their nomination papers now from the town clerk, and must return them no later than March 15. 

Smadbeck, who has served in Edgartown for nearly 26 years, is running for re-election. April 15 is the current date set for that election, and community members seeking to run against Smadbeck can return nomination papers by Feb. 25.

The incumbent board member in Chilmark, Rossi said he plans to run. “Being a selectman has become a part of what I do,” Rossi said, “and I don’t want to end my term during COVID and not be able to meet with people personally.” He also emphasized his desire to continue working on numerous projects he has begun, including the firehouse and Tri-Town Ambulance proposal, and see them through to completion. For those interested in running for selectman in Chilmark, nomination paperwork is available now, and should be returned no later than March 10. The election is currently set to take place on April 28. 

Rogers, who is finishing his first term on the Tisbury select board, said he is also planning to run for re-election. “I want to keep working on the things I’ve been working on,” he said. “I enjoy the job, and want to continue.” On Tuesday, the select board set the date for the town election, which is usually held in early May, for June 22. Nomination papers will be due May 4, town clerk Hillary Conklin told The Times.

The West Tisbury election is set for April 13. Nomination papers are also available now through the town clerk, and are due back by Feb. 25. Incumbent Skipper Manter, who’s up for re-election this spring, is also planning to run again, and stated his enthusiasm about being back on the ballot.

There are two selectmen in Oak Bluffs whose seats are up for re-election in the spring election. Balboni and Coogan both said they’ve not yet made a decision on whether to run. This spring marks the end of Balboni’s first term on the board, and he told The Times he is considering a run for a second term. Coogan, who is completing his 18th year on the board, said he is undecided about running for another term. The Oak Bluffs election is scheduled for April 13, with nomination papers due Feb. 25.


  1. A great reminder for people to get involved. Change is always good and it would be nice for some new faces in the town. The best interest of the island is new energy and ideas. I would be interested in knowing what each incumbent wants to see happen in the future. Most seem to react we need some who will lead. 26 years, 18 years, 18 years that is a long time and just like on the national level term limits should be installed.

  2. If West Tisbury’s ATM is going to be at the Tabernacle on May 18, will be election still be on April 13? Usually town election is two days after the ATM.

    • Yes, the election will still be April 13th. State law does not allow us to change the date of the election this year.

  3. I believe more young people would run for office if meeting times were held at family and worker friendly hours.

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