Rehoboth Town Election Tuesday
Rehoboth voters will head to the polls on April 6 to cast ballots in the annual town election. There are contests for Board of Selectmen and Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee. Town Clerk Laura Schwall is facing a challenge from former assistant town administrator Kelly Hathaway.
All polling will be conducted at Beckwith Middle School from 7 am to 8 pm.
The candidates vying for two seats on the Board of Selectmen include Finance Committee chairman Michael Deignan, Dighton-Rehoboth school committee member George Solas, and newcomers Thomas and Sheila Kearns.
Deignan, 56, has served on the town’s Finance Committee for the past 12 years, nine of those as chairman. He believes his knowledge of budgets will be an asset to the board.
“The finance committee is where you control the growth of government, especially the growth in government spending,” Deignan said. “We’re in a really good place financially. We continue to have some challenges, in particular the growth of the regional school system budget. That puts real budget constraints on us on a yearly basis.”
Thomas and Sheila Kearns moved to Rehoboth in 2016 and decided to run for selectmen out of a sense of frustration with the way town government is being run.
Thomas is a professor at Massasoit Community College and Sheila handles negotiations with employee unions. Sheila ran unsuccessfully for selectman in Abington in the 1980s. She also served as a secretary on the town’s finance committee.
“There are a lot of things going on which shouldn’t be going on,” Thomas said, noting one of the selectmen gave his interpretation of the town bylaws which “wasn’t even close” to what was written.
“We think there should be some fresh faces and new ideas” on the board, Sheila said.
“I look at the consistency between the schools and the town as being very important,” Solas explained. “My goal is to be able to help the town grow and experience all the new personalities coming into (Rehoboth).
Christopher Hoskins, Victoria Silvia, and Katie Ferreira-Aubin are running for two open seats on the school committee. Hoskins is the former chairman of advocacy group, Save Our Schools. Restoring funding for the arts in education is important for Hoskins, who is a musician. He graduated from Dighton-Rehoboth in 2019 and now serves as chairman of the Rehoboth Cultural Council.
Silvia, a political newcomer, wants the school committee to improve their communications with the public. “If you weren’t really following everything going on maybe on Facebook or listening in to every meeting, it was hard to really understand what’s going on,” Silvia said.
Ferreira-Aubin graduated from Dighton-Rehoboth in 2000 and works as a licensed mental health counselor in Rhode Island.
Ferreira-Aubin wants to see more transparency from the school committee, which includes getting information out to the public in a “timely manner.”
Schwall, who has served in the position since 2013, said her goal was to make town government “more accessible” to town residents.
Schwall also boasts of “successfully conducting three elections and a town meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic while also maintaining all essential services to the public throughout the pandemic.”
Hathaway believes town government is in need of an overhaul.
“I just think we need a new positive change and different energy within the town hall,” said Hathaway, who served as Assistant Town Administrator from 2015 through 2018.
“I loved working for the Town of Rehoboth and I’d like to be back (at town hall) working for our residents,” Hathaway added.