Unprecedented Activity on the Horizon
For the first time in memory, perhaps ever, all five members of Falmouth's top elected board are running for something (besides cover). Local conventional wisdom has the current activity level looking something like this:
Whew! With this unprecedented level of political activity on the local horizon, here are some electoral truths for the candidates to consider as they court their core constituencies:
* The Hole Truth - It used to be that as Woods Hole goes, so goes the election. Not so anymore. Back in the early 90's an upstart kid proved that you can win a town-wide election without carrying Falmouth's most active precinct, and candidates have been doing so ever since. It doesn't hurt though, to have the support of a village where 70% of the voters typically show up on election day. However, with the East Falmouth Village Association blossoming and encouraging political activism, and the always interested West and North Falmouth populations ready to have their voice heard, this series of candidates will not have to bend to the wishes of the South Falmouth activists to be successful and can emerge with centrist views and their integrity intact.
* In a League of Their Own - Anyone who thinks that the League of Women Voters does not choose and actively support local candidates despite their loud pledges to the contrary hasn't spent much time observing Falmouth electoral trends. Vying for their support is a exercise in futility, as they select, not accept candidates, but you must be aware of their presence for strategic purposes. A couple of the above are on the League's approved list, one maybe. The others are on the outside looking in. If you're not on the "A" list, just know to be polite at the debate, thank them for sponsoring it, then move on to real campaigning where you can make a difference.
* Where Were you When... - Whether the fab five are on the ballot in May or November, voters are going to look at the candidates' words and deeds surrounding the High School renovation. All Board members recently flexed their muscles at a meeting with the School Building Committee. The proof for many voters will be the follow-through and how each individual member will actively participate in the solution in the next couple of weeks and not be part of the problem.
* Be FOR Something - Of this list that boasts political veterans and neophytes alike, some have distinguished themselves by signature projects, some just by opposing things. In order to have long-term appeal, it is important to be identified with a constituency, a cause, a belief. Being against something in the name of protecting things gets tired. The veterans here know that - Pat Flynn is synonymous with economic development; Kevin Murphy is one with the business community. Can you name something that Catherine Bumpus is for?
* This is not Your Father's Falmouth - A generation ago, you could define a candidate's chances for success village by village. Back in the day, the son of a strawberry farmer had inroads to make west of the highway. As the town has grown and the demographics have changed, it is possible to do well, for example, in East Falmouth and to the North. The 60+ population is key everywhere in town now, and the geographic divisions have blurred. A successful candidate will appeal to what is important to all of Falmouth - affordability, sustainability, and a thoughtful and open ear.
These are a few of the many things to consider as all of our leaders offer themselves for our consideration. Whether we say "yea" or "nea" is up to how they consider them.