Experience versus youth? Encyclopedic knowledge versus enthusiasm and curiosity? “Old Orleans” versus “Youthful Orleans”? Voters have seldom faced such a stark contrast between their candidates.
Indeed, this election marks the last stand of the “old guard” in Orleans town politics against the town’s younger citizens who feel it’s time for them to step up and lead their town.
On one side we have veteran selectman Jon Fuller, who has served his town with decades of public service. Fuller has an encyclopedic knowledge of town affairs and enjoys a proficiency with policy that comes with long service on the Board of Selectmen. He is well liked by many in town, especially the older generations. Fuller was denied re-election by the narrowest of margins in this year’s town election.
In person, Mr. Fuller is soft-spoken, with a humble smile. He works as a locksmith in town and is well-known as the go-to-guy when you get locked out of your car or home.
On the flip side, many business owners in town refer to Fuller as the “Sign Nazi” because of his strict interpretation of the town sign codes. We are told he’s not above personally confronting a business owner about a non-confirming sign. Some of those chickens may be coming home to roost now. As one drives around town, there aren’t a lot of “Jon Fuller” signs in front of businesses.
Fuller’s opponent, David Currier, first came to town service when he ran for the Board of Health. After adding a restaurant to his bowling alley operation, Currier felt he wanted to change the Board of Health to a more business-friendly tack. After a well-publicized – and well-televised – incident that resulted in the resignation of two of the more acerbic Health Board members, Currier became something of a folk hero in town. “He stood up to the bullies and he won,” said one Orleans business owner.
Throughout his campaign, Currier has emphasized that it is his generation, not the generation represented on the current Board of Selectmen, that will pay the twenty year betterment charges for sewering the town and other long-term, high-cost projects. Currier wants his generation represented at the table when decisions are made that affect their livelihoods for years to come.
A recent candidate forum showed that Currier does not possess Fuller’s bottomless well of knowledge about the town. Currier may make up for that in his curiosity and willingness to learn, though some of Fuller’s supports gave him no quarter. It was especially disappointing when one member of the audience seemed to assail Currier for being a new father and wanted to be a selectman at the same time.
Who supports each candidate?
The Town of Orleans very helpfully publishes local candidates’ campaign financial reports on their website. If voters have questions about who supports which candidate, the campaign reports list all of a candidate’s donors and how much each one contributed. The well-known names on both Mr. Fuller’s and Mr. Currier’s donor lists should give voters an idea of which candidate reflects the constituency with which the voter most identifies.
A Watershed Moment for Orleans
Both Fuller and Currier have lived their entire lives in Orleans. Fuller is 70 and Currier is 38. Both men are passionately devoted to improving the town, though they differ on priorities and execution.
CapeCodToday will not endorse a candidate in the Orleans special election. Voters will examine both candidates, determine which one shares their values and that will carry the day.
The big question is whether or not the torch will pass – and maybe the balance of power – to a new generation or if the town will call its beloved old scion to duty once again.
Tuesday marks a watershed moment for Orleans.