Dianne Powers Is Elected West Tisbury Selectman

By IAN FEIN

Faced with the difficult task of replacing a longtime town leader, West Tisbury voters yesterday elected Dianne E. Powers to the board of selectmen.

Ms. Powers, the Dukes County register of deeds, more than doubled the vote tally of her opponent, Cynthia Riggs, to earn a seat on the board. The final count was 410 to 190.

"I'm just thrilled and a little overwhelmed," Ms. Powers said last night. "I'm thankful for the support, and I hope to live up to it."

She acknowledged that she has a big pair of shoes to fill, as she is taking over the seat vacated by John Early, who stepped down this week after 30 years as a West Tisbury selectman. Town leaders from across the Island turned out for a ceremony on Wednesday honoring Mr. Early's three decades of service.

"You can't say enough about John and what he's given to the town, and the whole Island, over the last 30 years," said Ms. Powers.

Ms. Riggs last night congratulated Ms. Powers and praised her for running a clean campaign. Despite her third loss in a selectmen's race, Ms. Riggs said she will continue to stay active as a town citizen.

"I will still go to all the selectmen's meetings and criticize people when I feel they need to be criticized, and compliment them when they deserve to be complimented," she said.

Despite a steady onslaught of rain, more than 600 voters, or roughly 30 per cent of registered voters, turned out for the annual town election yesterday.

Town assessor Cynthia Mitchell earned reelection by defeating her opponent, Jonathan Revere, by a count of 358 to 230.

"I appreciate the confidence, and am glad to continue the work that I started on the board this year," said Mrs. Mitchell, a former town selectman. "I look forward to helping to explain what the assessors really do."

After his third unsuccessful race for assessor, Mr. Revere also promised he would remain involved in town affairs. "Stay tuned," he said. "I always have a plan B."

In a three-way race for the town finance committee, Ann K. Nelson and Sharon Estrella outpaced Joan Ames for seats on the board. Their vote tallies were 426, 302, and 262, respectively.

Town poet laureate Daniel Waters and town planning board member Virginia Jones both earned election as library trustees, ousting incumbent Ernest Mendenhall. Their vote counts were 422, 328 and 287, respectively.

Elected without contest yesterday were town moderator F. Patrick Gregory, board of health member David Merry, treasurer Katherine Logue, tax collector Brent Taylor, town clerk Prudence Whiting, tree warden Jeremiah Brown, planning board members Leah Smith and Mrs. Jones, and park and recreation committee member Robert Holt.