Three candidates vying for two select board seats in Oak Bluffs took part in a candidate’s forum at the Portuguese American Club Monday, fielding questions about town wastewater management, last call at bars and affordable housing initiatives.

The election takes place April 13, with Mark Leonard, Dion Alley and Tom Hallahan looking to fill two seats on the town’s governing board after Ryan Ruley and Brian Packish announced they would not seek relection.

The forum was hosted by the Oak Bluffs Association and moderated by Larkin Stallings, owner of the Ritz Cafe.

The candidates all have deep ties to the Island. Mr. Alley grew up in Oak Bluffs, is a Navy veteran and currently a member of both the town’s energy committee and finance and advisory committee. He ran last year against current select board member Gail Barmakian and lost the seat by two votes.

Mr. Leonard moved to the Island seven years ago. He is an Army veteran and chair of the Oak Bluffs affordable housing committee. He previously worked in consulting in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Hallahan has lived on and off the Island since 1980. Currently, he is the senior director of administration at the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation. He previously worked as a teacher at both the Tisbury School and regional high school, and served as the executive director of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard.

Audience member Susanna Herlitz-Ferguson, owner of MV Salads, kicked off the night asking the candidates for their opinions on the importance of Oak Bluffs businesses. She explained that she feels the select board often makes decisions that do not prioritize business owners.

All three candidates expressed their appreciation for town businesses. In reference to the potential last call change that would require Oak Bluffs bars to close earlier, Mr. Hallahan said that, if elected, he would not advocate for changes that “hinder businesses for no reason.”

Resident Erin Tiernan asked the candidates about their plans to address the needs of all Oak Bluffs constituencies.

“How do you balance making everyone happy?” she said.

Mr. Leonard responded by emphasizing the importance of policy clarity and communication.

“We need to make sure that we have an open dialogue,” he said. “We can talk issues — it shouldn’t be personal — and we can figure out how to move forward as a team.”

Mr. Alley and Mr. Hallahan agreed, but stressed that it’s impossible to appease everyone.

“That’s why this position is difficult and why people said ‘are you crazy’ when I said I’m running for it,” said Mr. Hallahan. “There are going to be times when we make decisions that people are not going to be happy with, but you have to trust that the people who are sitting up here are going to ask people and take information in and make decisions based on data.”

The candidates wrapped up the night with final statements about their decisions to run. Each stressed their drive to fight for affordable housing and Island unity, and expressed camaraderie for their fellow competitors.

Audience member and Island restaurateur JB Blau shared his gratitude for all three candidates.

“I can’t remember a year where all select board candidates were so great,” he said. “Whichever one of you loses better run again next year.”

There will be a second Oak Bluffs election forum hosted by the League of Women’s Voters at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 30 at the Oak Bluffs Library. The event will host candidates from all contested and uncontested positions.