Chilmark select board candidates Marie Larsen and Russell Maloney laid out their priorities for the town at a packed League of Women Voters candidate forum Monday.

The two are running for the seat that has been held by Chilmark select board member Warren Doty for 24 years. Mr. Doty decided earlier this year that he would not run for a ninth term.

The forum was held in the Chilmark library.

Mrs. Larsen, a retired school administrator, and Mr Maloney, a real estate broker, outlined their competing visions, giving their thoughts on education policy, town development, conservation and affordable housing.

Mrs. Larsen described her first visit to the Island at the age of six, and her move here 40 years ago. Starting out shucking scallops in the winter, Mrs. Larsen eventually opened Edgartown Seafood with her husband Daniel before becaming administrator at the charter school.

“I understand the issues, I’ve lived the issues,” she said.

Among her priorities, Mrs. Larsen said she hopes to protect the Menemsha fishing community, limit budgetary spending, create a capital improvements plan and support young people moving to town.

Mr. Maloney, meanwhile, emphasized his professional and municipal experience in his bid for the seat.

Mr. Maloney moved to Chilmark 20 years ago after a career in finance in New York city. Since then, he has served on the zoning board and conservation commission and sits on the board of the nonprofit Island Autism.

Lorna Andrade with the League of Women Voters moderated the candidate forum. — Ray Ewing

“The town’s citizens live in a safe and beautiful environment flush with open land and in a community that cares for its citizens,” he said. “My goal on the select board will be to ensure that we treasure and preserve those qualities.”

Limiting development, preserving open space and maintaining town character through zoning numbered among Mr. Maloney’s priorities.

Education was a major topic of discussion, especially as voters contend with the $2.5 million price tag for the heating and ventilation project at the Chilmark school.

Mrs. Larsen supported the plan to build a space for the private, nonprofit Chilmark preschool on town land. Mr. Maloney proposed the idea of running all Island elementary, middle and high schools at a central, regional location.

“All the towns are spending exorbitant money for all these schools,” he said.

While both candidates stated their support for the idea of the housing bank, a measure that’s currently before the state legislature and aims to raise funding for Island housing, each expressed some reservations about the bill.

“How it’s written right now, I don’t see how it benefits this town as much as it benefits other towns,” said Mrs. Larsen.

Mr. Maloney questioned whether it would be “fiscally responsible” for the bank to purchase Chilmark real estate, when they might get better returns elsewhere.

The candidates also expressed different positions on town transportation policy. Mrs. Larsen said she might support extending road shoulders to improve cycling safety, while Mr. Maloney felt there isn’t enough use to justify damaging town scenic resources.

Following the forum, both candidates thanked their opponent and the audience.

“This has been instructive, interesting, and, dare I say, fun,” Mr. Maloney said.

Voters that evening also heard speeches from two unopposed candidates, Kaila Allen-Posin for the library board of trustees and Matt Poole for the board of health.

The town election is on April 26, with polls open from noon to 8 p.m. at the Chilmark Community Center.