Dougherty first into race for select board

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Michael Dougherty announces his candidacy for select board

IPSWICH — Hot on the heels of Nishan Mootafian’s decision to step down from the select board, Michael Dougherty has announced his candidacy.

“I have decided, after much thought, to throw my hat in for the select board,” Dougherty said.

Now vice chair, Dougherty has served on the town’s finance committee (FinCom) since June 2016. He is also a member of the select board’s water and wastewater subcommittees.

FinCom is charged with reviewing all town and school budgets. It also holds hearings on town meeting warrant articles and makes recommendations on its analyses to town meeting.

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The candidate said he knew Mootafian would step down this year; the incumbent said as much when he ran for his third term in 2018.

He made his announcement earlier in the year, he said, because he expects to be busy on FinCom over the next couple of months during “budget season,” the time the town prepares its finances for the coming fiscal year.

Dougherty’s term on FinCom expires in 2023, and, if elected to the select board, he would have to step down from his current committee.

He said he would miss serving with that group and would hope to work closely with FinCom as a selectperson.

“That was my only hesitation when deciding to run,” he said, adding that he appreciated the committee’s “wealth of institutional knowledge; its diverse professional, educational, political backgrounds; and its inclusivity.”

“It will be my first time running for the one seat,” Dougherty said of this year’s race. The last time he ran, he was one of six candidates chasing one of two openings on the select board.

He predicted COVID-19 is likely to make campaigning “a little more of a challenge” this year, but added he was looking forward to the race.

Dougherty, 29, has three young children; they are now the sixth generation of his family to be born and raised in Ipswich. He has worked as a legislative aide to state Sen. Bruce Tarr, the senate minority leader, for the last five years.

Candidates have until March 30 to return their nomination papers, and the election will be held May 18, 2021. Meanwhile, the warrant for town meeting is open, and all citizens petitions are due by noon on Feb. 19, according to the town website.