TRURO — If voters don’t know Stephanie Rein, a candidate for select board in the Feb. 18 special election, chances are all the kids in town do.
Rein, 49, has lived in Truro for 30 years, beginning when she was still in college. Her civic experience includes helping found Sustainable CAPE, the nonprofit behind the Truro Farmers Market and other programs. She is a member of the Truro Cable and Internet Advisory Committee. She sits on the Truro and Wellfleet schools’ wellness advisory committees and is the “farmer in the school” at both Truro Central and Wellfleet Elementary schools, as well as coordinator of the farm program in the Provincetown Schools.
A mother of two teenage girls, Rein runs a cleaning and property management business and has been a farmer for over 20 years. She is a member of the High Dune Craft Cooperative, which negotiated a host community agreement to grow marijuana in Truro. Back in the 1990s, she, David DeWitt, and Arthur Teubner founded the first Community Supported Agriculture farm in New England, she said.
“It was sort of a new thing back in the 1990s,” Rein said by phone as she was getting ready to fly to Panama for a vacation with three generations of her family.
Rein admits she is busy and said, “I honestly thought I would do this later in life.”
She understands the hours of preparation involved in getting ready for select board meetings and is ready to commit — at least for the 84 days remaining in the term before the next election — because “it’s the right thing to do,” she said.
The special election was called because select board member Maureen Burgess died suddenly of a stroke in November. The candidates who are running will fill the remaining 84 days of Burgess’s term would have to run again on May 12 for a full three-year term.
As of the Independent’s deadline on Monday, only two people have taken out nomination papers for the election, Rein and Karen Tosh, 69, a member of the planning board and a lawyer who has lived in town full-time since 2015. Tosh, whose candidacy was announced in the Dec. 19 Independent, said she plans to run again on May 12, while Rein is undecided.
Rein said she is running now in order to help the town’s working class.
“I have the utmost respect for anyone who volunteers for the town, but I don’t think our boards reflect our full community,” Rein said. “As a working-class person with children, I saw this as a calling.”
The development of housing is important, Rein said, for young people, families, and the elderly. Older people living in four-bedroom houses have no place in Truro to downsize and often end up in Brewster, Harwich, or other towns with more housing options, she said.
It would be nice to have a place for seniors, plumbers, electricians, police, and teachers, so they can have a “vested interest in the town,” she said. “I feel so blessed to have my own home in Truro, and it would be great to have others have a home here, too.”
Rein grew up in South Orange and Wyckoff, N.J., and came to Truro before starting college at Humboldt State University in California, where she studied elementary education, with minors in art and plant and soil science. She attended school for nine years and spent time in-between her studies in Truro.
She said she loves the town meeting form of government.
“At town meeting, you can really make a difference,” Rein said. “To have an impact locally is an amazing thing.”
Rein works in the schools and sees the ebb and flow of children living here. This year, she noticed a little baby boom in Wellfleet, with about 18 students in kindergarten. Truro Central School numbers are up as well, she said.
“We want to keep those people here,” she said. “We want them to be available to the community and to work here. Have you ever tried to get a plumber?”
Factbox Head: Truro Special Election
Candidates so far: Stephanie Rein and Karen Tosh
Deadline to return nomination papers: Dec. 31
Special election: Feb. 18
Annual election: May 12