The race is on for two Barnstable County Commission seats, and two experienced Outer Cape politicians are among the contestants.
Former Select Board Member Cheryl Andrews, 60, of Provincetown, announced her candidacy in December. This week, Wellfleet resident Sheila Lyons, 62, told the Independent that she would join the race. Yarmouth Selectman Mark Forest, 64, has also announced his candidacy, according to the Cape Cod Times.
All three are Democrats; they must overcome social distancing barriers to get the required 500 signatures on nomination papers by April 28.
The only announced Republican for the November election is incumbent Commissioner Ronald Beaty Jr. of Barnstable, a Trump supporter who is a prime target for Democratic challengers. The other incumbent is Democrat Mary Pat Flynn, 86, of Falmouth, who is retiring from the three-member county board. The Democratic primary is scheduled for Sept. 1.
Andrews, a dentist with 30 years in town and county government, has been collecting signatures since January. She still doesn’t have 500 collected and certified, she said this week. The certification process entails town clerks in 15 towns checking the information on each signer, which is a challenge when town halls are closed, Andrews said.
Lyons said she plans to send out emails with information on how to sign her nomination papers. She asked that supporters watch for information on Facebook on where to sign. “You’ll be able to bring your own pen, or sign with a pen and keep the pen,” she said.
Lyons served as a county commissioner from 2009 to 2016.
A Wellfleet resident since 2003, Lyons is employed by Outer Cape Health Services, where she assists people in signing up for MassHealth as a health care specialist. She has a background in geriatric social work.
“I do feel that county government is very important for Cape Cod,” Lyons said. “It’s a regional hub that can do for a town what it cannot do for itself.”
She said her leadership helped create the county’s emergency response system, which now has been coordinating the regional response to the coronavirus pandemic. She helped start the regional network on homelessness, which improved identification of the most vulnerable residents in the county, she said.
She also served two years on the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates. Currently Lyons is president of the Wellfleet Community Forum and a board member of FORWARD (Friends Or Relatives With Autism & Related Disabilities), which is building housing for adults with autism in Dennis. She serves on the board of WOMR-FM.
Andrews began volunteering on the Provincetown Board of Health in 1990 and has served on multiple boards and committees, including the select board for 14 years. Her county experience includes four years on the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates. She has been Provincetown’s representative on the Cape Cod Commission since 2018.
“I’m walking into this with a breadth of experience that no one else has,” Andrews said. “I’m thrilled that there are at least two other candidates.”