In advance of Tuesday’s election, N Magazine caught up with Massachusetts State Representative candidate and Nantucket native Tobias Glidden.
N MAGAZINE: What do you see as the most important issue facing Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and the Cape and, should you be elected, how do you envision addressing and remedying that issue?
GLIDDEN: The most important issue facing the district is affordable housing. As State Representative, I will work to create a state-wide housing bank, just like the housing bank I passed on Nantucket. It creates a .5% transfer fee on real estate sales over $2 million that goes directly into funding affordable housing. Today, young people who are starting families and senior citizens on fixed incomes are at risk of being pushed out of the community. We all know about the Island shuffle. I would like to make it a little easier for people who contribute to our community to build their lives here. And a housing bank is a great way to do that.
N MAGAZINE: How has your experience as a Nantucket selectman prepared you for making decisions on this larger scale?
GLIDDEN: Nantucket has the second largest budget and town government on the Cape and Islands. I learned how to responsibly manage the town’s $100 million budget and 600 employees, and negotiate with 11 different unions. I think that’s good preparation for working at the State level. But I went even further as a Selectman. I started an initiative to expand fisheries protection around the Cape & Islands, earning the unanimous endorsement of the Cape Cod Selectmen and Councilors’ Association. I personally briefed the Governor on this initiative. I worked with Richard Andre of Vineyard Power and Representative Tim Madden to advocate for the passage of the omnibus energy bill this summer, which provides for the development of offshore wind south of the islands. So I’ve already made a good start at working for our community at the state level, and I look forward to continuing that work in the State House next year.
N MAGAZINE: What book are you currently reading?
GLIDDEN: I’m reading Francis Fukuyama’s The Origin of Political Order. I like reading about the history of government. Thinking about the past is a good opportunity to reflect on how we will evolve politically in the future.
N MAGAZINE: What is a lesson that the Cape and the Vineyard could learn from Nantucket?
GLIDDEN: Water quality is a district-wide issue that I think Nantucket has made good progress on. I helped enforce fertilizer best management practices on Nantucket, which will reduce nitrogen runoff. We also just approved an $80 million sewer project. I hope to play a role in helping Martha’s Vineyard and Falmouth improve their water quality.
N MAGAZINE: With the vote on legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts on the horizon, where do you fall?
GLIDDEN: I support legalizing marijuana, because I think that prohibition has been a failure. If we legalize it, we can responsibly regulate it, just like we do with alcohol and tobacco, both of which substances are proven to be more harmful than marijuana use. I want to take the tax revenue that we’ll get from the sale of legalized marijuana and use it to improve our schools and fund opioid treatment and prevention program.
N MAGAZINE: What 5 words would you use to describe your life on Nantucket?
GLIDDEN: Community, sailing, scalloping, masonry, history.
N MAGAZINE: What leader, past or present, do you most admire and why?
GLIDDEN: I most admire FDR because he cared about helping all the people of the United States and he showed tremendous leadership when he brought the United States into WWII. It took a lot of foresight and courage to think about the world as a whole, and do the right thing to help humanity.
N MAGAZINE: If you were to create a time capsule with the 5 items that most represent Nantucket to you, what would they be?
GLIDDEN: One of the green benches downtown that were made by Albert Ottison; the fountain at the foot of Main Street; a daffodil; seeds from an elm tree; a cobblestone from Main Street.
N MAGAZINE: Hypothetical: You have 150 words to convince a voter to vote for you on November 9. Go.
GLIDDEN: I’ve been living and working on Nantucket for my whole life. I served three years on the Board of Selectman, doing my best to make life better for the people of this island. I worked at the state level to protect our fisheries and develop affordable housing. I hope to continue this work as your State Representative. I think it’s very important that Nantucket has one of its own to represent us at the State House. Every other representative is from the mainland. I want to be Nantucket’s voice in Boston, not Boston’s voice in Nantucket. That’s why I’m asking you to vote for me on November 8th.