Provincetown Native Erik Yingling Makes Bid for Selectman
By: Elise Hugus, April 27, 2012
EILEEN COUNIHAN - Erik Yingling, shown here on MacMillan Wharf, casts his lot in local politics with a run for Provincetown selectman.
Erik Yingling is a man with a plan.
The 30 year-old Provincetown native is seeking a seat on his hometown’s board of selectman, campaigning on an all-inclusive strategy to reign in the town’s spending in some areas and increase revenue in others.
The Yingling name may be familiar even outside of Provincetown. Though he claims his Scandinavian last name has no connection with the Yuengling brewery, the family owns the popular Spiritus Pizza in Provincetown (and formerly of Hyannis).
But Yingling credits his grandmother, Provincetown Beautification Council member Barbara Rushmore, with getting him interested in politics.
Get out and vote!
After attending Hebron Academy, a boarding school in northern Maine, Yingling went on to earn a degree in political science from Concordia University in Montreal. He cut his teeth in electoral politics by working on several campaigns, including for President Obama and New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen.
Since returning home to Provincetown, Yingling has worked in a variety of jobs, including as dispatcher for a local cab company, as realtor with Kinlin Grover, and currently as an ad salesman for Provincetown Magazine. For the past two years, he has also served on the town’s finance committee.
Diverse experience, local ties
Yingling's proudest accomplishments on the finance committee were cost-saving and revenue-increasing measures: gaining the town manager’s support to “indefinitely postpone” a proposed new police station and DPW facility (a savings of $14 million) and raising parking fees downtown.
Citing the Prop. 2 ½ override that would have been necessary to finance that facility, Yingling points out that his top priority is to lower the burden on taxpayers.
“My main concern is to protect the low-income people that might have to move away from Provincetown if their taxes increase,” says Yingling, noting the trend of youth flight on the Cape that is, if anything, more pronounced in 3,000-person Provincetown.
Under the same umbrella
One issue that unites all Provincetown residents is the lack of affordable, year-round housing. While Yingling says the town is “on the right track” with available affordable units, he points out the town is both physically and financially limited in building new units.
If elected, Yingling says he would explore incentives for residents to either stay in their homes year-round or rent them at affordable rates to locals.
As one of the few straight 30-somethings in Provincetown, Yingling notes that the town’s future depends on its young people, who are leaving because they cannot find jobs to support the high cost of living.
To address this Cape-wide dilemma, Yingling says he would start an “Entrepreneur Fund” to help local businesspeople get started.
“This fund would provide a combination of low-interest loans and grants to entrepreneurs seeking to open up year-round businesses. This would create more year-round jobs and shore up our local economy,” he writes on his Elect Erik website.
Creating more of a year-round economy means attracting visitors during the off-season. Yingling also proposes establishing partnerships between regional universities and Provincetown non-profits, such as the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, to bring in more youthful residents.
But he shies away from personality politics, preferring to talk about his ideas and experience than age or orientation.
“My philosophy is ‘P-town for everyone.’ We’re all under the same umbrella,” he says.