Meet the candidates for Jamestown town council
Editor's note: All of the candidates for Jamestown Town Council were invited by the Press to submit a 250 word statement giving some biographical information and to share their concerns and plans for the next council term. In order to allocate the same amount of space to each, some statements were edited to meet the maximum length requirement. Here, the candidates are presented in alphabetical order.
I am a single, 39- year-old father of three children who attend the Melrose school. As a single parent who has lived in Jamestown for the last eight years, I believe I can be an authentic voice for Jamestowners and their families.
I have a track record as an effective budget manager that was first established in Cranston, when that community faced critical fiscal problems. I cut costs, trimmed budgets, exposed flaws in contracts, and implemented innovative fiscally-sound measures. I now work as a health benefits specialist.
I am proposing a super EZPass for the Newport Bridge for Jamestown residents as my central campaign platform. Jamestowners should get a discounted toll rate for two key reasons: as the host community we provide emergency personnel and roadway management services, our frequent/daily use of the bridge sets us apart from tourists and other users. For a flat rate fee, a multi-use EZPass would be incorporated with the town beach and transfer station stickers into one pass. Revenue generated should be earmarked for youth programs and senior services.
The next council must do a better job managing the village water supply. Island businesses are presently the victims of an unfair and misguided approach that is penalizing businesses for their water consumption.
An overhaul is needed to council appointed committees so that timely and accountable decisions are issued.
I will turn 60 in December. I retired from the Warwick Public Schools in 2001 and since then I have been an instructor in mathematics at New England Institute of Technology. I am a 1970 graduate of Bates College, with a degree in history, and received a master's from Rhode Island College in special education. I have two children, Nicholas, 29, and Dana, 26. I have lived in Jamestown for 34 years. I spent five years on the Jamestown School Committee, and have been a member of the Jamestown Town Council for nearly five years. I have lengthy experience within the community volunteering time to the schools, the youth sports associations, and the Jamestown Yacht Club.
The challenges for the next council are multifold. It is most important that we spend time discussing, and implementing policies that will effectively manage our island's growth. As we move forward, we need to have a program that will maintain our infrastructure island wide. Thirdly, we must continue our efforts to guarantee the community a water system that is pure, adequate for our needs, and hopefully more cost effective on the municipal side. We will need to continue our efforts to provide both affordable housing and preservation of open space.
I believe that I have demonstrated over the years, many attributes that make an effective leader. I am a good listener, am able to identify issues that pertain to the problem at hand, and am able to see a course of action that will lead to a resolution of the problem.
I have lived in Jamestown since the mid 1990s with my wife Christine Ferguson, who grew up in Jamestown, and our son, Greg, who attended Melrose and Lawn Schools, and is currently a sophomore at Providence Country Day. Our whole extended family- representing three generations- lives on the Island.
The critical nature of the issues our community faces in the coming years has compelled me to run for office for the first time in my life. In the decade since I have made Jamestown my permanent home, I have witnessed tremendous evolution. The cost of housing has risen exponentially. The demands on the infrastructure of the town such as water, sewer and roads continue to increase.
The next town council is going to face a series of challenging issues. The evolution of downtown and the waterfront; water and sewer issues, affordable housing, the growing incidence of Lyme disease and property taxes that are affecting the ability of our seniors to remain in their homes.
Jamestown needs balance and thoughtful analysis as we move forward. I have a long career in business and government consulting to help provide guidance and oversee the town administration. I have the skills necessary to quickly decipher the most important aspect of problems and then work creatively to develop solutions.
I am a business consultant and a small businessman overseeing the family business, Ferguson Animal Hospital in North Providence. I began my career working as a fi- nancial and business analyst for EDS and Booz*Allen & Hamilton in Washington D.C.
I am 68 years old with 45 years of professional experience, a bachelor's degree from the University of Scranton and a master's in administration from Fordham University. I have served on the Jamestown Town Council for one term.
I spent 15 years in education, including as an administrator for federally funded special educa-
Candidates continued on next page tion programs. I have a state certification as a superintendent of schools.
I have 30 years management experience in the private and public sector. I am a recognized professional in the waste management industry with a very strong background in recycling.
I retired from the public sector as a Commissioner of Public Works from a large urban city.
I have been married to Mary Kelly for 45 years. We have five sons, including triplet boys, and 11 grandchildren.
We have been residents of Jamestown since the late 1990s and have vacationed here for more than 20 years.
As an elected official I have demonstrated the ability to add to the town's bottom line by initiating a grant application that resulted in $500,000 for the new water tower. I helped write a grant for the Jamestown Police Department that resulted in $75,000 in funding for the department. I organized and implemented an auction of the town's surplus equipment, which helped to offset the cost of much needed new equipment. In addition, I am a very good listener.
Jamestown has to deal with the issues of affordable housing, upgrading our recreational facilities, protection of open space, Fort Getty development and the disposition of the former town offices.
I'm a lifelong Rhode Islander, born in Bristol 60 years ago and raised there as well. I'm the proud father of two daughters who live in New York with their families, including three grandchildren. My wife Cheryl and I have lived in Jamestown for 12 years.
An entrepreneur most of my life, I opened my first retail business while in college. In 1984 my interest in technology led to the formation of Shoptech Industrial Software, which Cheryl and I operated for 16 years. Five years ago I established RWV, Inc. to advance internet-based, public service databank projects like CurbQuest. com.
My Jamestown public service activities started as a member of the 2001 Charter Review Committee.
Three years ago I was appointed to Jamestown's seat on the board of the Quonset Development Corporation. I also serve on their Governance and Strategic Planning Committees.
In the coming years, the debt from capitol expenditures, infrastructure and utility repairs will cause major stress on all Jamestowners. A significant burden will be from Water and Sewer facilities upgrades and pipeline repairs.
The double digit increases in user rates have just begun and will continue for years to come. These increases have the potential to ruin our community by forcing out low to moderate-income families and small businesses.
As a Town Councilor, I will move to immediately add a rate payer's task force to the Water and Sewer Board. In addition to other duties, their primary charge will be to fully scrutinize the 20 year impact of the debt and to seek out emergency grants to minimize the economic impacts.
I am a candidate for re-election to the Town Council and I am asking for your support to continue to serve. My work
experience and experience on the Council gives me great understanding of the issues that the town faces and the ability to get things done. I am not afraid to ask questions or look at issues from all angles. When I don't have enough information to make a decision, I seek out those that do have the information or institutional knowledge. I am approachable and listen; fair and objective. I don't make decisions based on the popular opinion. I believe that these are the traits of a good public servant and I'm sure you agree.
I am 45 years old and have lived in Jamestown since 1997 with my wife Colleen and two children, Michael, 15 and Caty, 13. Since living in Jamestown I have served on the Ambulance Association Compensation Committee, Planning Commission, Harbor Management Commission and the Personnel Board. I have volunteered many hours with youth sports teams, church activities and I am a member of the Jamestown Rotary Club.
I work for the leading water services company in North America, which operates municipal and industrial water and wastewater treatment plants throughout the country. As the regional Human Resources Manager, I deal with employee issues on a daily basis and I am responsible for all of the company's labor relations in the Northeast. I received my Bachelor's degree from Providence College, graduating with honors and completed my Masters' in Business Administration at the University of Rhode Island.
I am running for a second term on the Jamestown Town Council, At 54, I have been a Jamestown resident since 1975. Trained in environmental science and land use management, I spent my career working across the United States with industrial clients and private developers in the areas of environmental assessment, hazardous waste management and cleanup, environmental and coastal permitting, and worker safety. Presently I provide environmental site assessments for commercial property buyers and banks. For the previous eight years, I have also owned and operated Paws and Claws, which provides pet care, education, and advocacy. During the seven years that Paws and Claws had a retail location on Narragansett Avenue, I worked to help create an appealing and fun downtown area.
Although still in the planning stage due to a lack of a location, I have spent four years lobbying for a town-owned animal shelter to be built on the island. I designed the shelter program to not only provide safe housing for Jamestown's lost, injured, and abandoned pets, but to also offer education programs linking residents of all ages and backgrounds.
I am a member of the Jamestown Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force; the Red Cross Jamestown Emergency Shelter Team; Jamestown Baseball; and the Conanicut Community Coalition, which coordinates the Island's teen programs. Working closely with the Recreation and School Departments I have spent the past two years tirelessly working to build a Teen Center in Jamestown.
I have lived in Jamestown with my wife, Lynda, since 1970. We have raised two sons in our home on Rosemary Lane and both my wife and I feel a strong attachment to the people and the natural beauty of this island and Narragansett Bay. I recently retired from full time work but I do some private consulting and I am a regular volunteer at the Jamestown Community Farm and a member of the Conanicut Grange, Sustainable Agriculture Committee.
I have a master's degree in public administration and my working career spans 41 years and includes four years in the Navy. I was a research associate at the University of Rhode Island, the Town Administrator in Jamestown for 17 years, and Chief of the Division of Planning and Development for the RI Department of Environmental Management for 15 years.
In the upcoming years Jamestown will confront the same critical problems faced by all towns and cities throughout the country, namely, supporting and maintaining quality education for our children and providing an acceptable level of public services to our residents. I cannot tell you I have all the solutions but I do have great respect for a public process that encourages timely discussion, decision and action. As an elected official I believe I would bring a common sense approach that is open and inclusive and solutions that are sustainable and respectful of our island's natural and human environment. I would also bring the experience of knowing how to get things done.
My name is Michael White. I am married with two grown sons, Jeremy and Lyam.
I spent three years in the U.S. Army and retired in October 1970 due to disabilities incurred in Vietnam. Upon discharge, I returned to college and received my degree in English.
My wife, Lee, our youngest son, Jeremy, and I have lived in Jamestown since 1990.
From June 1974, until my retirement in 2005, I was a federal employee with the US Department of Veterans Affairs. My main job with the VA was to provide customer service and referral activities as a benefits counselor and then supervising all public contact for the VA Regional Office, Providence.
I am former chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Central Baptist Church. I am a member of the Disabled American Veterans and have worked in the past with many independent living centers to assist the disabled in their assimilation into our society. I am a member of the Planning Commission.
Our community is faced with many challenges.
To keep our community young, vibrant and beautiful, we must find a balance between development and development dangers, between ever growing property values and properties that can be afforded by our children and grandchildren.
We must insure that our children and grandchildren can get a quality education at a reasonable price.
I welcome the challenge of assisting the many businesses in Jamestown that are not accessible to the disabled to become so without damaging the very special atmosphere of our community.
My goal overall for Jamestown is an economically thriving community composed of people of all ages and means who will call Jamestown home.
I am 53 years old. My BA from Wells College, magna cum laude in economics, 25 years of private stock analysis and financial planning examinations, provide the background for me, as town councilor, to analyze the budget, investigate new income sources, search for debt containment options, all concerns now and in the future.
I have taken courses in architecture at RISD, urban preservation at Roger Williams University, and participated in a Keds sneaker factory conversion to affordable senior housing. These skills can serve as tools to reckon with Jamestown's affordable housing concerns, my second issue.
My background as a supervisor and clinical instructor of the respiratory therapy department at Beth Israel, Harvard Teaching Hospital, as well as my background in economics, makes me particularly aware that this island's water supply, which guides our health and our economy, must be protected to secure our homes and businesses for the future, my third greatest concern.
The expertise of our citizenry, on a volunteer level, will be sought to add to discussions and solutions. The people's right to address their government will be open, responsive and protected.
My husband, Dr. David Coppe, and I have lived in Jamestown for 22 years, in the village over Ken's barbershop, on Hamilton Avenue and now on East Shore Road.
We lived in Boston, London, England and Skaneateles, NY, in the Finger Lakes, before settling in Jamestown. Our sweet beagle, Coco, shares her home with us.