2009-08-27 / Front Page

Twelve candidates file for local offices

By Stacy Jones

The filing deadline for local elections has come and gone and 12 locals, a mix of new and familiar faces, have filed as candidates for positions on the Town Council, School Committee and as Town Moderator.

The diversity of the candidates is wide – the candidate pool includes teachers, financial professionals, military veterans, corporate managers and entrepreneurs.

Four candidates will vie for the three open seats on the School Committee, including two incumbents and two newcomers. The term for this particular election cycle will be three years as the town moves to get in line with the state election cycle through an upcoming town charter amendment.

In the town council race, seven candidates will vie for five open seats, while the town moderator position will go uncontested as only incumbent candidate James A. Donnelly filed to run.

But filing declaration of candidacy papers is only the first step in the election process. Candidates now have to file nominating papers by Sept. 1 to qualify to have their names on the November election ballot – a process that requires candidates to get a minimum of 50 signatures on their nominating papers.

This year’s election will be held on Nov. 3. The following is a quick look at candidates who have filed:

Town Moderator

Name: James A. Donnelly Age: 59 Affiliation: Democrat Career: Did not respond Political experience: Currently town mod- erator

Why running/top issue: Did not respond

Jamestown residency: 33 years.

School Committee

Name: Sav Rebecchi Age: 62

Affiliation: Independent

Career: An entrepreneur in a variety of businesses ranging from retail to land preservation. In 1984, with his wife, Cheryl, Rebecchi launched ShopTech Industrial Software Company, which they ran for 16 years. Currently semi-retired, but operates RWV, Inc. business system consulting and website development.

Political experience: Chair of the Jamestown 2001 Charter Review Commission. Appointed by the Town Council to represent Jamestown on the board of directors of the state-owned Quonset Development Corporation. Reappointed by the current Town Council in 2007.

Why running/top issue: Choice. “When I became aware that there might not be any opposition to the Democrat ticket, I started to urge others to come forward as independent/non-partisan candidates. But with just a few weeks before the deadline to sign up, prospective candidates did not have enough time to make a solid commitment.” I realized that if I wanted voters to have a choice, becoming a candidate for school committee was in my future, he said.

Jamestown residency: 13 years

Name: Dana Kenney Long Age: 41

Affiliation: Democrat

Career: Employed in the human resources department at Schneider Electric, West Kingston, managing organizational design projects.

Why running/top issue: Teaching schools to work with disabled children. “After working with disadvantaged children all over the world through Cherish Our Children International (COCI) and in adult education my entire career, I want to bring all I’ve learned to the local community and give children in our school system with disabilities the advantages they deserve.” Having been diagnosed with dyslexia in the second grade, I know first hand the challenges faced by disabled students in the school system, she said.

Political experience: First run for an elected office.

Jamestown residency: Eight years

Name: Julia K. Held Age: 51

Affiliation: Democrat

Career: Currently an adjunct biology professor at Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island; previously worked as a research assistant at various academic and clinical labs.

Political experience: Has served on the Jamestown School Committee since 2005.

Why running/top issue: Effective management of schools. “I think the job of managing the schools as effectively as possible is an important one for both the current and future citizens of Jamestown. In my opinion, the schools are very good. I’d like them to be great. The system has come a long way, but there is still work to do and I’d like to see it through this very challenging time.”

Jamestown residency: 29 years.

Name: Catherine Kaiser Age: 58

Affiliation: Democrat

Career: High school teacher in Attleboro, Mass.

Political experience: Chair of the school committee for past eight years.

Why running/top issue: Helping schools meet current and future challenges. “I am seeking a third term because of the many challenges facing our district due to the current economic crisis. We have a lot of hard work ahead to ready ourselves for the time when the stimulus money dries up. At the same time, we need to keep the district’s educational priorities squarely in focus.” It has been a privilege to work closely with the administration and our legislators, she said.

Jamestown residency: 18 years.

Town Council

Name: William H. Murphy Age: 59

Affiliation: Democrat

Career: Presently in banking, senior mortgage loan officer; retired Army officer.

Political experience: Former state representative; former Town Council member.

Why running/top issue: Public service. “Also, I have some unfinished business that was initiated during my last term on the Town Council, such as the sidewalks on Narragansett Avenue. Additionally, I would like to see Jamestown establish an affordable housing ordinance regarding inlaw apartments. Jamestown needs affordable housing and an in-law provision would help people stay in their homes and allow young people to remain in Jamestown. Another item I would like to see completed is an addition to the Jamestown Community Center.”

Jamestown residency: 20 years.

Name: Ellen Winsor Age: 55

Affiliation: Independent

Career: Financial planning, 25 years of private stock analysis; supervisor and clinical instructor, respiratory therapy department, Beth Israel, Harvard Teaching Hospital, Boston.

Political experience: Ran for Town Council in 2007.

Why running/top issue: Preserving Jamestown’s character. “Fostering our island’s commerce, protecting natural resources and spending taxes wisely will enhance our children’s education, our homes and businesses for investment, retirement and estate asset purposes, and our island’s environment in a new era of alternative energy options, strict fiscal conservatism and a more participatory democracy. I will work to develop lean budgets… I support a strong business community, a vibrant waterfront and marina. I will foster the ideas generated by the 2007 ‘Vision Forum’ to keep Jamestown’s character.”

Jamestown residency: 25 years. Name: Robert W. Sutton Jr. Age: 67

Affiliation: Democrat

Career: Retired, manages the Jamestown Community Farm. Former chief of division planning and development, state Dept. of Environmental Management; former Jamestown town administrator.

Political experience: Current Town Council member.

Why running/top issue: Strengthening infrastructure and responsible spending. “Funding local government services, education and local utility infrastructure at an acceptable and responsible level of service at a time of diminishing state and federal support. Also, developing the vacated highway garage at Ft. Wetherill in a manner that is consistent with existing uses of Ft. Wetherill and consistent with the adjoining residential neighborhood.”

Jamestown residency: 39 years.

Name: Michael G. White Age: 62

Affiliation: Democrat

Career: Retired from the U.S. Army due to disabilities incurred in Vietnam. Formerly a federal employee with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Political experience: Ran for Town Council in 2005. Served on Planning Commission; currently Town Council member.

Why running/top issue: Preserving Jamestown’s character and affordability. “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 need to find new and inventive ways to fund the necessary programs to keep our town safe and beautiful without further burdening our taxpayers. We share the need to properly manage our water supplies with many communities in our state and in our country.”

Jamestown residency: 19 years.

Name: Robert Bowen Age: 55 Affiliation: Democrat

Career: Did not respond.

Political experience: Currently serves on Jamestown Harbor Commission.

Why running/top issue: Did not respond.

Jamestown residency: 10 years.

Name: Michael Schnack Age: 48 Affiliation: Democrat

Career: Did not respond.

Political experience: Former Town Council member

Why running/top issue: Did not respond.

Jamestown residency: 12 years.

Name: Michael F. Smith Age: 64 Affiliation: Independent

Career: Did not respond.

Political experience: Former Town Council member; former Planning Commission member, recently re-appointed to Planning Commission.

Why running/top issues: Did not respond.

Jamestown residency: 55 years.

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