Islanders will elect 5 to council, 3 to school panel
Twelve seats will be up for grabs in November, and interested Jamestown residents will have three days next week to throw their hats in the ring. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have been set aside for islanders to declare their candidacy with the town’s board of canvassers if they plan to run for office.
Locally, the terms will expire for five Town Council members and three School Committee members. Also, there will be an election for town moderator. Just weeks before the Financial Town Meeting – the only day of the year the moderator officially works – Jim Donnelly resigned from his post due to health problems.
All five Town Council seats will be open for election this year. As for the School Committee, its staggered elections will leave two members safe, and three with the option to run again. BJ Whitehouse and Sarah Baines, both Democrats, won in last year’s final off-year election. In November, the seats held by Cathy Kaiser, Julia Held and Sav Rebecchi will be voted on. Kaiser is the committee’s chairwoman, while Held is the liaison to the North Kingstown School Committee. Rebecchi was awarded the fifth seat after Dana Long resigned in April 2011. He was the next highest vote getter in the 2009 election.
The elected town councilors and moderator will serve until Dec. 31, 2014. The School Committee members elected will serve until Dec. 31, 2016.
In the General Assembly, both of Jamestown’s delegates will be up for reelection this year. Deb Ruggiero, who serves District 74 in the state House of Representatives, will seek her third term. Teresa Paiva Weed, who serves as president of the state Senate, said she will “100 percent” run again. She has been a staple at the State House since being elected in 1992.
Also on this year’s ballot will be for the U.S. House of Representatives. Expected candidates for the Rhode Island District 1 Congressional seat in Washington are Democrats David Cicilline, the incumbent, and Anthony Gemma, which will force a primary. Republican Brendan Doherty, a former state police colonel, is also expected to declare.
Districting in town will also change this year. According to Karen Montoya, canvassing clerk, cards were sent out in the mail to notify Jamestowners to which district they belong. Unlike past years, this year’s election will have two districts, not three, after legislators approved to allow a higher number of voters at each polling place. District 1 residents will cast their ballots at Town Hall, while residents in District 2 will use Lawn Avenue School. Melrose Avenue School will no longer be polling place. The recreation center was replaced by Town Hall because the rec center didn’t comply with the America’s with Disabilities Act.
Candidates for federal office and independent presidential electors should file with the secretary of state’s elections division in Providence.
Other important dates to know for this year’s election are Aug. 1, which is the deadline to vote in the party primaries; Sept. 11, when the primaries will take place; Oct. 7, the deadline to register to vote in the general election; and Nov. 6 is Election Day.