Candidate statements – Town Council
I was born a Jamestowner. I took the ferryboat home from Newport Hospital. I graduated from the Jamestown school system, North Kingstown High School, and the University of Rhode Island, where I studied economics and information systems.
As a former software engineer for IBM, I was fortunate enough to live and work in places like Scotland, England and Holland. This international experience has given me a valuable perspective for the needs of the individual in a community.
In 2008, my wife and I returned to Jamestown to raise our two children, 8 and 6 years old. Both children attend Melrose Avenue School, which makes any issues regarding our school needs very important to me as a parent and as a potential council member. Because my family and my family of friends live in Jamestown, you could say I never left.
I am currently an enterprise systems architect for Science Applications International Corporation based in Middletown. I would bring a local perspective in solving future challenges of Jamestown.
I’ve been active as vice chairman of the Jamestown Republican Town Committee since 2010. For the last four years I have served on the Taxpayers Association of Jamestown, including two years as president. We limited budget increases for the past three years, opposed the wind turbine, challenged consultants and secured paper ballots at town financial meetings for voter privacy. I strongly believe that the taxpayer should be in charge.
I enjoy volunteering in the community throughout the year, but find much of my time dedicated to fundraising for many local and national charitable organizations. I’m committed to keeping Jamestown affordable and family friendly for all of us to enjoy for years to come. Town government must be userfriendly and accessible. Many of its services should be automated and web based to improve access, convenience and visibility into town government operations.
For example, town financial meetings should be respectful and sensitive to voters. I have pushed for paper ballots and other changes that encourage participation and ensure personal privacy.
I believe that decisions should benefit everyone, not just specialinterest groups. I’ve advocated for more transparency with the town and school budgets so that taxpayers understand the value of services they receive.
On Nov. 6 I ask for your vote. Together we can bring balance, accountability and respect back to Jamestown. Let’s end one-party politics in Jamestown. We need local government that’s balanced, creative and practical.
My running mates and I bring value and have a track record of advocating for taxpayers. We are all stakeholders in fostering a more respectful and responsive local government that serves the community.
If you want change in how the local government serves the community, vote Blake, Paul and Lowell.
With many of the issues facing Jamestown, I believe with your help we can bring a refreshing change to local government, one that serves the interest of the community.
As a resident of Jamestown for 28 years, I have had an invaluable opportunity to benefit from the culture, community and citizens of this great island. It is my desire to give back to such a caring community that I can proudly call home.
Entering the business world as a young entrepreneur, hard work, commitment and dedication quickly became a way of life. With perseverance and foresight, a successful business emerged – one that employed more than 80 people. My experience with union negotiations, finances and business development were greatly enhanced. These are the skill sets that I intend to utilize as a member of the Town Council, in conjunction with a collaborative and collective effort with other council members, for both the betterment and preservation of the island of Jamestown.
I believe that the people of Jamestown have a voice, and I am willing and able to listen to your voice. I welcome the opportunity to speak on your behalf. Whether the issue be education, sewer and water, Fort Getty, sustainable energy, affordable housing, the Jamestown Golf Course, the recreation center, Fort Wetherill garage, or any other business before the council that affects you – the resident – my commitment is accessibility and accountability.
I will make certain your voice is heard. I ask for your consideration and support. Remember, a vote for Dan Capuano is a vote for you.
When I decided back in the spring to run for Town Council, with a gentle push from my dear friend Mary Meagher, my first thought was to consult a mental health professional for a second opinion. If it was wise to ignore that inclination only time will tell.
I am fully aware of the limitations of both government and myself to effect real change, like the mill wheels of the gods governments by their nature grind incredibly slow it is both their virtue and shortfall. The one thing government can do is create an atmosphere where a community feels safe and energized to both effect and welcome change. Change is always a constant but the kind of change is dependent on how well the entire community can work together for the good of the whole. I believe that I can help accomplish that goal.
It would be safe to say that my family, friends and community have enabled me to dance to the beat of a different bodhran (Irish drum) and for that I will always be grateful. I do not micromanage my own life so I have no desire to micromanage the town of Jamestown. If the citizens want a manager or a bean counter, then they would do well to vote for someone else.
What I do offer is a different way of looking at things which is not in and of itself what you would want from a policy-making body, but as one of five can be a great asset. My muses are music, poetry and literature, which often get lost in the more concrete worlds of engineering, economics and accounting, but should have a place in our vision for our future because they speak to our collective soul and not just our pocketbooks.
I am not suggesting that others running do not share some of these same qualities to varying degrees and I believe that they all love Jamestown and wish to see it flourish, but planning for the future must address the more visceral elements of why we love Jamestown and not just a budgetary bottom line.
Sometimes I walk a fine line between vision and pretentiousness kept standing only by a quirky sense of humor and a refusal to take myself too seriously. I have no doubt that my fellow Democrats can rein me in when I get too far afield and that if you elect me, I will do my best to make Jamestown an even better place to live and grow.
I have enjoyed very much this campaign with my other dissident Democrats. We have proven we can work well together for the good of the island as a whole, and I would hope my fellow Jamestowners would give us a chance to prove it on Election Day.
I’ve knocked on a lot of doors and talked to many, many Jamestown residents in the course of running for Town Council. I have been grateful for the thoughtful responses I’ve received when I’ve asked what Jamestowners expect from their council and what they consider the town’s priorities to be.
To begin with, they expect what I would call the basics: a council that listens, that makes timely decisions, that is able to work together, and that strictly observes transparency as set forth in the public bidding, access to public records, and open meetings laws. Those are standards that I fully share.
It is my belief that it’s the residents of our town, more than any other factor, that make our town what it has been and what it is today. We risk loss of that true community if the council and town government don’t become far more active and effective in dealing with the developing trend of pricing our residents out of their town.
Government has a way of accumulating programs, assets and activities over the years. A serious review of programs and expenditures is long overdue. I expect to find that some of these are no longer justified or can be made more efficient. In addition to more than 40 years of private practice, I have also held government positions where the job was to evaluate and update agencies and programs to fit with current priorities. My intent, if elected, is to apply this experience to press for a vigorous review of existing town activities, properties and programs.
My commitment is to the residents of Jamestown. I intend to see that effective measures are taken to keep the community affordable to its residents, over both the short term and into the future. I’ve talked to many Jamestowners, some of whose families have been part of the community for generations, who are saying they may be forced to move. Some are already posting for-sale signs. There are middle age residents and young families where I have heard the same comment. Seniors are seriously concerned as well.
The voters of the town gave a clear signal at the last election that there has to be a change of course, otherwise the town will continue to hemorrhage those residents and that community spirit that has made Jamestown the special place it is today and in which many of us grew up in.
As I have gone door to door or talked with people while campaigning, many have asked why I am running. After all, they say, you have done your part. They know that I worked for the town of Jamestown for 44 years, beginning as a police patrolman and working my way up to chief. I served as acting town administrator on two occasions, in 2004 and again in 2005. I worked under 22 different councils. I know what makes an effective Town Council.
And that is one reason I am running. We need an effective Town Council. As I write this, we are preparing for a major storm. I served as emergency management director. I still run our shelter at Melrose Avenue School. I know who is vulnerable, who has family, who does not. I know what needs to be done – and not just in a storm.
I can have a positive impact because I know this community. I have always tried to treat people with respect, to listen to them, to help to resolve their concerns. Under my watch as chief, we established a Juvenile Hearing Board, for teenagers who had done something wrong, but not so very wrong. We were able to keep them out of the juvenile justice system, while ensuring that they made amends. I have worked for a better Jamestown for 44 years. I want to continue to do that.
I am also running because I have three wonderful granddaughters who live on the island and I want them to know the community I have known, full of volunteers and people who work hard for the town. There is a lot to do to make sure that happens.
We need to provide our volunteers with incentives and support. We need to ensure that our education system remains top notch. We need to close the landfill properly to ensure no contamination to our north-end drinking supply. We need to be better stewards of town property and facilities like Fort Getty.
We need a Town Council that sets goals, recognizes the chain of command and provides strong direction to the town administration. We need a Town Council that then follows through and makes sure the work gets done. If you elect me, Kristine Trocki, Gene Mihaly, Mary Meagher and George Levesque, we will do the work that needs to be done today and plan for the future so that my granddaughters can enjoy living here as much as my wife, Anne, and I have. I appreciate the opportunity Jamestown has given me and I want to give back. Thank you.
I am running for Town Council because I believe my background and approaches to problem solving and consensus building will be useful on the council.
Jamestown is a very special place. The challenge is keeping it so in a tough economic and political environment – in Rhode Island, in the nation and beyond our borders.
So I am in the race because I want to participate in the effort to keep Jamestown the protected haven that those born here – and all of us who came here later – cherish.
We have pressing issues that we need to resolve today; and we have concerns we must prepare for down the line.
The Town Council must ensure that there is consensus on the issues – and know when it should take the lead in building that consensus. Actions in the absence of consensus are harmful to the community, and prevent us from moving forward.
We have a spectrum of important ideas and concerns on our collective table: Fort Getty, preservation of the aquifer and closure of the dump, the future of the golf course clubhouse and Fort Wetherill, police and community relations, the accessory-apartment ordinance, and advanced life support training are just a few. All are manageable, but they do require deft and competent oversight and management.
I am a proponent of zero-based budgeting and have successfully tackled complex budgetary challenges. Not only were we able to make significant change without compromising our solvency, everyone involved in the process felt heard, supported and ultimately co-owned the decisions.
I am proud of my track record in bringing these skills to whatever the issues before me are. Whether it was as chief engineer of a Navy destroyer or directing the Peace Corps in Tanzania, leading the U.S. arm of an international development organization or helping to launch the highly contentious move to independence of Rhode Island’s own NPR station, I work with my colleagues to find the points of common ground – even if they appear to be infinitesimal to begin with – and then with everyone to build from there.
An effective Town Council draws in maximum public input into its decisions. It is reflective and creative. It oversees the town administrator’s (and, through him, the departments’) role in implementation and planning. It does not meddle or micromanage. It leads collaboratively, and makes the tough decisions when it must.
I would be honored to bring my experience in government, the private sector and the nonprofit sector to the people of Jamestown as one of your next town councilors.
I hope you vote for people who will work together to ensure that our town government is efficient and effective. I hope you choose people who will listen to you and to each other, and will engage in a conversation with the community about their ideas and yours. And I hope you will choose people who will be responsible for making sure that things get done.
I want to adopt a code of behavior for Town Council meetings, reorganize the agenda to promote public participation and improve the town’s website to facilitate better town communication.
I want to develop a real management plan for Fort Getty, and effective management requires that we reduce the current 105 RV sites by one-third. We should raise rates to make them comparable to Middletown’s Sachuest campground. We should write clear rules for campers and enforce them. And we need to clean up the park, repair the entry pillars and organize parking for the pavilion and the boat ramp. Then let’s develop a long-range plan for this incomparable asset and beautiful place.
The golf course clubhouse is an immediate concern and unfortunately not cost effective to repair. We need to begin discussion of what we want in that building immediately and develop a program for its use. We should begin the design process in 2013, so a building is ready before the lease is up in 2016.
Many people who work in Jamestown, particularly our younger volunteers, cannot afford to live here. This is an issue as we try to staff a volunteer fire department and emergency services. We should promote existing strategies for the development of individual affordable properties. We should encourage the development of a Jamestown housing trust. And we should pass the accessory apartment ordinance and look at additional accessory residence options.
My list is longer but space is limited.
I hope you do vote for me. I have lived and worked here for 25 years. You are my neighbors and friends. If I serve on the council, I will respond to you with the courtesy neighbors deserve. This is a wonderful place to live because it is both a beautiful island and a resourceful, thoughtful, energetic community. We need that energy to maintain what we have, protect our resources and share them with others who are not as blessed as we are to live here.
And you should vote for Kristine Trocki because she is energetic and enthusiastic, with real experience in conflict resolution. Vote for Gene Mihaly because he will bring leadership and an ability to bring people to consensus. Vote for George Levesque because he will stand up for fairness and a sense of community. And you should vote for Tom Tighe because he knows the island so well, yet is always willing to listen and learn. First, third, fifth, sixth and seventh on the ballot.
As a member of the Town Council, I will use my mediation background to listen to the community and solicit input on all-important matters. I intend to research and prioritize the issues so the incoming Town Council can effectively address each one. My goal as a councilor would be to implement and manage short- and long-term solutions, and I will work to set clear goals for our town administrator, staff, committees and consultants. I believe in being accountable and making information more accessible to the public.
I have a bachelor’s degree and master’s in political science and international relations from URI, and a law degree from Northeastern University. As an attorney, I understand the complexities of municipal contracts and how to evaluate and analyze long-term leases. I see the need to conduct assessments to determine each of our town’s assets’ fair-market values, but also the necessity to balance the needs of long-term residents and business owners who have committed their life’s work to Jamestown. Thus, I will strike the proper balance and establish middle ground that’s in the best interest of both the Town and its most committed residents.
I will develop a stronger relationship between the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce, the Town Council and the community. I hope to provide incentives for people to sustainably shop, eat and live locally. I believe we can implement better green initiatives to reduce environmental impacts and increase community awareness so that we are collectively reducing, reusing and recycling better than any other town in the state.
I also want to address the issues of maintaining our infrastructure; working for better affordable housing and senior living; protecting our natural resources; and, as always, striving to make improvements in education and our young people. In addition, I will encourage the council and various town bodies to consider Lyme disease solutions to protect the heath of our residents.
As for Fort Getty, within three to six months of taking office, I want to consult with necessary experts in campground management and park design. My vision would be to compromise with all interested parties and to maximize resident use, while balancing and improving the site and increasing revenue.
All the things that make this community so special and unique can be protected with smart, strategic, open-minded leaders who are capable of working together.
Finally, I strongly believe in the future of Jamestown and the need to keep the island young, affordable and diverse, while maintaining its raw beauty and the collective talent of its residents. It is why we live here. I love this “rock” and its residents. I want to give back to the community that has given me and my son, Teddy, so much. I’d like to be able to look back and know that I did all I could to help keep this community as a place our kids and grandkids will be able to call home.
I would sincerely appreciate your vote on Nov. 6.
My foremost goals for Jamestown are to better manage our town assets for revenue generation, to preserve our magnificent quality of life, open spaces and vistas, and assure that Jamestown remains home to people of all means, ages and jobs.
For Fort Wetherill I seek a lease arrangement with a water-based research entity, with university affi liation, or a think tank as a silently working neighbor. The second lot at Fort Wetherill is part of the discussion ahead and my stance is the second lot is not for sale, nor is any part of Fort Wetherill. My goal is to keep public access with any lease.
For Fort Getty we need to charge higher fees, change the reservation structure and increasingly reduce RV camping. We need to evaluate additional revenue options including performing arts, such as the popular contemporary Shakespeare shows near the Charles River in Boston, more off-season tent camping, and events to benefit Jamestown businesses year round. I prefer to see Fort Getty self-sustaining for energy, as affordable, because the site is environmentally sensitive plus has protected water and land designations, and because significant money is needed to replace underground infrastructure.
The golf course building needs replacement. The estimate is $1.4 million. Building a second floor for revenue generation to help offset debt is part of that analysis, particularly given the magnificent views, so the market for rentals needs assessment for revenue determination.
I advocate that Jamestown promote the Wickford Junction train station so Boston and Providence innovators, professors and business owners know they can commute and commit here towards job creation, with the goal that Jamestown becomes more of a primary year-round community.
I advocate that entrepreneurs test their green-energy innovations on Jamestown and the town receive the green energy generated to offset our municipal energy bill – for example, testing of new solar shingles. Partnering with our neighbor, the Navy, and with regional cleanenergy nonprofits, will be purposeful towards economic leadership. My belief is working with entrepreneurs early on when they and their prototypes need support will lead to job creation in Rhode Island.
The Town Council serves as water and sewer commissioners and must meet more often to better grapple with the millions projected for underground repairs and waterrate assessment. I feel ratepayers will benefit by a new water and sewer committee to help investigate infrastructure options and rate offsets.
I also believe a new finance committee will help serve to research grants and review the budget.
The new Town Council will face the $13 million unfunded postretirement benefits, such as health care and dental care for school and police retirees, pending a court case outcome regarding state pension reform. My detailed reply on this issue can be seen on the videotapes of candidates at Jamestown Record.com.
I have been town councilor since 2009. With my background in economics, finance and chairing the Potter League for Animals finance committee during the $10 million campaign, I am capable of addressing complex issues. I ask for your vote on Nov. 6.
Candidate Paul Sprague did not submit a statement.