2018-07-05 / Front Page

New council hopefuls step up to plate

Five Democrats, two Republicans and an independent vying for spots

Four familiar faces will appear on the November ballot alongside four newcomers, marking the biggest turnout for town council since 2012.

Following a 2016 election that boasted the minimum number of candidates, the 2018-20 council will have at least one new member. Democrat Kristine Trocki, council president for the last three terms, will not seek re-election. Along with needing more time to focus on her law practice, she said this term has been difficult because of her father’s deteriorating health.

“This continues to be an extremely difficult time for my family,” she said. “They need me and I need them.”

Her three incumbent party mates, however, Mary Meagher, Gene Mihaly and Mike White, will defend their seats. The lone Republican for the past three terms, Blake Dickinson, also will seek re-election.

The newcomers are independent Nancy Beye, Republican Bill Piva and Democrats Cynthia Long-Raterron and Randall White.

Beye, 60, of Clinton Avenue, is the owner of the Jamestown Early Learning Center on North Road. As an advocate for the senior center, she sits on the council’s working group to remedy the struggling relationship between the town and the Friends of the Jamestown Seniors. Her desire to run was fueled by neighbors who say they “need more of a voice” at Town Hall.

“I decided to run for town council at the urging of several people who feel that I would represent them in doing what’s best for Jamestown and the people who live here,” she said.

Piva, 55, of Hamilton Avenue, is a lifelong resident who worked in the municipal government for 30 years, including 23 years with the police department. He also is a former director of the parks department with a graduate degree in public administration. He decided to run because of the division created this past year, including the contentious decision to combine three bonds and the ongoing turmoil between the town and seniors.

“There are important issues in front of us right now,” he said. “I see that the community I love needs help, and I know I have the skills to fill that need.”

Long-Raterron, 51, of Capstan Street, has been an active participant in the women’s marches that followed Donald Trump’s election, She quoted Abraham Lincoln to explain her decision to run. “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”

With an emphasis on sustainability, she said it’s important to promote affordable housing so families can raise their children here.

“I’d like to know that in 100 years our island will still be pristinely beautiful and the families who live here can flourish. We need to do more to support and encourage our local businesses.”

Her platform also focuses on social justice, environment and quality of life.

White, 70, of Westwood Road, is a retired state prosecutor known for convicting Daniel Biechele for the 2003 Station nightclub fire. A 2016 inductee into the Rhode Island Criminal Justice Hall of Fame, White was a vocal advocate against target shooting, which led to its prohibition in April 2017.

Saying he has no “preconceived agenda,” White declared his candidacy because of an empty calendar, which wasn’t the case during his prosecutorial career.

“It was nonstop work,” he said. “I’d leave in the dark and come home in the dark.”

After retiring in December 2014, he took time to “decompress,” but now has the “energy and focus to serve the community that I’ve loved for 38 years.”

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