In going door-to-door in my first campaign two years ago, many residents told me that they were concerned about the state of Post Road. While everyone had similar concerns, most had different ideas how to make a positive change to this corridor. In thinking about this matter, I quickly concluded that this is a complex matter that will not be easily solved. So when I came into office, I asked the town administration to work with me to put together what I dubbed a “workshop” on Post Road. The idea behind the workshop is for the council to get expert input from different points of view, hear from the citizens, and make a decision on what to do in an open and transparent manner.
In September of 2019 we devoted a council meeting to the Post Road “workshop.” The public saw presentations of staff, the chair of the planning commission, and EDAB. They all provided insight into the challenges and opportunities of Post Road. We also invited state officials and heard from the public. From this valued input the council tasked the administration with 13 different items to accomplish to improve the corridor. This is a work in progress that the town continues to monitor.
In going door-to-door this year most of the town residents that myself and my fellow town Democratic town council candidates have spoken to are concerned about growth. Like Post Road, this is a challenging and complex issue in which there is no easy answer. In light of the similarities of these challenges, if elected, my fellow Democratic candidates Katie Anderson, Brad Artery, Jack Kliever, Kim Page and I will mimic the Post Road “workshop” process utilized last year to deal with the issue of rapid growth in our town. We will bring in staff; local experts in land use, the environment, and in property rights; and get public input to weigh how to ensure healthy progress while thoughtfully maintaining our town’s character and natural resources.
Now, some naysayers have said that my background as an attorney for the building trades puts me in a position of conflict. I disagree and will set the record straight. I have never appeared before our Town Council or any other administrative body of the town representing the building trades or any other client, and I do not anticipate doing so in the future. If I thought that were to occur, I simply would not have run for office in the first place.
Additionally, outside of Quonset, to the best of my knowledge the building trades have not built projects in North Kingstown. They primarily build industrial projects such as the General Dynamics or Toray expansions, projects such as the new school of engineering at URI, municipal schools, or larger commercial projects but they certainly do not do any residential single/ multi-family “stick built” housing. Accordingly, the building trades has no interest in the growth of our town that are regularly approved by our planning commission. They only have an interest in commercial/industrial buildings in existing commercial areas like Quonset. Now, if by some slight chance they were to have a matter come before our town, I of course would recuse myself just as numerous other councilors have done on many occasions. But I do not see that happening.
One of the reasons why myself and my fellow Democratic Town Council candidates choose public service is because of the way our previous council acted and the decisions they made. We all believe that we, as a community could do much better. Personally, I would not have taken on this job and its limited compensation for any other reason. If I wanted to make more I would not run and have just simply expanded my law practice, but I did not. I choose public service. And I think the last council demonstrated we improved our professionalism and our decision making. I hope you agree. Thank you.