As a former educator, military officer and native of Newport, I am thrilled a candidate of Mike Smith’s caliber has stepped onto this difficult political stage to fight for the quality of life of hard working Newporters.

As the father of three children, a small business owner and a vocal advocate for veterans and senior citizens, Mike understands the critical importance of making sure every child has access to the kind of education and great teachers who will prepare them for a wide range of college and career opportunities, including a well-paying job right out of high school if that is what they choose.  “One size does not fit all” and children and parents need a wide range of choices including online options, internships, apprenticeships and hands-on career and technical training like those being shared on a small scale by Aquidneck Island students.

Teachers are the unit of change and must be honored and empowered to serve each child based on their unique and special talents.  Our sister state of Massachusetts, the highest performing state in the country, gives us a model of how this can be done in a cost-effective way buy using a weighted student formula. They also allow charter schools and pilot schools within public school districts, such as the Boston Arts Academy, where students thrive through their love of the Arts.

As a veteran and senior citizen, I deeply appreciate Mike’s passion for those in our community reaching the twilight of their years.  The average disabled American Veteran in our community retired at paygrade E-6 and many live at or below the poverty level with compensation of $20,000 or less.  Significant numbers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan resulting in the loss of limbs and debilitating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Most other states have honored these selfless Americans by not taxing elderly and military benefits and Mike will lead the charge in Rhode Island to follow that example.

Please join me in ensuring Mike Smith puts his vision and ideas into action.



Rear Admiral, United States Navy (Retired)

The Letter To The Editor was submitted by Barbara McGann, a Newport resident. The opinions expressed within aren’t necessarily those of What’sUpNewp, our writers or our advertisers. To submit a Letter To The Editor, e-mail

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).