When Newport voters go the polls on November 8th, they will see that they have the option to choose four out of seven candidates (or write-in their own candidate) to fill the four At-Large seats on the Newport City Council. It should be noted that one of those candidates, Kimberly L. Shute, has dropped out of the race.

Jamie Bova, Claude Andrews Lavarre and Henry Winthrop are running against current City Councilors – John Florez, Jeanne Marie Napolitano and Justin McLaughlin. While Lynn Ceglie is running unopposed in Ward 2 and Kate Leonard is running unopposed in Ward 3, those who live in the 1st Ward of Newport will choose between Marco Camacho and Susan Taylor. All seats are for two year terms.

What’sUpNewp posed several questions to the Newport City Council Candidates over the last few days. Below are their responses to the following question: “What are your 3 biggest priorities if elected/re-elected?”

ICYMI: Here’s their responses to Question 1: What do you see as the 3 biggest challenges for the community moving forward?

Question 2: What are your 3 biggest priorities if elected/re-elected?

City Council At- Large

In order of how they appear on the November 8th Ballot.

Jamie Bova

If elected to City Council, my three biggest priorities will be transparency in government, environmental sustainability, and economic viability. I intend to be a voice for transparency on the Council. We need to make a concerted effort to move Newport in the direction of substantive two-way communication between residents and city government. We need to modernize the way our city communicates and develop clear processes and guidelines for communication. Interacting with the city and understanding what is happening within Newport must be easy for our residents.

Newport needs to address the effects that climate change is having on our city and work towards becoming a more environmentally sustainable city. We can do this by implementing more green-minded resolutions and ordinances and by working towards incorporating more green infrastructure throughout the city. Green infrastructure includes advancing alternative energy and improving stormwater drainage. Investment in the environment will show visitors, businesses, and residents alike that we are committed to keeping Newport a beautiful place for the years to come.

Our city’s economic viability will improve by working toward the goals of clear communication and environmental sustainability. A transparent, process-driven city will attract more businesses and make it easier our current businesses to flourish. Investing in green infrastructure brings jobs. We need to work towards making Newport’s economy a year-round one. The Innovation Hub and other North End redevelopment projects will impact and change our city’s economy and we need to make sure that they do so in a way that benefits all Newporters.

John Florez

Chose not to provide us with responses to any of our questions.

Claude Andrews Lavarre

Lists, lists, and more lists.
We need lists of the city’s policy issues: written out explicitly, prioritized, published, and scheduled for addressal to encourage oversight and engagement by the citizenry.
We need lists of the educational issues, similarly exposed to encourage public dialog and engagement.
We need lists of the infrastructure issues, similarly exposed to encourage public dialog and engagement.

This way people will know the answers to “when are they going to fix this stupit sidewalk? When are they going to fix this stupit street?”

In short, prior public planning prevents poor performance. Wicked cool.

Justin McLaughlin

families: continue to invest in our schools, support job creation, and explore housing options for our work force and young professionals; homestead exemption: implement a homestead exemption to reduce property tax burden for resident homeowners; economic development: ensure there is a clear vision and plan; keep the community engaged; and perform the due diligence required; and flooding: address
coastal flooding and the impact of storm water in our neighborhoods, and identify funding needed to execute our plans.
Jeanne Marie Napolitano

1. Ensuring the educational needs of our students is met providing them with the necessary tools to compete in the future.

2. Developing and growing our tax base to keep Newport affordable for families.

3. Continuing to work on infrastructure issues affecting all residents. Using new and innovative technologies to address water and waste water issues, making our sidewalks and roads safer and more accessible to all forms of travel.

Kimberly Shute

Reports indicate that she has dropped out of the race.

Henry Winthrop

Chose not to provide us with responses to any of our questions.

Ward 1

Marco Camacho

1. Continue and complete underground, seawall, and road infrastructure upgrades throughout all First Ward neighborhoods. Outside investors and their workforce will expect and demand that our neighborhoods are on par with our 21 st Century vision for the Newport Innovation Hub.
2. Acquire and redevelop the Old Navy Hospital property, complete the Sheffield School Tech Incubator project, and complete the Pell Bridge ramp realignments. I am determined to have these projects completed by 2020.
3. Investments and reforms in our public education system must continue. The biggest determining factor young families look at when deciding where to live is the quality of education offered by the municipality. We can’t afford to slip back to the era of school cuts. The same smart budgeting and fiscal discipline we’ve exercised these last four years will allow us to continue this positive investment.

Susan Taylor

A review of the protocols regarding communications between the City officials and the residents, to reduce the frustration experienced on both sides.

Smart urban design so that the North End will have more attractive access for pedestrians, to shopping and recreation and jobs, and the neighborhoods can begin to feel connected, with the improvement of traffic flow for tourists and residents alike.

Getting started with Newport’s response to sea level rise, looking into funding for a Chief Resilience Officer.  Newport needs to find solutions that address our unique threats, assets, and resources.  We need our institutions, our universities, and most of all our citizens to understand the challenges and contribute to solutions.  This will require widespread community buy-in, as sea level rise affects the entire community fabric.

Ward 2

Lynn Ceglie

Continuing to represent the residents and business of the 2nd Ward.  Traffic issues, parking, and the Broadway streetscape have been high priorities over the last 2 years.
Working on the above “challenges” with my fellow council members.
Making Newport a great destination while being mindful that we are also a small community that deserves a high quality of life.

Ward 3

Kathryn Leonard

A. Budget stability

B. City and School accountability  — Are our tax dollars being spent wisely — what are the measurements of success and are they being met?

C. Economic growth, using our available resources to succeed in bringing better job opportunities to our citizens.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).