John Florez has announced that he will be stepping down from his seat on Newport City Council on January 9th.

“I have been honored to serve these last few years on the City Council. Serving my community has been one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences of my life. In the last three years I’ve spearheaded legislation  that made us one of the first cities in Rhode Island to have Police wear body cameras, we were one of the first cities in Rhode Island to ban single use plastic bags, and I helped make critical improvements to our technology infrastructure which will include a new state-of-the-art website that will go live in the coming year,” Florez wrote Wednesday morning in an email to City Manager Joe Nicholson, Mayor Winthrop and the other members of Newport City Council.

“Howevever, effective January 9th I will resigning my seat as Councilor-at-Large. I’m going to be spending  more of my time focusing on personal philanthropic endeavors such as Boys Town and the Rogers High School after school technology program which I’m hoping to grow in the coming years. Also, for the next year or two I’ll be opening up new office for my company in Austin Texas and this will require me to be there approximately half time. finally, I’d like to thank my colleagues on the Council. While we didn’t always agree on the issues, There’s no question that each of you is deeply  committed to the progress of Newport. Each of you works very diligently to ensure that our city is moving in the right direction”, Florez concluded.

Florez was first elected to the City Council in 2014, and re-elected in 2016. Earlier this year, Florez unsuccessfully ran to replace Teresa Paiva Weed in Senate District 13 (Newport, Jamestown). 

The Charter for the City of Newport states that any vacancies arising from resignation in the membership of the Council shall be filled by four affirmative votes of the remaining members of the Council within thirty days after the Council learns of the vacancy, or in the event of a tie vote or inability to elect, the vacancy shall be filled as soon thereafter as possibility by a majority vote if all the remaining members of the Council; provided, however the Council shall provide for the public solicitation of applicants.

As of November 6th, Rhode Island Campaign Finance shows Florez has a deficit of $228, in financial filings that show he loaned his campaigns (including for Senate and council) of nearly $93,000.

Florez is the founder of Drupal Connect, a technology company, located on Bellevue Avenue in Newport. John is also the founder of the Newport Junior Tennis League and has been active with other charitable groups, including the Potter League. He is on the Board of the Directors for Boys Town of New England.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

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In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.