To the Editor:

I am excited to announce that I am a candidate for the Newport City Council in the 1st Ward. I am a single father raising three young daughters and I am running for office so that I can have a hand in shaping the future of Newport. I was born and raised here and I am a product of Newport Public Schools, but I also have the perspective of living overseas and in two other states, so I can appreciate why so many people choose to relocate here.

I was the chairman of the Newport Planning Board for several years and in this position I oversaw numerous ordinance changes and worked closely with city officials and the city council to get things done for the benefit of Newport. My goal as chairman was to make the Planning Board more user friendly while maintaining a high level of due diligence and transparency, and I believe we achieved these goals.

We have great opportunities ahead of us in Newport. The realignment of the Newport Bridge ramps and the acquisition of the naval properties will be an enormous benefit to Newport, but it must be done right. The last time we had a major redevelopment, scores of colonial properties were torn down and a four lane highway was put through the middle of our downtown. As a former Planning Board Chair, I have the background and experience to make sure these redevelopments are done properly.

A major goal of mine when I’m on the council will be to create a Homestead exemption for Newport residents. Any owner occupant Newport homeowner will get a Homestead exemption on their property tax bill. I would also extend that exemption to any landlord that rents a property on an annual basis in order to promote year round housing for middle class Newporters. Our utility bills are continually going up, but one thing we can do to keep Newport affordable is to maintain a low property tax rate.

We need to encourage people to raise their families here in Newport and I will work to make Newport the best place to live, work and comfortably retire.

I kindly ask for your support and your vote on November 6th.

Jim Dring

Candidate for Newport City Council, Ward 1