With less than three months to the General Election, and less than a month to the Primary Election, What’s Up Newp begins its comprehensive coverage of not only elections in Newport County, but also key statewide legislative races.

Surveys were emailed to candidates in Newport County. We have received several responses, with still more coming in. If you are a candidate and have not received a questionnaire, please contact What’s Up Newp or Frank Prosnitz at frank.prosnitz@gmail.com.

We asked about political, professional and community background, about past accomplishments and issues the candidates hope to address during the next term.

Besides the candidates’ answers to our survey, we welcome press releases and op-ed pieces, as we make every effort to provide voters with information that will help them decide on whom they will support on election day. Candidates and those who support them can email Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.

Here we share an election profile for Justin McLaughlin, who is seeking re-election on Newport City Council At-Large

Justin McLaughlin

Contact justin-at-large@cox.net

Government/political history

Current office (if none, please note none. Please note when elected initially, ex: Town Council, 1964):   Elected as At Large member of the Newport City Council in 2018.

Previous political/government elected offices held, and years:  Served four terms as Second Ward Councilor on the Newport City Council from 2007 through 2014; served one term as an At Large Councilor on the Newport City Council from 2014 to 2016.

Previous or current appointed government positions (including boards and commissions) :

Political Party Affiliation in 2020:  Democrat.

Previous political party affiliation if different from above:  Independent.

Previous elective political positions sought, year and outcomes:  Listed above.

If applicable: As an incumbent, I am most proud of:

*  Working with the City Manager and the City Council in addressing myriad challenges with which the City had to deal during my 12 years on the City Council.

*  Working with the City Administration and City Council during 12 budget cycles and advocating for fiscal responsibility in city and school budgets.

*  Providing responsive service to the residents of the Second Ward during the eight years I served as their ward councilor and to the City during four years of service as an at-large councilor.

*  Service on the City Council / School Committee Liaison committee and overall support of public education and investment in our schools.  

*  Advocacy of Strategic Planning / process-based planning in municipal government and overall government transparency.

*  Participation in the city committee that guided the Broadway Improvement project.

*  Participation in the steering committee that guided development of an extensive sewer system improvement plan to address the Combined Sewer Overflow issue.

*  Participation in the team that worked to revise the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

*  Participation in the team developing new zoning ordinances for the North End.

*  Support of consolidation of elementary schools and construction of the Pell School.

*  Support of zoning that allowed construction of the Saint Clare-Newport facility.

*  Support of the UV stormwater system that mitigates pollution at First Beach.

*  Support of the modernization of the Newport water system with new and expanded capabilities at both water treatment plants.

*  Support of standardization of waste and recyclables containers in Newport.

*  Participation in the committee researching and advocating for regional schools.

*  Opposing (as an active member of CCACG) the expansion of gambling at the Newport Grand Casino (which ultimately resulted in its move to Tiverton and created development opportunities in the North End).

*  Sponsorship of the Citizen Survey process and robust public communications.

*  Sponsorship of resolutions guaranteeing public access/open space at the Naval Hospital waterfront.

*   Sponsorship of the Queen Anne Square redevelopment project.

*  Sponsorship of a smoking ban in parks and beaches in Newport.

*  Sponsorship of the Sister City signage installed at Newport’s gateways.

*  Sponsorship of an ordinance to deal with the coyote problem in Newport.

If elected my three top goals are:

*   Ensuring the election of an effective City Council Chair.

*   North End Urban Plan (Innovation District) implementation / economic development initiatives.

*   Ensuring city ordinances and resolutions that impact quality of life in the City (e.g., noise, parking, traffic) are consistently enforced.

Employment and Education

My current employment, including title, is:   Retired from NUWC in 2004

Schools and degrees:    Boston College (A.B. Political Science) (1965)

Professional organizations, please not leadership positions: 

*   Boston School System (1965-1966).

*   U.S. Navy active duty in Keflavik, Iceland and reserve service (1966 – 1972).

*   Office of Naval Intelligence assignments in Washington, D.C.; Naples, Italy; and Norfolk, Virginia (1969-1983).

Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport (1983-2004).

Awards of recognitions associated with work:

*   Superior Civilian Service Award (1980) (for service with the U.S. Navy in support of Sixth Fleet Operations in the Mediterranean between 1972 and 1980).

*   Meritorious Civilian Service Award (2004) (for service as the Employee Advocate at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport between 1998 and 2004).

*   Excellence in Business Process Innovation Award (1999) (for activity at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport).


Non-profit community organization affiliations and any leadership positions

*    Newport Music Festival * (co-chair of volunteers)

*    Newport Secret Garden Tours * (gardener and committee chair)

*    Newport in Bloom (multiple award winner)

*    Top of the Hill neighborhood organization

*    Off-Broadway neighborhood organization

*    Alliance for a Livable Newport

*    Friends of the Newport Library

*    Friends of the Waterfront

*    Newport Partnership for Families *

*    Newport Public Education Foundation *

*    Newport Prevention Coalition *

*    One Newport School Strategic Planning group *

(* past member)

Related Content

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 - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

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 ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.