With less than three months to the General Election, and even less 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 accomplishmentss and issues the candidates hope to address during the next term.

We will be running the candidates’ answers, grouping according to races. We begin with Newport’s Ward 1, a race between incumbent Councilwoman Angela McCalla, and former School Committeeman Hugo J. DeAscentis Jr.

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.

We begin, with Newport’s Ward 1

Newport City Council – Ward 1

Angela McCalla

Campaign website: angelamccalla.com

Government/political history

Newport City Council, First Ward, since 2018

Previous political/government elected offices held, and years:  N/A

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

  • Affirmative Action Commission
  • School Liaison Committee
  • Energy & Environment Commission
  • Legislative Liaison
  • Miantonomi Park Commission
  • Newport Public Education Foundation
  • North End Zoning Working Group.

Political Party Affiliation in 2020:  Democrat

Previous political party affiliation if different from above:  N/A

As an incumbent, I am most proud of:

I supported the Bond Issue for our schools, safe streets for our neighborhoods, protecting access to the waterfront, Mobile Food Trucks, the Fair Chance Licensing Act, and a resolution condemning Hate Speech and the need for implicit bias training for all city employees. I have also supported opportunities with green initiatives for Newport, Green Energy aggregation, Green Infrastructure in the North End, and the Municipal Resiliency Program. Besides my work on the Council, I am proud to be the only woman of color that has served on the City Council in over 50 years and I am the first LGBTQIA female representative to the council.

If elected my three top goals are:

My vision for the City has three elements.

  • First, the City must put the needs of its residents first. All economic development initiatives must be considered in the prism of how it will affect our residents and our neighborhoods before we allow any new projects.
  •  Second, we need to restore the quality of our public schools. We have let them slip into a state of disrepair that is simply unacceptable. We need to start by supporting our school construction bond this November.
  • Third, we need to immediately create a plan to reduce the tax burden for owner occupied homes in Newport. Let us look to immediately put in place some form of a homestead exemption that can reduce the burden for our home owning residents.

Employment and Education

My current employment, including title, is Foster Care Recruiter and Trainer for Child & Family

Schools and degrees:

Bachelor’s degrees in psychology and chemical dependency/addiction studies from Rhode Island College, and a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance.

Awards of recognitions associated with work: 

Girl Scouts of Southern New England Leading Women of Distinction, 2020

Community

Non-profit community organization affiliations and any leadership positions:

Born to Rise- (2020)- Member/ Guest Speaker/storyteller- a nonprofit community of women who are on a mission to make positive change in the world by stepping into the feminine energies of compassion, empathy and courage for themselves and others through storytelling.

North End Neighborhood Association (N.E.N.A) (2018-current) To teach and empower residents of the North End to voice their concerns, share resources, and provide an easier way of keeping residents more connected and informed.

The Point Neighborhood Association: (2018-current)- Member

Democratic City Committee (2018-current)

Rhode Island Parent Advisory Council MemberNewport Public Schools (2018- current): Meetings held by the Newport Public Schools to help educate parents about policies and procedures in the school system and connecting parents to school administration. 

Lucy’s Hearth, Middletown, RI, Board Member (9/2016-12/2018) Establish, assess, and maintain the financial stability of the program and its strategic goals in relation to providing shelter and services for families and their children affected by economic hardship, family crisis, divorce, and domestic violence.

Sankofa Connections Newport, RI, Board Member (6/2016-6/2018) Initiate and engage the residents of Newport County through community engagements with discussion of racial oppression, institutional racism, and to promote the African American cultural heritage from early Newport.

Rhode Island Korean American Association, Volunteer (2012- 2017) Celebrate, honor, and promote Korean culture in Rhode Island.

Steven K. Latimer Foundation, Volunteer (2015, 2016) The Foundation holds the SKL Memorial 5k Families Against Violence run/walk to raise funds to provide educational scholarships to children in Rhode Island who have lost a parent, guardian or loved one due to an act of violence.

Rhode Island Young Professionals Providence, RI, Treasurer (12/15-12/18 Mission is to provide economic empowerment, educational opportunities, and a guarantee of civil rights for African Americans and underserved communities. Under the direction of the Finance Committee Board of Directors and the Executive Committee duties include: To collect, receive, and disperse funds of RIYP. Develop and communicate monthly reports and accounts of the financial condition of RIYP. 

Off the Curb Outreach Program, Volunteer (2015) A non-profit organization designed to provide an alternative for developing positive prosocial skills through dance and art. 


Hugo J DeAscentis Jr.

Campaign website: Please go to my face book page and see the separate page Campaign 2020 for Newport City Council –   First Ward

Government/political history

Previous political/government elected, offices held, and years:  

Former elected member of Newport School Committee serving a total of 13 years with last term ending December 2010.

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

  • Interest in public office began after serving on Newport’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (mid 1990’s)

Political Party Affiliation in 2020: Unaffiliated (Newport elections are nonpartisan)

Previous elective political positions sought, year and outcomes:

  • November 2018, unsuccessful run for Newport City Council at large

If elected my three top goals are:

  • Keeping Newport citizens aware of all planning and resulting decisions regarding activities within the City of Newport.  Promote citizen awareness and involvement in “their” local government.
  • Keep Newport small, manageable, desirable, and affordable.
  • Ensuring that the City of Newport can continually and fully operate given the severe challenges of COVID19.

                               Employment and Education

My current employment, including title, is:

Retired after a 40-year career testing, analyzing, and providing safe public drinking water

Schools and degrees:

  • Attended Newport Public School K-12
  • 1972 graduate Newport’s Rogers High School
  • 1976 Graduate University of Rhode Island, double concentration        Biology/Psychology
  • Certified RIDOH Full Level 4 Treatment Operator license
  • Certified RIDOH Full Level 4 Distribution Operator license
  • Certified RIDOH Level 2 Assessor (drinking water operations review)

Professional organizations, please not leadership positions:

  • Current member of various professional water industry organizations
  • Past member of various professional School Board Associations

Awards of recognitions associated with work:

Lifetime member AWWA

Community

Non-profit community organization affiliations and any leadership positions:

  • Past president Coggeshall Elementary School PTO
  • Past Newport recreation department youth soccer coach
  • Past Newport Little League Team Manager

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