opinion Newport Rhode Island

To the Editor:

My name is Charlie Holder and I am running to represent Ward 2 on the Newport City Council.  

I was born and raised in the second ward on Bliss Road, where my parents still call home.  I am extremely proud to call this city my home, as I have always felt that Newport is truly one of the greatest places to live.

I feel that now is the time to give back to a place that has given me so much and molded me into the man that I am today. Because of this, I have decided to run for a seat on the council. 

I’ll be honest with you, I never saw myself as a politician and if elected, I’m not sure I’d call myself one.  Instead, I see myself as a person who wants to make a difference and positively impact  my community.  

Here is why I am asking for your vote and the honor of representing Ward 2 on the Newport City Council: 

I am in favor of the school bond.  I am a firm believer in quality education for our students.  We need a new high school and an expanded Pell Elementary School, and that’s obvious.  Question 2 should not be a question of “if,” but instead “when.”

I was educated in the Newport Public School system from kindergarten through my high school graduation.  I believe that education is essential and that we should provide our students with every opportunity to succeed.  We should allow them the chance to prosper and we should provide them with a school they can be proud to attend.  

We must give our teachers the resources that they need to educate take pride in the public education that we offer our residents. We also need to help encourage and support opportunities through the Career & Technical Center as another avenue for our youth to learn essential trade skills that will lead to successful careers.  

My career is based in the hospitality industry.  I oversee operations at two downtown restaurants, Midtown Oyster Bar and Surf Club.  If you’re ever walking by, please stop in and say hello! I also serve on the executive boards of Rhode Island Hospitality and the Newport County Chamber of Commerce.  

It’s impossible to ignore how important the hospitality and tourism industry is to our city.  Tourism is our mansions, the Cliff Walk, our sailing and maritime offerings, the shops, retail stores, restaurants and accommodations.  It is our surfing, beaches and our island’s natural beauty.  

I firmly believe that there needs to be a voice on the council that understands all of our local businesses’ needs. While it is important to note that tourism and hospitality are two of the more robust foundations of our economic community, I am well aware that we cannot lean solely on tourism alone to keep our economy moving in a progressive, productive direction. 

We need to increase opportunity in other industries such as healthcare, marine, defense and technology.  We need to create a climate that is inviting to outside businesses and encourages them to move their operations to our city.  We need to market Newport in a way that positions us to be considered by outside ventures. 

I have seen this city change over the course of my 50+ years living here.  I was born and raised here, and I believe that I understand the needs of our year-round residents as well as our seasonal visitors.

We need to understand that balance is everything and that there needs to be proper planning on future development in the city.  The decisions that are being made in the next few years will affect Newport for decades to come.

Our city is developing rapidly, and there are some very crucial decisions looming in the near future.  We must have policies in place to ensure that our current city infrastructure can accommodate these future projects and that development is not solely beneficial to the developer but also to the community.  There needs to be give and take.  

Our neighborhoods, specifically the areas that I would represent as an elected official for Ward 2, are struggling with this increased development and the associated dynamics that come with that; such as traffic, short-term rentals, parking.  I want to make every effort to protect our streets and ensure safe roads and pathways for walkers, joggers, bicyclists and automobiles.  

Furthermore, I genuinely believe that the public should play a larger part in the discussion on future plans and that community benefit should not be ignored. 

The North End Plan could very well decide our direction of what our city will be moving forward.  We have the rare opportunity to use this project to potentially ease traffic burdens, improve our aging infrastructure and attract new businesses but perhaps more important, we can bring our community closer together.

This community has taught me to give back to others and help those who are less fortunate. I am involved with many local charities and volunteer whenever possible.  I established The Midtown Foundation in 2018, a philanthropic venture that gives scholarships to students and helps members of our city who are in need.  

I will encourage more civic engagement and will work hand in hand with ALL residents of our city to find ways that we can improve the lives of everyone who is fortunate to call Newport home. I believe that as a community, working together as one, we can make Newport a better place for generations to come.

Now more than ever, we need strong leadership to aid in difficult discussions about issues pertinent to our city.  Now more than ever, we need cohesion and continuity to bring our community together as we move towards a bright future. 

The city council should be made up of seven people working together. Though there will always be different perspectives on issues and contrasting ideas, Newport’s benefit should always take precedence.  I will bring a common-sense perspective, transparency and open-mindedness to our council in order to get things done.  

I have spent my life getting people to work in unity towards a common goal, and I will continue to do so as a representative of this city that we are all so lucky to call home.  

I look forward to what the future holds for Newport.  I hope to follow in the footsteps of Lynn Ceglie, who has been such an incredible representative for our Ward for so many years. 

I wish my opponent the best in the upcoming election as well as all those who are running for office. Regardless of your position, please get out and vote.  Whether you cast your vote early or on November 3rd, I hope that you will use your voice.  I truly appreciate your support and would be honored to represent you on Newport City Council.

If you’re a Ward 2 resident or have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly on my cell phone 401 480 9079 or via email at Charlie@midtownoyster.com.  

Be Bolder, Vote Holder.  

Charlie Holder, Newport


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