opinion Newport Rhode Island

We want to take this opportunity to commend the leadership of Joe Nicholson and Susan Taylor for creating and implementing the volunteer “Zorro Brigade” which handed out free masks in Newport over the summer and fall. The initiative involved organizing dozens of volunteers for every weekend at multiple locations–to help make the community a safer place for all–and is exemplary of true civic leadership. 

As one of those volunteers (Lisa), and as the President of Bowen’s Wharf Co. (Bart), we can speak directly to Susan’s role in making sure this effort was effective. Everyone in Newport, both residents and visitors, are safer as a result. Mask compliance on Bowen’s Wharf was very good as fall arrived, and we believe the Zorro Brigade deserves credit for establishing Newport as a mask compliant tourist experience. This is so important for the continued vitality of our local economy! The retail vendors and restaurants on the Wharf really appreciated the “Zorro Brigade” efforts towards mask compliance–it was quite a good summer season for many of them despite the pandemic conditions– and all felt reasonably safe interacting with masked visitors. 

Susan has a great understanding of the complexity of our small city and what it takes to keep us safe but moving forward in positive directions. We will keep this commendable civic initiative in mind when voting on Tuesday. We urge all Newport voters to support Susan’s candidacy for re-election. She is seeking another term as Councilor at Large.

Lisa Lewis and Bart Dunbar, Newport