Thank you, Newport, for the opportunity to serve on the City Council for four years. It’s been an honor, and a privilege. I’ve found it a tremendous opportunity to learn from the community as I’ve worked at offering a long-term vision for the city’s growth. I’ve appreciated the collegiality of my fellow councilors as we came together for the good of Newport.
I applaud my fellow candidates for the spirited campaigns they ran. I love the campaign season for the flow of ideas, and regret the restrictions of Covid this year. I thank all those who have supported me and helped me with ideas to refine and improve the vision for Newport. And I thank all those who voted whether for me or not; engagement in the democratic process is essential to a healthy democracy.
I’m proud of what I accomplished with regard to a long-term vision for Newport, our quality of life, and the sustainability of what we love about Newport and Aquidneck Island. I tried to bring open-mindedness and my ability to listen, as I analyzed the issues to decide based on what I believed to be best for the future of the city’s growth and the well-being of all Newporters.
And I am proud of the culture I helped to create with Mayor Bova’s leadership, which features a more transparent view of the working of the council, and offers the public their say in workshops convened around a single issue. This openness is what I want to see, as a resident of Newport.
I’m especially pleased to see the increased diversity on the newly-elected council, and proud that Angela McCalla occupies the First Ward seat I once held, and Elizabeth Fuerte will take up the at-large seat which I am vacating. Angela is a woman of color, a daughter of immigrants like myself, with a Korean mother and a father who grew up in Senegal. She’s been a valued colleague on the council. Elizabeth, a Latina, has demonstrated her commitment to Newport over and over, from representing those whose voice often goes unheard, to educating our youth to appreciate Newport’s history.
I offer my congratulations to the new council. These will be challenging years for Newport with significant projects underway. I trust that you will carry on the important work which has been started with planning and zoning revisions for the North End, and with the Transportation Master Plan and the effort toward Green and Complete Streets. You have a lot to tackle with spending the school bond money wisely, and providing a supportive climate for our small businesses as they work to recover from the impact of Covid. I believe in your capability and good will, and wish you well as you unify to meet these challenges in the two years ahead.