Newport Mayor Jamie Bova issued a statement on Wednesday morning in response to current unofficial election results.

Bova is currently the second-highest vote-getter with 4,489 votes. She trails Jeanne-Marie Napolitano by eighteen votes.

In this morning’s statement, Bova recognizes that we are still waiting on the final results of some close races but extends her congratulations to all candidates for campaigning in a very challenging year.

Key policy goals are highlighted in her statement, focusing on building the new high school, evaluating homestead exemption options, ensuring community-minded development, and addressing the continuing impacts of the COVID pandemic.

Bova also announces her plans to step forward for consideration for the Council Chair nomination. She indicates that she does not expect to be the only one seeking nomination and addresses her plans for an open nomination process in the statement.

As a reminder, the Mayor/Chair is elected by the seven City Council members from among the four at-large councilors.

Statement From Bova

I am honored that the people of Newport have asked me back to serve on the City Council. I  am proud to have made local government more accessible to everyone over the past two  terms, and I will continue that work in the upcoming term. As the last remaining votes are  tallied, I want to congratulate all the candidates, especially the newcomers, for campaigning in  an exceptionally difficult year. 

There will be a lot to tackle over the next two years on the City Council, starting with the  education of Newport’s youth. The next Council needs to work with the School Committee and  RIDE to get shovels in the ground on a new high school. A successful community requires  strong neighborhoods with accessible housing alongside a strong school system. The next  Council needs to continue to work to make Newport an attractive place for year-round living.  Next month the City Administration will bring options to implement a Homestead Exemption to  the Council. Properly implemented, a Homestead Exemption will make living in Newport more  accessible by decreasing the tax burden on our year-round residents. We must consider these  options with ample public input. 

The next Council must represent the interests of the residents and their livelihoods as major  planning and development projects progress in the North End and around Newport. The next  Council will have a role in negotiating Community Benefits Agreements that ensure  development brings value to our community. Well thought out plans and enforceable zoning  are necessary to ensure that the vision of our community is realized. We need to continue the  work begun last year to make the vision of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan a reality by  approving enforceable zoning ordinances. 

COVID-19 will remain a challenge, and the next Council must continue to guide the City’s  response to the pandemic by working closely with the City Manager and providing clear policy  direction to respond to the needs of the residents and our local business community. There will  be ongoing work with the State to ensure that our community receives adequate State Aid to  keep fighting the pandemic and begin the recovery once it has passed. 

The effectiveness of a council is measured by the trust of the people. In my time as Council Chair I have worked to build that trust by fostering in-depth discussion on the dais and engaging the public in the conversation as decisions are weighed. As a councilor-elect, I will begin the  upcoming term by immediately calling a caucus of my colleagues to discuss, in public, the  selection of the Council Chair and Mayor for the next two years. The most impactful and  important role of the Chair is as the champion of discussion and openness on the Council. I will  ask my peers to discuss and consider how each of the eligible councilors will use the role of  Council Chair to uphold the public trust. I am looking forward to joining my colleagues, both old  and new, to work together to strengthen our Newport community.

Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.