The following has been submitted by Susan D. Taylor, Chair of the Newport Democratic City Committee

The Newport Democratic City Committee reluctantly accepts the retirement of J. Clement “Bud” Cicilline as Chair.  He has served the Committee with his wisdom, honor, and grace for 45 years as a member, with 20 of those years as Chair.  We will miss him profoundly, and realize we have big shoes to fill.  

At this time we are announcing the newly elected officers:

Chair – Susan Taylor 

Susan Taylor has lived in Newport for 14 years, after living and working in New York City and Seattle, where she was born.  A lifelong Democrat, she has worked on civil rights cases with her husband and is semi-retired as an immigration lawyer.  She served on the City Council from 2016 to 2020.

Vice Chair – Kim Salerno

Kim Salerno, a lifelong Democrat, has lived in Newport for 18 years. She lived in New Haven, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago before moving to Newport. She is Chair of the City of Newport Planning Board, and has served on the Historic District Commission. She taught at URI for ten years and is now Principal of the architectural design practice, Haven Designs.

Secretary – Meagan Landry

Meagan Landry has lived in Newport for over 30 years, has always worked here on Aquidneck Island, and has always voted as a Democrat. She is a sales and leasing consultant for Saccucci Honda, where she has worked for 9 years now. She has spent most of her life living off-Broadway, and is excited to now be moving to the North End. 

Assistant Secretary – Judy Jones

Judy Jones worked for Rhode Island Housing as a public policy analyst and legislative liaison to the General Assembly for eighteen years. Then, before retiring, she focused on workforce development at The Economic Progress Institute.  Now a citizen advocate, Judy is involved in affordable housing issues, access to health care, including mental health care, and supports for seniors who want to age in place in Newport.  Judy was the previous NDCC Secretary.

Treasurer – Deanna Conheeny

Deanna Conheeny, a native Newporter, is a retired executive with a background in systems development and financial control.  She also was the advocacy director for AARP Rhode Island.  Her time in retirement includes volunteering for various community organizations including Middletown Rotary, Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, The Museum of Newport Irish History, Newport County YMCA, RI Meals on Wheels, and the MLK Community Center.

Financial Secretary – Varina Gunn

Varina Gunn graduated from RHS and from Simmons College with a BS in Nutrition and Food Science.  She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and recently became a Certified Community Health Worker through a fellowship at the Newport Health Equity Zone.  She is dedicated to improving health outcomes for people of color in this community.  She’s been a member of the NDCC for over ten years

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.