Photo Credit: Kenneth C. Zirkel |This work is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

One of the Charter Review Commission recommendations that — not shockingly — didn’t make it onto yesterday’s ballot was to designate our next mayor based on which at-large council candidate earned the most votes. 

As of now, the person who will become mayor of our city (with more than 25,000 year round residents I should add), is selected amongst the seven council members in one of those “smoke-filled back rooms” of yore we’ve all been warned about. 

Granted, with the rise of both vaping and Covid that “room” is less likely to be a physical place and, even less likely, to be filled with actual cigarette smoke. 

But it is — nonetheless — an opaque process, devoid of public input, and lacking the transparency you’d expect in a democracy.

And it’s happening right now behind-the-scenes.

Throughout his campaign, Xay put in the work and truly listened to Newporters. As a result, the city of Newport spoke loudly and delivered a clear mandate: Xay is Newport’s guy. 

Not only did he earn more votes than every other candidate running for city council this year, he’s beaten the record of earning the most votes for a Newport City Council candidate during a non-presidential election in more than a decade!

In fact, Xay earned more than half of the amount of votes — 1677 to be exact — of the candidate who finished second. That candidate, Jeanne-Marie Napolitano, is Newport’s current mayor and has served on the city council since 1991 and as mayor for more than three terms. 

She’s been a great advocate for Newport and continues to serve our city with both dignity and respect.

But now, perhaps more than ever, it’s critical to heed the will of the people and underscore both the importance and significance of making sure votes matter.

So here’s what I’m asking: please join me in writing* to those who are about to decide who will be our next mayor and tell them the decision is right there in the ballot box. 

Newport wants and deserves Xay as mayor.

*here are their emails:,

Ryan Patrick Kelley, Newport resident

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