opinion Newport Rhode Island

In the aftermath of our recent election, we wanted to send a follow-up to our letter which was submitted on November 1st, urging our friends and neighbors to reject question 5 (“regionalization”).

We are deeply grateful to the team of volunteers with whom we worked alongside.    It was empowering to stand outside the polls on November 8th, speaking with constituents and seeing what a difference each person’s vote can make – especially at the community level.

But while we walked away from Tuesday buoyed by democracy, it brought us NO joy to be on the other side of a “town line;” arguing about something that should have brought our communities together.

This never needed to be divisive.  This never needed to be a “fight.“ It didn’t need to turn into bullying – sometimes even from town officials, outside our very polls. It should always have been a conversation.

In towns our size, an honest conversation doesn’t require a slick (and expensive) marketing campaign, focused only on the money. Real regionalization: with a focus on academics and education, our children and our community should always have been an open exchange – but that wasn’t enabled. 

Rather than conversing with our neighbors about what we could realistically accomplish together, we felt pitted against one another.

We are all more aligned than we are opposed.

In the days that followed the election, we spoke with friends who live only a few miles away – in Middletown; parents who want to continue this conversation and want to do it the “right way.“  

We look forward to joining hands with them; to finding solutions together – in a manner that is open, inclusive and focused on academic outcomes. 

Let’s do better this time. Let’s do the right thing for our education system, our teachers, our administrators, our kids and our communities. 

Let’s step forward together into the next moment and start the conversation that we should have been having all along.

Alana + Joe Hearn, Newport

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