During my campaign for one of the four at-large City Council seats in Newport, many residents told me how they felt their government wasn’t listening to them. They were frustrated at what they saw as a lack of transparency and poor communication. I share their frustration, which is why I am committed to being an advocate for transparency on the council.
For many, one of the least transparent aspects of our city government is the election of the Chair of the Council by the other members. The chair holds the official title of Mayor and is seen as speaking for the citizens of Newport. In our city manager form of government, mayor is a primarily ceremonial role – he or she chairs a council of their peers in which we all have an equal vote. Residents that I spoke with felt that they had lost their say in the mayoral decision; they felt as if their voices weren’t being heard. Before the election, the feedback from residents across Newport informed my decision on how I will vote for Chair of the Council. I am voting for the individual who received the highest number of votes from the voters of Newport. I believe this is the best option that we currently have to give the voters a clear voice in the selection of the Chair of the Council.
I made a commitment during my campaign to work towards to a more transparent and communicative city government – this is a step in that direction. I am writing this letter in order to give the residents of Newport insight into my decision as well the values that I will bring to the table as a City Councilor. I intend to continue an open dialogue with the residents that I serve and represent, and I invite residents to share their thoughts with me.