This morning I went down to City Hall and filed my Declaration of Candidacy Form, an exciting moment for me and the followers of this campaign. This year’s election for City Council is going to be interesting one, with at least seven people, including me, running for the four At-Large Seats on the Council. I truly believe that the more people take an active role in local politics, the more our city can improve.
I also had a conversation with Ryan Belmore on WADK’s Open Forum this afternoon. His topic was local politics, given the candidate declaration period taking place from Monday to Wednesday. I was able to touch on most of the reasons behind why I decided to run for City Council and I want to go through those briefly in case you weren’t able to listen to the show. I’ll link to the recording as well at the bottom of this post.
I focused on a topic that I’ve said before means a lot to me: green and environmentally-friendly initiatives and technologies in Newport. I know that the current City Council has considered a plastic bag ban, eliminating most plastic bags used in retail stores, and plans to vote on the issue in January. If elected, I would make every effort to pass a ban that both protects our environment but doesn’t burden our businesses. While on City Council, I would also investigate methods to use solar power in city buildings, including potentially installing roof panels.
Ryan and I also discussed something that is always on everyone’s mind in Newport – infrastructure! We all know that our roads need repair, but it goes beyond just potholes. The city has actually done some good work on road repairs, and improving our signage is next. Many streets are unlabeled and parking signs are confusing with inconsistent ticketing. I also would like to install signs reinforcing the direction that bikers must ride in. This is an issue that comes up often in the summer, with folks riding the wrong way and potentially causing a dangerous situation. If elected, I would push to get these directional signs installed throughout the city.
Another issue that I touched on was bringing young professionals and young families into Newport and keeping them here. Our city shouldn’t just be viewed as a place to vacation, but as a place to make your home. We’ve already started working towards this with the Newport Innovation Hub but there is more to be done. General Electric is moving into Providence and we should be looking to build off that momentum to bring companies, large and small, to Newport. Ryan asked me why I thought businesses moving away from Newport, mentioning that they were having trouble finding large, affordable spaces for their offices. Right away, that got me thinking about parking and parking garages. Those who work into the downtown area are always struggling to find affordable, all day parking. There are a few spots in Newport that I think could be perfect for a multi-level parking garage. Investigation still needs to be done, but I want to find a way to make this work because it would both ease some of the strain on businesses and make Newport easier to access for tourists.
I enjoyed my conversation with Ryan at the Open Forum and I’m excited that I was able to talk about my ideas with the community. If you’d like to listen to a recording of my conversation, you can here. I call in around 16 minutes in. As always, your feedback is important to me. Let me know what you would like to see change in Newport.