Will they run or won’t they run? That is the question.
Yesterday marked the final day candidates were able to declare for office and there are lots of them. However, until they return papers with the required number of registered voter signatures – the numbers vary depending on the office – they aren’t officially on the ballot.
Last month, Mayor Scott Avedisian, a Republican who lives at 200 Atlantic Avenue, held a fundraiser event at the Iron Works Tavern at Post Road and announced that he’d love to serve as mayor for the next two years, while resident Jack Kirby of 132 Shamrock Drive declared as an independent yesterday.
As of press time, candidates that were expected to declare did so, while there were a few surprises in the mix, as well.
In terms of council seats, Ward 1 Councilman Steven Colantuono, a Republican of 251 Country Club Drive who is wrapping up his second term, said he is running again because he feels it’s necessary to “take care of issues in the local community. We have a few issues that I’m really interested in related to recreational areas and parks we have in the community.”
Colantuono, a local lawyer, continued, “In general, I want to make sure there’s a reasonable, solid voice for the people of our ward and I think I’ve been able to do that. When all is said and done, I enjoy being involved. It’s an important part of the commitment to the community and to ourselves. Once we decide we want to try to make a difference, we should stick to it.”
Colantuono will run against Sharon Ahearn, a Democrat from 315 Columbia Avenue.
As for Ward 2, Council President Bruce Place does not plan to seek re-election. He recently purchased a home outside of Warwick, but he supports Tom Chardronet, a Democratic candidate and member of the Zoning Board and Planning Board, who lives at 117 Elberta Street. The Ward 2 committee has endorsed Chardronet.
“He’s a good guy,” Place said in a recent phone interview. “He knows his stuff.”
Further, Paul Cannistra, a former school committee member, of 88 Cushing Road, plans to oppose Chardronet as an independent, as does Lorraine Miller of 275 Irving Road.
Ward 3 Democrat Camille Vella-Wilkinson of 786 Church Avenue will face Paulo Machado of 15 Lincoln Avenue, while Democrats Ward 4 Councilman Joseph Solomon of 180 Shawomet Avenue and Ward 9 Councilman Steven Merolla of 229 Castle Rocks Road will run unopposed.
Vella-Wilkinson, a career coach who is up for a second term, was highly active in making sure the deal with T.F. Green Airport considers the health and safety of residents. She also sponsored many resolutions and ordinances with the well-being of military veterans and senior citizens.
Solomon, a local attorney who operates a law office at 703 West Shore Road, has served on the council for 12 years and was a Municipal Court Judge for more than four years prior to being elected to the council.
During his time on the council, he has been instrumental in defending animal rights and said he has always aimed to make it affordable for people to live in Warwick. It’s been his goal to spend taxpayer funds wisely, he said.
“I believe in fairness and getting the best value for the buck. I take pride in that,” Solomon said in a phone interview yesterday. “I’m fighting on behalf of the people and I want to continue to make it affordable for families to live and maintain the lifestyles they’ve been accustomed to in the city of Warwick. I want to make Warwick a place where our children and their children will continue to enjoy.”
Like Solomon, Merolla also practices law. Along with Vella-Wilkinson, he too was very active in protecting constituents from negative impacts during negotiations with the airport, as well as other developments and businesses in his Ward.
“I always make sure that when development occurs, it’s at a balance with the residents so their quality of life isn’t disturbed, in addition to trying to hold the tax rate down,” he said in a brief phone interview yesterday afternoon.
While Ward 5 Councilman John DelGiudice does not plan to run, Danny Hall, the chair of the Republican GOP, who lives at 176 Lewiston Street, is vying for the seat, as are Ed Ladouceur, a Democrat from 106 Channel View Unit 2, and Carlo Pisaturo, another Democrat and former councilman. He lives at 181 Narragansett Avenue.
Ward 6 Democrat Donna Travis of 733 Oakland Beach Avenue will run for her seat against Republican Richard Langseth, who has been active in local politics for several years, as well as newcomer and Republican Catharine Leach of 104 Hazard Avenue, who is originally from Woonsocket and grew up in Lincoln, but has lived in Warwick nearly two years after living on the east side of Providence with her husband for more than a decade.
She said she moved because one of her two sons would have had a long commute to school in Providence if they had stayed there.
“Here, Oakland Beach School is only a block away,” she said. As a 2001 graduate of Davies Career Tech High School, Leach said she first became interested in Warwick politics when the car tax issue, as well as issues with property taxes, came to light last summer.
“The questions, ‘How can we stop property taxes from going up? How can we stop car taxes from going up?’ made me want to hand in my papers,” said Leach, an office manager for a homeland security contractor in Quonset. “I can’t complain about it unless I’m trying to fix the problem.”
Langseth is a consultant who primarily works in Boston. He has been very active in local politics in recent years, as he frequently attends council meetings, meetings at the State House, serves as the executive director of the Greenwich Bay Watershed Group and ran against Avedisian in a primary for the position of mayor two years ago.
Langseth, who lives at 170 Budlong Farm Road, said he has been motivated to run by individuals in the marine industry.
“People in town were suggesting I run for City Council, so I deliberated and said, ‘OK. Well, I’ll at least pick up the papers and go from there,’” Langseth said during a brief phone interview yesterday. “We have to sort things out so if I were to run, I would address the cost of doing business in Warwick and around the Bay.”
Ward 7 Councilman Charles “C.J.” Donovan of 346 Potters Avenue, who just held his first fundraiser event Monday, hopes for re-election against former councilman Al Gemma. Gemma, who resides at 310 Natick Avenue, is running as an independent.
Additionally, Ward 8 Councilman Ray Gallucci is not running, but his brother, Joe, a Democrat who lives at 33 Gillmore Street, has declared. Joe has served as Ward 8 councilman in the past, while Republican Lyn Jennings of 589 Providence Street, Alfred Ferruolo Jr., an independent of 169 Northbridge Avenue and Louis Aponte, a Democrat of 353 Commonwealth Avenue, plan to oppose him.
“It’s going to be an interesting council cycle,” Colantuono said.
District 29, Senator Michael McCaffrey, Democrat, of 115 Twin Oak Drive; Laura Pisaturo, Democrat.
District 30, Senator William Walaska, Democrat, of 140 Aldrich Avenue; Keith Burlitt, Republican, of 12 Angel Court; Arthur Groh, independent, of 40 Moulton Circle.
District 31, Senator Erin Lynch, Democrat, of 28 Goodwin Street; Armand Lusi, Republican, of 120 Spencer Avenue.
District 19, Rep. Joseph McNamara, Democrat of 23 Howie Avenue.
District 20, Rep. David Bennett, Democrat of 27 Shippee Avenue.
District 21, Rep. Eileen Slattery Naughton, Democrat of 100 Old Homestead Road.
District 22, Rep. Frank Ferri, Democrat of 38 Lippitt Avenue.
District 23, Rep. Robert Flaherty, Democrat, of 936 Buttonwoods Avenue; John Falkowski, Republican, of 38 Everglade Avenue.
District 24, Rep. Joseph Trillo, Republican, of 19 Gilbert Stuart Drive.
School Committee races (2 seats)
Karen Bachus of 208 Burt Street.
David Testa of 1101 Narragansett Parkway.
Jennifer Ahearn of 1 Joyce Glen Street.
Patrick Maloney Jr. of 11 Dawson Avenue.