fter 12 years of service to the residents of Rhode Island – and, specifically, to the citizens of Warwick – Bob Sangster is stepping down from his position as a member of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation’s (RIAC) Board of Directors. I would like to publicly thank him for his longtime advocacy on behalf of our community.
As most are aware, the issue of runway expansion at T.F. Green Airport had been tumultuous and hotly-debated for more than a decade before it was resolved last year. When I appointed Bob as Warwick’s representative on the RIAC board, I did so not because of his work as a member of the Concerned Airport Neighbors group, but because I knew he would bring a thoughtful and measured approach when dealing with issues of concern to our community. The residents of Warwick could not have had a better representative in this regard. Bob was the right person at a critical time for our city.
There is no doubt that Bob’s job was a difficult one, but one that he did remarkably well. He successfully presented the city’s needs and concerns and clearly laid out the effects expansion would have on our residents and the community as a whole. To be sure, these views weren’t always popular with the board and other expansion advocates. Yet Bob’s intelligence, character and professionalism earned him the respect and trust of his colleagues, allowing him to initiate constructive discussions that ultimately led to changes that will positively impact our community.
A consummate gentleman, Bob has treated everyone with respect – even those who verbally attacked RIAC board members and questioned their motives. Bob, along with Warwick resident and RIAC Chairwoman Kathleen Hittner, has also been a driving force in ensuring transparency and encouraging both community meetings and one-on-one discussions with residents concerned about the myriad issues surrounding airport expansion.
Bob has not only been invaluable to RIAC, but has also become a great partner with my administration and the Planning Department. His insights and knowledge have been extremely helpful throughout the many years of the fits and starts that came with the expansion process.
Our community has been fortunate to have the advocate we have had in Bob Sangster. And, although his work with RIAC is complete, I have no doubt he will continue his efforts to ensure the quality of life we enjoy in Warwick. For this, I thank him, and wish him well.