Ward 7 Councilman Charles “C.J.” Donovan has been on the council since 2000 and hopes to serve even longer.
Monday night, he held the first fundraiser of the 2012 campaign at the Remington House Inn at 3376 Post Road, which drew approximately 90 guests, including members of his family, such as his father, a former mayor, fellow council members Camille Vella-Wilkinson, Joseph Solomon, Donna Travis, Ray Gallucci and Steven Merolla, as well as council hopefuls Joe Gallucci and Ed Ladouceur, plus Congressman Jim Langevin and Representatives David Bennett, Frank Ferri and William Walaska, among others.
During a phone interview Tuesday, Donovan, a senior policy and oversight specialist for Coastal Resource Management Council and Narragansett Bay Commission, said he raised nearly $4,000 in support of his campaign. If re-elected, he plans to keep a close eye on T.F. Green Airport.
“I’m proud of some of the progress we made with the airport this last go around and I look forward to being vigilant on making sure that they remain a good neighbor, especially when it pertains to Ward 7,” said Donovan, who previously served as the chairman of the airport land use commission. “Even though the airport is technically in Ward 3, it affects the whole city. I want to make sure they keep the promises they said they would keep and adhere to the agreement that they signed.”
Additionally, Donovan hopes to work in conjunction with the business community to try and see if there is a way to bridge the gap between businesses and the city.
“Right now, there’s a tax tier system that we have in the city of Warwick, which is unfortunately very high for businesses and I’d like to put together a study group or a focus group to work on how we can better assist or aide the business community in the city,” he said. “Possibly, we can lower their tax burdens and make the transition to come to the city or stay in the city easier for businesses.”
He also would like to work more with neighborhood groups in his Ward and beyond in order to understand and tackle any issues the groups notice. In fact, he’d like to set up a meeting for organizations such as the Apponaug Area Improvement Association, the Arnold’s Neck Association, Nausauket Good Neighbor Association and the Greenwood Neighborhood Association, to collectively share ideas with the council, as well as groups from other Wards.
“I think it would be great to get all the associations together,” Donovan said. “I also am thinking about possibly having a piece of legislation to have representatives of the citywide associations sitting down as a collective unit and discussing issues throughout the city.”
Donovan, who is being opposed by former councilman Al Gemma, first ran for council in 1998 but lost against former Councilman Joe Harrington, who moved on to serve on the School Committee. However, Donovan claimed the seat in 2000 when he defeated Andrew Johnson.
Gemma is running as an independent this time.
In that time, he said he is most proud of his efforts to increase senior tax exemptions, help to preserve open space at Rocky Point, as well as help cut the latest budget by at least 3 percent. He also is happy he was able to assist the approval of the Apponaug Overlay District after working alongside residents and the Planning Department.
Moreover, Donovan served as chair of the finance committee before Ward 8 Councilman Ray Gallucci took over nearly four years ago. Considering the fact that Gallucci does not plan to run again, the slot is open. But will he pursue it?
“It’s an interest of mine, definitely,” he said. “I was very proud of being a fiscal watch dog for city finances. I really enjoyed doing that.”