Lyn Jennings, a self-employed salon owner who is running as a Republican for the seat of Ward 8 councilwoman, held her first fundraiser in support of the upcoming election Monday night at the Warwick Fraternal Order Police and raised nearly $2,400.
With 40 people in attendance, including members of her family, Jennings said she believes it’s time for a “fresh face with new ideas,” as her opponent is former Ward 8 Councilman Joe Gallucci.
If elected, she said it would be her goal to redirect the focus of city spending and put more emphasis on the infrastructure of schools, city streets, bridges and public facilities.
“We also need to keep a tab on our water,” she said at the event. “We pay outrageous prices for water in Ward 8. As your councilwoman, I will fight against further rate increases. I want you to know that my opponent, Mr. Joe Gallucci, has sat on the Kent County Water Authority for all those rate increases that have been pushed through.”
She said she became interested in local politics two years ago when Governor Lincoln Chafee attempted to tax salons. As a result, she spawned Rhode Island Salons United, a 3,000-member movement that influenced Chafee to shift his plan.
“I recognized how that tax would hurt me and impact my business, so I decided to form Rhode Island Salons United to stop the tax, and we were successful,” she said.
After than, said Jennings, she began to think what else she could do to make a difference, not only for herself and other salon workers, but for her neighbors and fellow Warwick residents. That’s when she decided to throw her hat in the ring for council.
While she has never run for office, she feels there are more issues she would like to address as councilwoman.
“I want to stop the annual property taxes that we’ve been faced with for years,” she said. “I understand that reduced aid from the state and the falling housing market have hurt our city revenues badly, but we came close to getting by without tax increases this year. I honestly believe that if we take a look at every nickel and dime that we spend, set our priorities, and ask, ‘Do we need to spend this, or is there a better way?’ we can avoid raising property taxes next year.”
At the event were notable guests including Representative Doreen Costa, Ward 1 Councilman Steven Colantuono, as well as council hopefuls Catharine Leach, who is vying for the Ward 6 council seat against Councilwoman Donna Travis, Danny Hall, the head of Warwick’s Republican GOP party, who is running for the Ward 5 council seat against Ed Ladoceur, plus Mike Riley, who is running against Congressman Jim Langevin.
Jennings’ family, such as her husband Joe, her sons, Brendon, 20, and Ryan, 14, as well as her stepson, Joe Amore, accompanied Jennings at the fundraiser. They have lived in Warwick for 17 years. Ryan is one of her biggest cheerleaders.
“I’m here to support her either way,” Ryan said. “I just want her to be happy.”
Joe, her husband of 21 years, shares Ryan’s sentiments.
“She’s enjoying what she’s doing and putting a lot of hard work into it,” he said. “She’s been a good wife and mother for 21 years so will also be a good councilwoman.”