Warwick resident Lyn Jennings, founder of Rhode Island Salons United, a movement she spearheaded last year when Governor Lincoln Chafee wanted to tax hair salons, announced this week that she is running for the Ward 8 council seat as a Republican against former Ward 8 councilman Joseph Gallucci.
“It’s time for a fresh face with new ideas,” she said in an interview at the Warwick Beacon Tuesday morning, quoting her campaign slogan. “Being as active as I am and seeing it firsthand, I think the ward is ready for a change. I talk to my immediate neighbors and that’s how they feel. Families are strapped and they are ready for a change in government.”
Jennings, the mother of two sons, a 20-year-old and a 14-year-old, said she was a bit disappointed when she read an article in the Beacon in which Gallucci stated his main focus at the moment was being elected. She wished he had shared some of his main concerns within the city, as well as issues he hopes to tackle.
“I think his constituents deserve more than that,” she said.
Further, Jennings, who is from Providence and has lived in Warwick for 17 years, said that if elected, her main goal would be to listen to what taxpayers have to say.
Additionally, she is interested in establishing a more open line of communication with the School Committee to determine what can be done to address major repairs that are needed at schools in order to ensure they meet fire code requirements so “our children have a save environment in which to learn. It appears that bonds may be issued but they have not been issued yet.”
She’s also concerned that the largest increase in city expenses is in the area of employee benefits and capital expenses. These areas, she said, are issues that must be reviewed for savings.
In order to be fully effective, she said, it is her belief that council members need to be in direct contact with state representatives and senators. Collaborating on state legislation, said Jennings, will help the city.
“What happens at the State House affects all Warwick residents,” she said in a press release. “With my experience at the legislature as a volunteer advocate, I have learned how all levels of government must work jointly in a state our size to bring about meaningful change, change that will encourage current business to stay in Warwick and new business to start in Warwick. More business means more jobs, and more jobs mean more tax revenue to help our residents find relief from our high property tax rates.”
She also said she recently spoke to Mayor Scott Avedisian about the fact that she plans to run and he “welcomes it.” Moreover, she is looking forward to working with him if elected.
“I think he’s doing a good job,” Jennings said. “If you take a look at the car tax, a lot of people came out and were angry. In the end, he listened to them and gave some back. That shows me he’s willing to work with his constituents and be in touch with how his city is feeling.”
While she briefly thought about running for a House or Senate seat, she decided against it. Instead, she wants to start at a more local level.
“I just don’t think I’m ready for that yet,” she said.
While she has a few tentative dates for campaign fundraisers and hopes to raise from $3,500 to $4,500, right now her main objective is walking the ward.
“I already bought my first pair of sneakers,” she said.