Changes are ahead
That is the way many will look at the local 2012 election results.
Republicans still hold a single City Council seat, although the 19-vote victory was a nail-biter for incumbent Steve Colantuono and won’t be official until a recount is completed. Scott Avedisian’s tally was more than 80 percent of the vote for mayor and his eighth term is no surprise.
And in the two wholly Warwick races for General Assembly seats, incumbent William Walaska won re-election in Senate District 30 while newcomer to elective office, but not politics, K. Joseph Shekarchi won House District 23.
Warwick Republicans still hold a single House seat, District 24, where incumbent Joseph Trillo was unchallenged.
So, from a political perspective, the lineup is the same.
But other than Warwick Senate seats, that’s where the comparison ends.
Shekarchi succeeds Robert Flaherty in District 23. He’s excited about serving his constituents, as we learned Sunday, when we talked with him at a brief Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremony at the veterans’ memorial park in front of Vets High School. He said he has talked with the House leadership and requested to be involved with veterans’ affairs. That news, and passage of Question 4, providing $94 million to build a new 250-bed hospital and renovate sections of the Veterans Home in Bristol, had those in attendance encouraged.
There will be three new faces on the City Council:
Thomas Chadronet, who was unchallenged, succeeds Bruce Place in Ward 2. Chadronet is familiar with council work. He frequently attended meetings and has been involved in ward politics for years.
Edgar Ladouceur succeeds John DelGiudice, who chose not to seek re-election in Ward 5. Ladouceur has long had an interest in public service. His first bid for elective office was for the House District seat several years ago. He is an advocate of small business and we expect he will bring that insight to the council.
In Ward 8, Joseph Gallucci succeeds his brother Raymond. Having served on the council on two prior occasions, and held the key position of council president, as well as working for many years as the city’s registrar of voters, Joe knows the players and how government works. His expertise and perspective will be valued.
Change will be no more pronounced than on the School Committee, where the two citywide non-partisan seats were won by newcomers. Jennifer Townsend Ahearn impressively led the field of four candidates, winning more than 15,000 votes. Also winning is Karen Bachus. The new lineup on the five-member committee leaves Eugene Nadeau as the sole male. The committee faces significant challenges, including the selection of a superintendent and establishing an agenda when schools face declining enrollment and level or reduced state and city funding.
We share the enthusiasm that comes with the start of new terms and welcome those taking on the responsibility of representing the peoples’ interests. It’s a new era.