Portraying herself as a builder and problem solver, Sue Stehouse launched her campaign Tuesday to become Warwick’s first female mayor at a fundraiser attended by about 50 people, including former Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian.
“The people of Warwick deserve leadership with the resolve and resources to meet those challenges,” Stenhouse said. “They deserve leadership with the courage to meet contemporary problems with bold solutions. They deserve leadership with integrity, with a track record of successful results...it is time we consciously – and conscientiously – build up Warwick.”
Stenhouse took the podium at Chelo’s Restaurant after being introduced by recent Pilgrim High School graduate Georgia Testa, who remembers her from when she was four years old and Stenhouse was the lady “with the beautiful voice” who directed the St. Peter Church Youth Choir. Testa told of how years later Stenhouse served as a mentor for her senior project as director of the youth choir.
“Mrs. Stenhouse has always been present, visible and involved in Warwick, and that is the kind of mayor our city needs. She is a woman of action and involvement,” she said.
Several long-time Avedisian supporters, including Mark and Janet Russell and Edward and Helen Tavares, were in the audience. The Russells are working on Stenhouse’s campaign, but Tavares, who has worked on fundraising for many Republican candidates, said he’s not in that role this election year.
State Republican Committee Brandon Bell, Republican Gubernatorial candidate Patricia Morgan and Warwick City GOP leader Richard Cascella were also present. In contrast to the fundraiser held by former Council President Joseph Solomon soon after he stepped in as mayor, city employees did not make up a large segment of attendees. In fact, as best could be determined, there were only two.
Stenhouse, who doesn’t face a primary and expects to kick her campaign into high gear in September, made “building” a cornerstone to her speech.
“I want to build our rapport with state and federal officials to find funding streams that support Warwick programs for education, public safety and public works. I want to build a bridge between our city council and the school committee to develop a sustainable plan for funding the needs of the city’s school system. And I am calling for a stakeholders’ summit to address this issue,” she said.
Stenhouse said she has the “tool belt” to build and lead Warwick, citing her experience on the City Council, as director of Community and Constituent Relations for former Governor Carcieri, working on the Station Fire response events plus business regulation reform, economic development and education initiatives.
“I want to build support for our great city departments with the technical upgrades needed to provide timely, responsive, constructive constituent services. I want to build the planned vision of the City Centre, which supports our transportation hubs and fosters substantive development around the airport and train stations,” she said. “I want to build up our neighborhoods by assembling a regular conference of neighborhood associations to discuss a beneficial sharing of resources. I want to build up assets that help protect our unique history, improve our recreational spaces and sustain our beautiful coastline. I want to build confidence in City Hall.”
“Most of all, I want to build up Warwick’s reputation as a vibrant, innovative, desirable place to live and work, raise a family and retire, go to school and grow a business,” she continued.