LINCOLN CHAFEE (I)
ELIZABETH ROBERTS (D)
US Representative District 2
While the phrase “Throw the bums out!” was heard loudly and frequently throughout Rhode Island this election season, East Greenwich voters ignored it Tuesday. All five incumbents on the local ballot, three on the Town Council and two on the School Committee, were re-elected comfortably. It was also a big night for local Republicans, as all seven on the town ballot won election. They generally attributed their strong showing not to the national wave of support the party enjoyed, but as acknowledgement that voters endorse the way they and the town have dealt with the state's fiscal crisis. Council President Michael B. Isaacs led the way with 3,672 votes, winning support for a fourth two-year term from 63.6 percent of the 5,774 local voters who visited the polls, a 54.3 percent turnout. Mark Watkins Gee, an East Greenwich Fire District commissioner, earned a spot on the council by taking second with 3,508 votes. He was followed by council Vice President Henry V. Boezi with 3.471 votes; incumbent Michael S. Kiernan with 3,331; and newcomer Jeffrey B. Cianciolo with 3,181. Former council member Joseph E. Cardello, the only Democrat on the council ballot, took 2,569 votes, and independent James M. Cullen, the town's harbormaster, finished seventh and last with 2,305 votes. Republican incumbent Mary Ellen Winters topped the School Committee ballot with 3,072 votes, with fellow Republican David R. Green, the only other partisan candidate, taking second with 2,909 votes. The final two available four-year terms went to incumbent Susan M. Records with 2,805 votes and John G. Sommer with 2,417 votes. Trailing were Dennis W. Votta with 2,252 votes, Lisa Ann DiIorio with 1,930 votes and Robert Anthony DiIorio with 1,440. Isaacs attributed the GOP sweep to voters' belief that the five represented a strong team, one he felt could be as effective as the current council. (Republican Richard P. Buonauito did not seek another term, and Democrat Mark B, Schwager lost a bid for the state Senate District 35 seat Tuesday). “Voters looked at our track record as a group, and strong records as individuals. We have a good working relationship among ourselves, and all of us stand for fiscal discipline and consolidation of services with other towns,” he said. Gee, who did much of his campaigning by bicycle instead of foot, said he had felt optimistic about being elected after meeting voters. “I had no idea how I'd do, but I had a good time doing it,” said Gee, adding that a collegial relationshop among his council mates will help them accomplish their goals. Boezi, who estimated knocking on about 3,000 doors during the campaign, said he was inspired by the two newcomers. “I predicted a Republican sweep, and the difference is this guy right here,” he said, pointing at Gee. “Everywhere I went, I saw his fliers, and it was clear he'd put in a lot of effort. And I felt good about what Jeff will bring to the council.” Cianciolo admitted he didn't knock on as many doors, given his professional and family obligations, but felt his message got through. “I'll be serving with three incumbents who have a lot of instititional knowledge to be downloaded,” he said, adding that he plans to explore incorporating the East Greenwich Fire District into town government and eliminating the financial town meeting, Kiernan said the struggle to keep real estate tax down and deal with debt service on the town's bonds will occupy much of the council's attention. “We're looking at a tough next couple of years. This council's going to have to make a lot of unpopular decisions.” he said. Green hopes the newly elected members will help the School committee change its focus. “There's been a lot of conversation about adults, superintendents, custodians. When I heard that, I turned to my wife and said, 'What about the kids?' “ said Green, whose wife Kathy has been a teacher for 36 years and now substitutes in local schools. Sommer is hoping to get moving on technology and guidance issues, but is keeping a close eye on the school bond and the possibility of giving some of the leftover money from construction of the new Cole Middle School back to the town. “We have to spend it wisely, but we do have to give back,” he said. Town voters also approved two local referenda. A $1 million bond to improve and repair roads in the western part of town passed easily, 4,166 to 1.292. A Town Charter change to notify residents that a copy of the town budget will be available at Town Hall by April 1 each year also passed, 3,383 to 2,000.
CHARLESTOWN -- Voters again backed the candidates endorsed by the Charlestown Citizens Alliance during the general election. But this time, it brings two new faces to the Town Council.