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MEET THE CANDIDATES: North Kingstown Town Council

October 31, 2012

NORTH KINGSTOWN TOWN COUNCIL

Name: Richard A. Welch
Address: 8 Arrow Lane, North Kingstown, RI
Date of Birth: October 16, 1945
Phone Number: (401) 641-5576
E-Mail Address: HYPERLINK "mailto:rawelch911@live.com" rawelch911@live.com
Office Sought: North Kingstown Town Council
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Owner, Apple Construction Corp.
Education: B.S. in Business Administration, Roger Williams University.
Political Background: Currently serve on the North Kingstown School Committee, past chair and vice chair.
Community Activities (Five or fewer): Chairman NK Economic Development Commission, Chairman NK Asset Management Commission, Chairman NK Chamber of Commerce, Bayside Family Health Center Board of Directors, Adeline Laplante Memorial Center Board of Directors.
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? I am not happy with the way our community is being run. All of the legal actions taken by the current town council take away funds to support education and provide services to our residents. I do not agree with the 24-hour shift for the firefighters, which I feel ultimately put all of our residents and the firefighters at risk. Lack of any consolidation between the town and school committee is the direct result of very poor relations between the two groups, which result in higher-than-necessary operating cost and higher taxes along with poorer service to the residents.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected?
The town council needs to push for our town to be more business-friendly and encourage business investment in our community. This will require support of the Economic Development Commission and giving more direction to the Planning Commission and Zoning Boards.
It takes too long for an applicant to get the answers they need to do things in North Kingstown especially when it requires a decision from planning and/or zoning. These are very expensive processes that need to be looked into. These same processes take a lot less time in South Kingstown, which saves money for the applicant. We need to do a much better job in this area.
I will push for consolidation of positions between the school department and the town administration and look for other ways to cut operating cost.
I will also look to change the schedule of the firefighters back to the previous schedule and look to cut overtime, which has been running over $1 million each year.
I have suggested to the school committee that an Advisory Commission be set up to look into any possible changes in the Health and Dental Plans offered by the school department and the town. This commission would include both labor and management with the goal of saving premium dollars for both employees and the taxpayers.

Name: Elizabeth Scullin Dolan
Address: 145 Cassandra Lane, North Kingstown, RI
Date of Birth: August 19, 1960
Daytime Phone Number: (401) 294-9952
Cell Phone Number: (401) 480-9748
E-Mail Address: Matpatpete@cox.net
Office Sought: Town Council
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Attorney—not in practice; Member representing Management, State Labor Relations Board (2000-present).
Education: Wheaton College, Norton, MA. BA in Government (1982); Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA, JD (1985).
Political Background: Building Code Bd of Appeals (1996-2000); Planning Commission (2000-2002); Town Council, President (2002-2004); Planning Commission (2005-2008); Town Council, President (2008-present).
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? I am running for one more term to continue service to my community, and to complete the long-term goals and objectives of economic development and managed growth in North Kingstown. With a good Council team, we can continue to weather the storm of the economy, and hopefully see renewed prosperity and growth town-wide.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? The same as above.

Name: Michael Bestwick
Address: 59 Whisper Lane, North Kingstown, RI.
Date of Birth: March 18, 1959.
Phone Number: (401) 294-9642.
E-Mail Address: HYPERLINK "mailto:mbestwick@northkingstown.org" mbestwick@northkingstown.org.
Office Sought: North Kingstown Town Council.
Party Affiliation: Democrat.
Occupation: Owner of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, LTD.
Education: Graduate, Coventry High School; attended RI Junior College.
Political Background: Town Council, two terms (2008-2012).
Community Activities (Five or fewer): A Past Director of the Better Business Bureau of Rhode Island, Saint Bernard’s Church, RI Shriners, The 100 Club of Rhode Island, North Kingstown Leisure Services Committee.
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? First, I would like to thank the fine people of North Kingstown for supporting me at the polls the past two elections. My family has run a local business for more than 40 years. First my father, then myself, and now my son, Neil. The people of the town have been good to us. Therefore I want to give back to the town my business skills and values.
Over the past four years, I have accomplished: 1. Fought for and received funding for the Post Road sewer project. When completed new businesses and their taxes will help support North Kingstown; 2. Working with area businesses; 3. I support the lowest residential tax rate and fiscal responsibility.
This is a crucial time for our town. I would like to continue my service on the council helping to make wise future decisions. We are a senior community and their fixed income cannot be decimated by higher taxes.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? Over the next two years, I hope to continue and hopefully finish: 1. The Post Road Sewer Project will revitalize business development, thereby adding to our tax base; 2. An accommodation between business owners and residents making the gateway to Exeter a reality; 3. Work to help Quonset’s last 300 acres to expand our tax base; 4. I would like to look at freezing property taxes for those seniors 70 and older. Too many seniors are living on a fixed income and can not afford the additional taxes being burdened on them.

Name: Carol Hueston
Address: 58 Deerfield Court, North Kingstown, RI
Date of Birth: May 22, 1945
Phone Number: (401) 294-9680
E-Mail Address: chueston@cox.net
Office Sought: North Kingstown Town Council
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Retired teacher of English, Warwick School Department
Education: BA, MA
Political Background: School Committee, Town Council
Community Activities (Five or fewer): West Bay YMCA Board, Gilbert Stuart Board, Rotary, Lions Club
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? I am seeking re-election because I believe I have contributed materially to maintaining the quality of life we enjoy in North Kingstown. My 59 years in the Town and my four years on the Council have given me a perspective on what a Town Council needs to do to be successful as well as to be supported by the citizens of the Town. I am a good listener; I have served on the Town Council and School Committee; I know about the burdens property taxes place on our citizens and have worked to keep them as affordable as possible without impacting quality of life; I am aware of the problems with our water supply; economic development; education; upcoming budgets and have worked tirelessly to address these issues. The agreements with the Quonset Development Corporation, Sewer, Municipal Services, and Pilot, have put the town closer to the revitalization and economic development of Post Road. The collegial atmosphere to other Councilors as well to the public has been advantageous to the realization of the goals that I believe will help the Town to continue to achieve an enviable quality of life and preserve our environment.
We have negotiated taxpayer-friendly contracts with two of our unions that save the town money and are fair to the worker.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? I have and will continue to promote a business friendly atmosphere. The installation of sewers along Post Road will be an enticement for business to locate here.
I will continue to look for ways to broaden the tax base and negotiate contracts that are taxpayer friendly.
The School Department is the largest portion of the budget. I hope to be able to work cooperatively with the school committee.

Name: Tracey McCue
Address: 31 Chimney Rock Drive, North Kingstown, RI
Date of Birth: September 10,1958
Phone Number: (401) 885-7983
E-Mail Address: HYPERLINK "mailto:Concretegirl3458@aol.com" Concretegirl3458@aol.com
Office Sought: Town Council.
Party Affiliation: Democrat.
Occupation: Owner of a small construction company.
Education: Associates CCRI, Bachelor's Elem.Ed/Special Ed. RIC.
Political Background; Previously ran for Town Council, School Committee, presently serving on the Building Code Board of Appeals.
Why have you decided to run fro office for first time(or again)? I am running for office because I am concerned about the direction our town is heading. The basic character of the town is under siege and residents’ voices are not being heard.
What are your platform/plans for the area if elected? Revitalize Post Road with an aggressive economic plan, streamline the process on Boards and Commissions in Town, level the playing field for all businesses, foster a cooperative, working relationship with the School Committee.

Name: Brent Cleaveland
Address: 25 Sea Grass Way, North Kingstown, RI
Date of Birth: July 9, 1951
Daytime Phone Number: (401) 267-0045
Cell Phone Number: (401) 556-9616
E-Mail Address: brcleave@aol.com
Office Sought: North Kingstown Town Council
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Executive Director, Trade Association
Education: Private & public schools
Political Background: None
Community Activities (Five or fewer):
Member: Wickford Elementary School and Beechwood House Reuse Advisory Committee; Treasurer, and past director, Wickford Point Homeowner’s Association; Mentored church members on sound financial practices; Rotary International, Paul Harris Fellow; Triathlete and marathoner.
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? It is my time to stand up for what is right; to do my part to promote North Kingstown as the beautiful seaside community it is, with the fiscal staying power to provide quality of life for all residents. Rhode Island has provided me a living for over 40 years, but I am really concerned now. An event I call EXODUS, RI has been quietly taking place for years.
In the past three years, I have lost four good friends to states with a lower cost of living and lower taxes. All the Florida plates you see in the summer are good examples of this. These people who are establishing permanent residence in other states are the people that used to pay taxes here. How long will this be sustainable?
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? 1. The town council should serve staggered four-year terms. In each election, either two or three would be up for election. The potential turnover of the entire council each election could possibly destroy continuity and increase the potential for a significant learning curve downtime.
2. My goal is to promote cooperation between the Town Council and the School Committee. The presented school budget should not be a surprise to the council when presented. Having a council member sit in on the school budgeting process would provide a valuable link to the information. Educators should educate and business people should conduct the business. I also support “zero-based budgeting”, which is a process where you would re-evaluate each line item each year.
3. Quality of life for all residents. I believe in promoting and marketing the town assets. We currently have art shows, concerts, music on the beach, and even a Christmas event. I would support more promotion of waterfront tourist draws.
4. A fast track business development permit process would help promote business development. Quonset Development Corporation has a “plan to shovel in sixty days” fast track program that should serve as a model for our town. I support a small business ombudsman that would help developing businesses cut through the red tape.

Name: Donald A. Souza Jr
Address: 120 Oak Tree Drive, North Kingstown, RI
Date of Birth: January 10, 1967
Daytime Phone Number: 401-541-9055
Cell Phone Number: 401-742-6024
E-Mail Address: donaldsouzajr@gmail.com
Office Sought: North Kingstown Town Council
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Public Servant
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? See website souzafornkcouncil.com.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? See website souzafornkcouncil.com.

Name: Mark Hawkins
Address: 89 Miner Road, North Kingstown
Phone Number: (401) 580-9745
E-Mail Address: markleohawkins@gmail.com
Office Sought: North Kingstown Town Council
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: For the past 30 years, I have owned and operated businesses in North Kingstown—adapting to the changing business climate along the way. I currently own and operate the Rolling Greens Golf Course. I also bring extensive experience in innovative land development, focusing on creating sustainable communities that preserve open space. I also have expertise in groundwater protection—a critical issue in long-term planning decisions.
Education: North Kingstown High School
Political Background: First time running for office
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? As a lifelong resident of North Kingstown, I care about the future of our town. The charm and character of our community are critical to our decision to live here. North Kingstown residents are facing an escalating tax burden that impacts every family and senior in our community. This strain on our finances must be considered in every decision made by the town council. As a member of the council, I will consider the long-term impact of planning and growth, recognizing the impact on taxpayers today and for the foreseeable future. I will encourage development that is both environmentally sound and contributes positively to our tax base.
We need to maintain a business environment that allows opportunity for our young people to create and grow their own businesses. I want to contribute to this future by ensuring that municipal government is streamlined and efficient, that our valuable natural resources are protected, and that expenditures are closely examined to maximize the value of every tax dollar. The citizens of North Kingstown deserve this, and I will commit my effort and experience to making this happen.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? In an effort to control our escalating property taxes, I will monitor expenditures through a rigorous process—looking at all facets of town government. Utilizing technology to control costs will be considered whenever possible.
A long-term view of property maintenance will be a priority in order to avoid the need for large, unexpected repairs to buildings. My experience as a builder allows me to contribute much-needed expertise in this area. Again, our tax burden can be reduced by proper planning of current and future structural maintenance.
North Kingstown residents cannot continue to pay to maintain property that is not being utilized for the benefit of our residents. I will advocate for the disposition of unused school and municipal buildings.
Lastly, I am a fact-based decision maker. Weighing evidence from multiple sources in an open, transparent council process is necessary for good long-term planning.

Name: Kerry P McKay
Address: 747 Shermantown Rd; Saunderstown RI
Date of Birth: August 26, 1955
Phone Number: (401) 439-5547
E-Mail Address:kerry21mckay@gmail.com
Office Sought: North Kingstown Town Council
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Furniture Business
Education: URI BA Political Science
Political Background: None
Community Activities (Five or fewer):Zoning board review NK; Textile Marketing Design Advisory Board URI; Attorney General Business task Force(1 meeting only); Contributor to numerous State and Local charitable organizations through our business; Hall of Fame reciepient NKHS and URI track and field
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? I can no longer sit on the sidelines while waiting for hope and change! I believe that the team of Republican candidates, of which I am a member, offers NK great potential to solve some of our most pressing fiscal issues. I am honored to have been chosen to be part of this team!
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? Teamwork, Cooperation between the town council and school committee; create an environment of open dialogue to identify and solve the towns most pressing issues. I believe that we all need to work together for the betterment of our community.

Name: Dorman J. Hayes, Jr.
Address: 9 State St., North Kingstown, RI
Date of Birth: December 2, 1937
Phone Number: (401) 884-7866
Office Sought: North Kingstown Town Council
Party Affiliation: Independent
Occupation: Retired
Education: Graduated from South Kingstown High School, Class of 1955; Attended URI, completed two years in college of arts and sciences, one year in college in agriculture. Over 180 hours.
Political Background: In 1960, registered as a Republican. Wanted to vote in the gubernatorial primary, switched to a democrat. In 1998, switched to unaffiliated so I could run as an independent candidate. Have been unaffiliated since 1998.
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? I haven't really been a high-contracting party in the field. I haven't been out really campaigning. I've been more of an advocated candidate than fighting to secure a seat on the council. i'm an advocate person and I suppose I ran primarily just to keep my name visible to people, to show that I'm seriously concerned about issues. I'm more of an advocate candidate than a real contender.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? My basic interests are: I'm an environmentalist, I am interested in preserving our farmlands and woodlands and environment. I'm a temperance person. I'm a prohibitionist, I would vote against it on general principle. I would like to see a town ordinance prohibiting sale of tobacco, alcohol and lottery tickets in NK. The third issue I'm interested in is I live in a project called King's Grant and I'm interested in affordable housing, especially for middle and low income people in NK.

Name: Richard Lamere
Address: 50 Birchwood Drive, North Kingstown, RI
Phone Number: (401) 965-2820
E-Mail Address: lamere4towncouncil@aol.com
Office Sought: Town Council
Party Affiliation: Independent
Occupation: Self-Employed (general contractor 30 years)
Education: AA, BA Rhode Island College, Grad Studies Rhode Island College
Community Activities (Five or fewer): HDC Chairman and member 4 years
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? The simple answer is that I, like many of the residents I have spoken with, am not happy with the direction of our town. I have lived in NK for most of my life. Our town has a rich history and holds much promise for the future. As a longtime resident, I feel a responsibility to our town. We need to find common ground that will move NK forward in a responsible manner on all matters.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? Integrity, honesty and principles as well as common sense solutions are the ingredients to good government. Economic development and expanding the tax base in a manner that is consistent with NK's character is a top priority. The Post Road corridor is of utmost importance.
Implementing and/or simplifying town processes for both individuals and business. To this end, I would like to implement a small business/resident counsel to advise the Town Council.
Resolving the ongoing town/firefighter contract dispute. I believe that both sides must take a fresh look at their motivations in this matter.
Taxes: Our tax rate is high compared to surrounding towns. That is why it is critically important to make NK a town that responsibly encourages revitalization and growth. Everyone knows that we are in tough economic times. I believe that we must encourage our state representatives to find and implement initiatives that will seriously send a message that Rhode Island is open to business. The negative publicity and downward economic spiral that our state has been linked with for too long must be reversed.
The lack of cooperation between the School Committee and the Town Council is not the type of message we should be sending if we are serious about attracting business and new residents to NK. This issue must be resolved. The turf wars must cease for the good of NK.
I believe that there is always a solution to a problem. In order to make progress, all parties concerned must be willing to work for that solution.
At the top of my agenda will always be the people of NK.

Name: Kevin Maloney
Address: 78 Wickham Road, North Kingstown, RI
Date of Birth: July 2, 1959
Phone Number: (401) 295-2514
E-Mail Address: maloney4nk@savenk.org
Office Sought: North Kingstown Town Council
Party Affiliation: Independent
Occupation: Product Designer/3D CAD Modeler
Education: BS Industrial Design - University of Cincinnati
Political Background: None
Community Activities (Five or fewer): Participant in drafting a new Wind Energy Ordinance before moratorium was enacted; active member of Healthy Places by Design programs, Village Centers and Biking & Hiking groups; Active in RESP (Renewable Energy Stakeholders Group) at URI; Neighborhood Board of Directors – Secretary for 6 years; Past Ocean State Soccer and NK Rec Soccer coach.
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? The current town council seems to forget who they report to at the top of the town organizational chart, the people of the town of North Kingstown. After 2 years of attending town meetings, even with packed meeting halls, it has become apparent to the residents of NK that the current council doesn’t listen to the citizens they serve. Having had enough, numerous people across town requested I run. After considerable thought, I chose to accept.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? This town is in desperate need of new business and commercial growth to bring in revenue and help reduce our property taxes as well as added job opportunities. The town officials seem to be driving business out. I would review the Post Road Corridor Plan and look to streamline the zoning process. Within months of being elected, I plan on holding a town-wide business forum to both hear what challenges current business owners are facing and my thoughts on bringing customers to NK. I plan on introducing short-term tax incentives for attracting new business. I would also like to create an Entertainment District in town. I would like to solicit the town residents and also developers to suggest where it would best be located and implement a competition in determining unique design features that would draw patrons to that area. With full community involvement, there should be strong support of the project. We need to build in our existing business centers, eliminate all the vacant buildings and lots, and share customers with existing business owners. We do not need to create a new town center in an agricultural area we all agreed and paid to preserve and protect. We need to maintain North Kingstown’s unique character and charm and not create the beginning of Warwick’s Bald Hill Shopping district in the South. Are we going to be just another intersection of Home Depots and WalMarts or a real and unique destination?

Name: Colin Michael O’Sullivan
Address: 284 Laurel Ridge Lane, North Kingstown, RI
Date of Birth: September 22, 1956
Phone Number: (401) 294-6658
E-Mail Address: osullivan4nk@savenk.org
Office Sought: North Kingstown Town Council
Party Affiliation: Independent
Occupation: Vice President of Sales, DL Thurrott Inc.
Education: Honors Bachelor in Business, Diploma in Industrial Studies
Political Background: none, Independent
Community Activities (Five or fewer): Actively involved as a resident in NK Town Council and Planning Commission meetings on a variety of town wide issues; seated and voting member of RI Statewide Planning’s Wind Energy Siting Advisory Group, advocating against industrial wind turbines in residential locations; participant in the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Siting Partnership (RESP) at URI; appointed by Town Council as a seated and voting member of the Rte 2/102 Vision team to represent the views of residents towards potential commercial and residential development in the area west of Rte 4; Homeowners Association Board of Directors, Mountain Laurel Estates - Treasurer for 5 years.
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? North Kingstown faces many challenges for a successful and prosperous future. We need fundamental changes on many fronts: non-partisan solutions to revitalize the town and keep it one of the best places to live in RI, as well as to attract new, sustainable businesses to existing commercial centers, while retaining the charm of our residential and coastal areas. NK must have new, independent leadership, not just “more of the same” failed policies. I want to see NK have a bright future, but without losing its unique character.
I am seeking office to bring a longer term, consistent and responsible approach to planning and development, and to insure the voices of the residents and business owners are heard on the issues affecting the character and prosperity of this town.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? North Kingstown faces a huge challenge: the economy is very tough, federal and state funds are being cut back and our residents and businesses are rightly demanding a halt to tax increases year after year. We have to rebuild a true community spirit in our town, where everyone is listened to, treated fairly and with respect.
As an Independent, I will work tirelessly to achieve these goals without influence from individual special interests or political party policies.
I pledge to: support existing businesses, by consulting with them and listening to their needs, in close cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce; encourage new sustainable commercial growth in established business districts to prevent sprawl and minimize infrastructure costs by marketing Post Road and other business areas to investors, and establishing suitable targeted tax incentives to help achieve this goal; focus on improving the economic health of the whole town by implementing the Comprehensive Plan fairly and consistently, not continually changing it in favor of individual projects for a privileged few; review all town expenditures, spend only within the town’s means and maintain a healthy budget to hold the line on taxes; bring transparency to all activities of town departments and committees, by ensuring wider publication of town meetings and the issues under discussion to encourage earlier public comment and involvement in the decision making; bring back cooperation and accountability between town council, the school committee and other town employees by reasonable negotiating and arbitration, rather than by expensive and divisive lawsuits; protect our natural resources, particularly our aquifer and future drinking water supply by implementing conservation programs with incentives and preventing unsuitable development in sensitive areas; vote all issues on their merits, without influence from special interests or party politics and listen to the people of North Kingstown.

Name: Rickey Thompson
Address: 194 Plain Rd, North Kingstown, RI
Date of Birth: March 19, 1955
Daytime Phone Number: (401) 269-9184
Cell Phone Number: (401) 269-9184
E-Mail Address: Thompson4nk@savenk.org
Office Sought: North Kingstown Town Council
Party Affiliation: Independent
Occupation: Retired
Education: AAS Machine Design / Engineering, RIJC /URI Ext.
Political Background: None
Community Activities (Five or fewer): Active member of Healthy Places by Design programs; Village Centers and Biking & Hiking groups; regular attendee of NK Town Council and various committee meetings frequently contacting various members sharing my thoughts and concerns.
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? As I’ve attended several years of NK Town Council and various committee meetings, it has become increasingly apparent that the leadership of our town council has lost its way. Town Council actions and considerations have included annual property tax increases, wasteful lawsuits, a push towards unwanted and unsuitable commercial development in residential areas, allowing the continued decline of Post Rd and the placement of a 40-story wind turbine in a residential area.
As I consider myself a highly motivated and intelligent individual with the ability to get things done by including and working with all concerned, I’m confident that together we can save the charm and character of NK.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? I will hold the line on taxes through consolidation, eliminating redundant efforts and wasteful spending including unnecessary lawsuits.
I will also increase our tax base by attracting and directing new business to our existing commercial zones and or business centers to protect our residential areas, aquifer and open space.
My business goals include: involving and working with our existing businesses; provide business a voice in planning; review and simplify business rules and regulations; work closely with our Chamber of Commerce; seek advice from neighboring town officials to gain an understanding of their successes; formulate a fair and effective business tax incentive plan
I will work towards transparent town government ensuring that residents are informed before the fact with a goal of resident participation allowing their voices to be heard while being properly represented. I will work with residents and our town IT department to find a preferred, effective and efficient means of ensuring that residents are aware of issues that are important to them.
Most important and above all I will listen to, work for and be accountable to the residents of NK.

Source 
Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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