By TRACEY O’NEILL
Special to the Standard
NORTH KINGSTOWN – Declaration day has passed and those who are tossing their hats into the proverbial arena have put forth their intentions to run for political office.
September 11, 2012 marks Primary Day, when voters will take to the polls to decide the candidates who will remain alive for the November 6 general election. Both the Towns of North Kingstown and Exeter have a full slate of candidates ready to serve as Town Council and School Committee members.
North Kingstown Town Council
The NK Town Council has several members seeking re-election, with council President, Elizabeth Dolan and member Carol H. Hueston as endorsed Republicans running for a third term. Newcomers to the political foray are fellow Republicans Brent R. Cleaveland, Mark L. Hawkins and Kerry P. McKay.
Cleaveland, a town resident for more than a decade and an endorsed candidate, says he is bringing the message of fiscal responsibility and sound fiscal management to voters this election.
“There are times when you have to stand up and be counted,” Cleaveland said. “I’ve been in business my entire career and have been a turn-around specialist. With all of the issues happening right now- I think we should look at improving the quality of life for all the town residents.”
Endorsed Republicans include Mark L. Hawkins, Kerry P. McKay, Dolan, Hueston and Cleaveland.
Democrat Michael Bestwick is also seeking re-election to the council as an endorsed candidate along with Richard A. Welch, who has chosen to run for council, leaving his seat on the School Committee open.
Endorsed Democrats include Bestwick and Welch, Tracey A. McCue and Donald A. Souza, Jr.
In the Independent arena, veteran school committee member Larry D. Ceresi has decided to leave both the School Committee and his party affiliation behind. Ceresi who will run as an Independent for Town Council, leaving his committee seat (2014) open.
Ceresi will be joined by five candidates running as Independents this term: Dorman J. Hayes, Richard E. Lamere, Kevin V. Maloney, Colin Michael O’Sullivan and Rickey L. Thompson.
North Kingstown School Committee
The North Kingstown School Committee will see two of its current members up for re-election. Lynda Avanzato will be running to keep her seat as an endorsed Democrat, along with Melvoid Benson who was not endorsed by the Democratic Committee.
Endorsed candidates include Robert S. Jones and Augustine A. Manocchia, Jr. on the Republican side and Avanzato on the Democratic side.
Melvoid J. Benson and Kenneth Carter are both running as unendorsed Democrats while Cheryl A. Clarkin will run as an Independent.
Exeter Town Council
The Exeter Town Council has all five of its present members seeking re-election in November. Seeking an additional term are Democrats Calvin A. Ellis, Arlene B. Hicks and William P. Monahan. Independent member Raymond A. Morrissey, Jr. and Republican Daniel W. Patterson will also be on the ballot.
Ellis, Hicks, Monahan and former town councilman Robert E. Johnson are all running as endorsed Democrats while Patterson joins Edward F. Nataly and Lincoln B. Picillo as endorsed Republican candidates.
Morriseey is the only current Independent running for a seat on the council.
Exeter School Committee
Seeking re-election to the Exeter School Committee is Vice-Chair Mark Gaetano Rafanell, who will be running as an Independent, and Valerie J. Zuercher, a Democrat. Constance A. Hathaway, a Republican, will challenge the two incumbents.