What is your current job/occupation? How have your past life experiences and education prepared you for a role on the council?
I am a registered pharmacist. Throughout my career, I have served in various leadership roles including Director of Pharmacy at two different hospital systems where I managed multi-million-dollar budgets, large staffs and operations in a complex, regulated environment. My life experiences living abroad and in positions of immense responsibility have prepared me for public service. And as a pharmacist and scientist, I make decisions based on facts and data, not emotion.
Why are you seeking public office? If you are an incumbent, what do you hope to achieve in the next term if elected? If you are a challenger, what do you see as the flaws of the current leadership and how would you do things differently?
I am running to restore civility and transparency to the Council. The current Town Council has rushed important votes on housing ordinances and other important matters with insufficient public input and stakeholder collaboration…often with insulting and unprofessional behavior. These rash decisions have divided the town and cost the taxpayers in legal fees. I am extremely disappointed in how certain councilors have handled the library issue and has mistreated library supporters and staff.
Without elaborating, please state your top three priorities for the town if elected.
Top three priorities: 1 - Construction of a new library at the Belmont Building. 2 - Protecting our neighborhoods from noise/parking nuisances and preserving the character of neighborhoods with appropriate development densities. 3 - Investments in roadways, bikeways, water, and sewer infrastructure. Lately, I have a growing concern about our water supply and water quality, and I would like to see exploration of new drinking water supply options.
What can be done locally to assist residents stay healthy and businesses stay afloat through the COVID crisis? If elected, how would you specifically assist local businesses during this period?
Continue policies to give businesses more flexibility to operate, such as expanded outdoor/on-street dining; ensuring that fishermen will continue to be able to sell direct to the public and providing assistance with COVID testing and contact tracing resources; working with the state to ensure the money that was allotted for small busines relief be used for the intended purpose of helping the small business community during this unprecedented time and not for the state’s budget shortfall. I would also like to see the Economic Development Council be reestablished and see local business community members be a part of this council as well as individuals who are experts in the field of economic development on this council. The small business community is the economic backbone of our local community and we need to help our local businesses who have been faced with the biggest of challenges during the COVID pandemic. I would also like to see the tax rates on local businesses addressed.
Do you support continuing the William C. O'Neill Bike Path through Canonchet Farm to the town beach or would you seek an alternative route for the path to the beach if elected? If you support another route, what is it?
I am open to continuing the bike path through Canonchet Farm but in the meantime would recommend a comprehensive traffic safety study for the existing bikeway through state funding.
Do you support the town's recently passed three-college-student ordinance? Why or why not? If not, is there an alternative ordinance you favor? If elected, how would you specifically enforce any ordinance designed to reduce student behavior and/or open up the town to more families if you are in favor of such a law?
I support limiting unrelated parties living in a single household, but I do object to some of the language in the new ordinance, and the manner in which the Council dismissed public input and rejected the advice of the Planning Board. I think the key to improving safety in our neighborhoods is to establish a Code Enforcement Task Force including participation of public safety and URI officials.
I reached out to the Dean of Students at URI about this issue. The University offered to participate in recurring dialogue to address the concerns of residents and hold students accountable. In fact, in recent years, there has been little communication to the University from the Town on enforcement issues. I think the question of three or four students is the wrong question…what we should be asking is: “how do we better enforce our laws and make seasonal renters more accountable to be good neighbors?” I am very sympathetic to residents who live in neighborhoods that have a lot of seasonal rental units and have to endure certain noise and parking nuisances. I do not believe the answer is to implement poorly crafted discriminatory and exclusionary housing policies that make the Town vulnerable to housing discrimination lawsuits.
I am committed to improving our neighborhoods and improving our laws. If elected, I will leverage my role on the URI Women’s Leadership Committee and Alumni Engagement Council to solicit more participation from the University to solve our problem. We have more work to do on this issue. We have to roll up our sleeves and come up with a better solution.
If elected, would you support Pier Liquors staying in its current location (whether by lease or purchase) or do you favor the entire town-owned Pier Marketplace property for the new public library project?
I like the idea of Pier Liquors leasing its current space from the Town. Lease income from Pier Liquors would offset common area maintenance fees for the future proposed library planned to be co-located in this building. This appears to be a win-win solution for Pier Liquors, the Library, and the Town.
The town recently enacted a rate hike in numerous categories, including admission and parking, at the town beach. Do you support the increases?
I question the primary motive and extent of the recent fee increases. I would support incremental increases to cover labor increases, operating costs, reserves, and capital improvements, but I believe the increases this year exceeded normal inflationary increases and were designed with the larger goal of reducing visitor density. Exclusionary policies such as these can adversely impact local businesses who rely on visitors…particularly in the service and hospitality industries.
Do you support existing public parking at CRMC-designated coastal access points across the town?
I support parking at CRMC-designated coastal access points, and it is important that we vigorously protect and maintain public rights-of-way, especially those that provide access to the ocean.
As a first-generation Polish American, I have worked hard to have a successful career as a pharmacist and am so fortunate and blessed to own my home in Narragansett since 1998. My family taught me the importance of good work ethic as well as treating everyone with kindness and respect. I have core values of honesty, integrity, respect, and ethics—values that are so important for any public servant. I have had the opportunity to travel the world and can honestly say there is no place I would rather live than Narragansett. I cherish this town and want to see the town grow and prosper and as your Town Councilor, I will always do what is best for this town and listen to the will of the people. I believe in leading by example and will be a unifying voice on the council: respectful, reasonable, and responsible. As Albert Einstein once said, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” I humbly ask for your support, confidence, and most importantly your vote on November 3rd (or before).
Candidates for Narragansett Town Council will be profiled in the order of Primary Election results, beginning with first place and ending with tenth place. Candidates were asked to limit responses to 1,000 words.