Pledging dedication to his community and to do the most for his constituents, Michael Zarum is running for the Ward 2 seat on the City Council. Zarum faces incumbent Thomas Chadronet in the Democratic primary election Sept. 9. The winner of the primary goes on to be the councilman, as there is no Republican or independent candidate vying for the post.
“I am running for councilman, Ward 2 because I plan to take all constituents’ calls and get back to them in a timely manner, something my opponent, Tom Chadronet, has been criticized for not doing,” Zarum said. “People in my Ward deserve to have a reliable City Council representative they can depend on for navigating city services, someone who listens and will be their voice at City Council meetings.”
Chadronet, who was elected two years ago to fill the seat vacated by Bruce Place, could not be reached for this story despite repeated calls over the last three weeks.
Born and raised in Warwick, Zarum has been a Ward 2 resident for more than 25 years.
“I am a Ward 2 native who is proud to have grown up in Ward 2. I want to make our community better,” he said. “The values of working hard, taking care of family and being of service to your community are instilled in me.”
Zarum attended Christopher Rhodes Elementary School, Aldrich Junior High School and Pilgrim High School before obtaining a degree in engineering from the University of Rhode Island and an MBA from Northeastern University. Zarum also studied environmental law, policy and economics at M.I.T.
Zarum’s professional experience includes services as a management consultant as well as a consulting engineer. He’s worked within industry sectors of infrastructure, aerospace and defense systems, information technology, and finance at Raytheon Company and Oracle Systems.
“My experience has been key to my abilities to draft many city resolutions for sitting council members, as well as my drafting a bill that became state law to monitor air quality and environmental health metrics [in relation to T.F. Green Airport],” he said. “I am a strong citizens’ advocate who frequently participates at Warwick City Council and General Assembly sessions speaking on behalf of concerned residents.”
It’s that leadership and proactive nature Zarum wants to bring to Ward 2 as a councilman.
“I love meeting with people. I will call people back. I will listen to people. I will take time and sit down with you and find ways to achieve our community goals,” he said. “Those who know me well, know I am tenacious and don’t give up until I reach a goal. I am personable and people who know me, know that ‘Mike gets things done.’”
Zarum said he would focus on bringing better government to several areas, including holding taxes; improving schools; requiring a long-term road maintenance program; recovering airport-related tax revenue losses by updating the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program; improving environmental health and safety standards; and reviewing the City Charter in an effort to gain more independence from the state by transitioning to a “Home Rule” Charter.
“Residents deserve better value for each tax dollar they pay. That means no tax increases before comparable cost savings initiatives are in place,” he said. “In walking the neighborhoods, I hear and understand that many have concerns about our school system. We need to make sure students and teachers have adequate resources, that school buildings are maintained and have the latest technologies and programs to ensure a quality education.”
Citing the importance of childhood friendships and neighborhood relationships, Zarum said he is opposed to uprooting students in the middle of their multi-year tenure at one school with regard to permanent school closures.
Zarum said he would use his engineering and management experience to implement life-cycle management programs to make sure city infrastructure is professionally managed.
“Our roads, bridges, buildings [including schools], water supply systems, sewer collection and treatment facilities, sports and recreational facilities are key elements people expect to be kept in good shape,” he said. “I have proposed that the city develop a comprehensive road pavement management program with a multi-year phased replacement schedule to ensure our roadways are repaired and once repaired, are maintained so they never again fall to the current state of disrepair.
“I have professional experience managing such programs and want to share that experience with constituents to make Warwick a better place.”
Having advocated for many benefits to the community, including millions of dollars in environmental mitigation work, Zarum said he will continue to advocate for such measures, especially lowering the impacts of T.F. Green Airport on neighborhoods, such as noise, pollution, traffic congestion and air quality.
Zarum said there are broad city-wide zoning and land use issues that need to be addressed, and he would also like to hear ideas from the community on the extension of Route 37 to reduce traffic bottlenecks at the Post Road exits during peak and rush hours.
“I look forward to working with constituents … to turn ideas and goals into new legislation,” he said.
Zarum said he also wants to “bring back the monthly gripe sessions, as were held during the tenures of Gerry Gibbons and Joe Walsh,” in which constituents were given an opportunity to voice and discuss their concerns with council members.
Zarum said he hasn’t held any fundraisers yet, as he’s been more focused on getting out and speaking with the people one-on-one and in small focus groups.
“Every potential voter I have met with who knows me and knows my opponent has stressed they prefer my hands-on personal approach of meeting and spending time with constituents on matters until the goal is reached,” he said. “I would like primary voters to see me as a caring native of Ward 2. One who is educated, professionally experienced, has a solid track record of accomplishment working with members of the community, City Council, Planning Department, Zoning, has built relationships with state representatives, and as a team we will be the best.”
Voters and constituents can contact Zarum via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by telephone at 500-5339 or 781-8369.