Newly elected Ward 8 City Councilman Anthony Sinapi was probably wishing he had at least chosen to wear a nice pair of slacks on Monday night, as he was invited by Council President Steve Merolla to take his Ward 9 chair and watch the meeting unfold next to the seat that will become his as of January 2019.
To a round of applause Sinapi, wearing shorts and a collared t-shirt, made his way to the chair and sat down next to Joe Gallucci, the senior-most member of the Warwick City Council who he will soon replace in Ward 8. Fittingly enough, Sinapi will then become the youngest member of the council since Scott Avedisian was first elected to the Ward 1 seat in 1990.
“I didn't think that it would be quite so soon that I would become the second youngest member of the council,” joked Ward 2 Councilman Jeremy Rix, who attended and graduated Roger Williams Law School with Sinapi, during a congratulatory message.
Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur tagged onto the joke with his own perspective.
“I would also like to congratulate Anthony on his win, that's pretty exciting,” he said. “And on another note…what I find depressing is I just found out I will be the oldest member on the city council. Thank you Councilman Gallucci.”
Gallucci extended a hand to Sinapi to provide any guidance he could prior to his first term beginning, saying, “I've offered any assistance or anything I can do to assist Anthony in this new venture.”
Sinapi was touched by the showing of support from his new colleagues.
“It was [nice], and unexpected,” he said after the meeting concluded. “I didn't expect to be up here either, as you could maybe tell from the attire. I came from my kid’s open house and then came here thinking I'd be watching, as normal.”
Sinapi secured a victory in a race for Ward 8 that could be considered as much of an upset as any local city council race could be. Going up against Bethany Furtado, who earned the endorsement of the Rhode Island Democratic Party and has an established political pedigree, Sinapi managed to secure over 54 percent of the vote. He credits his widespread canvassing and consistent attendance of municipal meetings as what made the difference.
Sinapi had the support of the Warwick Teachers Union.
“It helped I've been going to meetings for both city council and school committee for years so my face wasn't unfamiliar, at least to people who go,” he said. “I'm on some of the committees, I help run charities in the state, none of the issues are new to me. The only thing that will be new is I have a better opportunity to do something about it.”
Sinapi mentioned securing a home rule charter to better delineate responsibilities between the schools and the city as a major issue, along with sewers, roads and taxes. He also mentioned quality of life issues, such as a particularly dangerous intersection outside of Greenwich Village apartments that he wants to see addressed.
“But there's a lot more than just that, and sooner rather than later I can do something, hopefully,” he said.
Sinapi has no opponent come November, as no Republican or independent declared in Ward 8. He will officially assume his new position in January of next year. He said he was itching to get started and providing a voice for people within his neighborhoods.
“I'm not only ready, I'm eager,” he said. “I got a lot of people from going door-to-door who need some stuff done, and I want to get it done.”