I first voted in 1980 when I chose Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan, and for nearly 40 years I have remained a registered Democrat. Occasionally I could be convinced to vote for a Republican candidate, usually at the local level, such as when I voted for Scott Avedisian as mayor of Warwick.
This year, this life-long Democrat will once again be casting a vote for the Republican candidate in the Warwick mayoral race, Sue Stenhouse. I like that she has strong ties to the former administration, and could draw on Scott for advice and support. But I also know Sue well enough to know that her administration will not just be a continuation of Avedisian’s 18 years – she is a strong, independent person who will draw on her many years of experience at multiple levels of government in order to do what is best for our city.
When my wife and I lived in Pawtuxet Village, Sue was our councilwoman and we always found her to be responsive to our observations and concerns. She knows the city from a councilwoman’s perspective but she understands that the mayor’s office is not merely an extension of the city council’s role. Sue has served in the State House as director of emergency preparedness and has demonstrated an ability to carry out large scale public policy, an important function of the mayor’s office.
Sue and I have agreed to disagree on party politics – she has endorsed Bob Flanders for the U.S. Senate, while I happen to like Sheldon Whitehouse both personally and professionally. But at the local levels, party designations in Rhode Island have become meaningless. We have a Democratic State Party Chairman from Warwick, Joe McNamara, who in one House Race gave the party’s official endorsement to a Trump-supporting man over a woman who is a Democratic incumbent. And the Warwick Democratic Party’s City Committee recruited a conservative corporate lawyer, Mark McKenney, to defeat Jeanine Calkin, an incumbent Democratic woman in the Senate District 30 race. In many ways our city and state Democratic committees are more right-leaning than are the few Republican candidates for state and local seats, so please do not be fooled by local party labels.
All things being equal, I would vote for a woman candidate over a man, just in the interest of leveling the playing field. But in our current mayoral race, all things are not equal – Sue Stenhouse is the stronger candidate regardless of gender.
This summer I invested time and money to run in the Democratic primary to be the mayor of Warwick, and if the more than 1,500 people who voted for me would now cast their ballots for Sue Stenhouse, that investment will have proven a good one. Sue is the one brave person who stands between a Super Majority of putative Democrats and their ultimate goal, the mayor’s office. Sue Stenhouse provides us with a strong, independent candidate whose track record proves that her allegiance is not to a political machine but is instead devoted to good public service.
The choice is clear. Please join me in voting for Sue Stenhouse, mayor of Warwick. Sincerely,
Gerald M. Carbone
Balcom Avenue, Warwick