Republican candidate for mayor Sue Stenhouse told members of the Warwick Rotary Club Thursday there is more than one people mover in the city.
With a picture of her standing on the Green Airport people mover, Stenhouse said she looks to become the person to move the city forward, although most of her talk centered on what she did as the Ward 1 councilwoman years ago and, following that, her work with the administration of former Governor Donald Carcieri.
She described herself as being “passionate” about public service and a leader.
“I love to problem solve,” she said. She spoke of the logistics of providing housing for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and dealing with the issues affecting so many in the aftermath of the Station nightclub fire, where 100 lost their lives and even more were injured, when she worked for Carcieri.
As an elected official, Stenhouse said she learned it was not always possible to fix the problems.
“I hated to tell people no,” she said. However, she found constituents accepting and appreciative of learning what is happening.
“Just to get an answer and a definitive answer is important to them,” she said.
As for what the city faces today, Stenhouse said, “I see challenges in the city, but I don’t see them as insurmountable.” She did not provide a list of challenges. She said she would seek to find solutions through partnerships and collaboration.
Stenhouse said while campaigning she has found people most concerned about the administration and funding of schools. She believes schools should have budgets that are more than a year and that there should be revisions to the governance of schools, which would require revisions to the city charter. She mentioned this would involve a charter review commission.
She did not outline specifics such as an appointed, rather than elected, school committee, or giving the committee the power of taxation, as some have suggested.
Yet Stenhouse emphasized the importance of schools to the community not only to prepare the next generation but also from the standpoint of making Warwick a desirable place to live and invest in a home. Improved schools and improved relations between the city and the schools would benefit students and home values, she said.
On the other hand, she said, “I know the Warwick school system is not as bad as all the rhetoric.”
Stenhouse is a proponent of City Centre and would look to promote continued development within the area. She sees it as an opportunity for tax growth and job opportunities. She would look to “partner” with the Rhode Island Airport Corporation “to get more revenues in the city.”
In addition to outlining her experience as a councilwoman and in government, Stenhouse said she was prepared to run for mayor in 2010 when former mayor Scott Avedisian disclosed to her that he was thinking of not seeking reelection. Then, she said, Avedisian had things he wanted to finish, including the preservation of Rocky Point as a park. There was no such indication Avedisian would be leaving at this time, she said. However, as she had made preparations eight years ago, she was ready.
She said as she feels government is not going to change, she feels compelled to seek election and bring that change.
“I’m not a career politician,” she said, adding that she has the qualifications, the passion and the vision to do the job.
Mayor Solomon addressed the club in July.