2014-06-26 / Front Page

12 Seek School Seats

By Tom Walsh

What seemed like a dearth of candidates for seven Newport School Committee seats turned into an eleventh-hour avalanche on Wednesday, June 25, the deadline for filing declarations of candidacy.

Before the day ended, 12 hopefulls had filed for the seven school committee seats.

One of the candidates who met the 4 p.m. filing deadline was Kathleen M. Silvia, the 36-year City Hall veteran who will retire in August from her job as city clerk.

The contenders include six incumbents: Rebecca Bolan, Sandra J. Flowers, Thomas S. Phelan, Robert B. Power, Jo Eva Gaines and Robert J. Leary. Also filing declaration papers were Michael J. Cullen, David R. Cullen III, David C. Hanos Jr., Charles W. Humphrey and Margaret A. Kirschner.

One name that did not turn up was that of Charles P. Shoemaker, M.D., the current school committee chairman. Shoemaker said that at 76 years old, it was time for him to step aside “and get some new blood” on the committee. “We’ve accomplished a lot,” he added.

Earlier in the afternoon, with declarations from just five school committee hopefuls, Mayor Henry F. Winthrop said he was thinking of spearheading a charter change to make the school committee an appointed body. “We should have at least 10 candidates for the school committee,” he said. Later, upon learning of the late turnaround in school committee declarations, Winthrop seemed to breathe easier.

“I have no intentions of doing that now,” he stated.

Seven would-be at-large City Council candidates filed their declaration papers. These include four at-large incumbents: Winthrop, Michael T. Farley, Naomi Neville and Jeanne-Marie Napolitano. Justin S. McLaughlin, who currently holds the Ward 2 council seat, declared as an at-large candidate.

Ward 1 has only one candidate – incumbent Marco T. Camacho will run unopposed. In Ward 2, Lynn U. Ceglie, who had announced her candidacy earlier, filed to run, as did Martha Marie Grogan.

Ward 3 incumbent Councilor Kathryn E. Leonard faces a prospective challenge from newcomer John G. Edwards V.

A race to watch as campaign 2014 unfolds is in House District 75, where three-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Peter F. Martin faces a prospective Democratic primary election challenge from two opponents— Lauren H. Carson, who lives just five doors down from Martin on Willow Street in the city’s Point section, and Gregory W. Larson, a retired history and economics teacher at Classical High School in Providence.

Democratic Rep. Marvin L. Abney, representing House District 73 that includes a portion of Middletown, will run unopposed for a second term.

Formally declaring as a candidate for office is just the first of two requirements before an election hopeful sees his or her name on a primary or general election ballot. Candidates must submit nomination papers with the required number of voter signatures by July 11.

Candidates for a seat in the Rhode Island House of Representatives must gather at least 50 valid voter signatures on nomination papers. Senate candidates need 100 signatures. Newport School Committee candidates, all of whom run citywide, must gather 100 signatures as do at-large city council hopefuls. City council candidates running for a ward seat must gather just 50 signatures.

Return to top