2016-11-10 / Opinion


The Next Step

First, congratulations to all the hard-working Newport-area citizens who won their elections. Our thanks and congratulations also go to all the other candidates who likewise put forth great effort and energy into their campaigns so that voters had choices. The residents were the real winners, because so many people put themselves out there to make sure the democratic process this country prides itself in was at work.

If there are one or two words that could describe the election day of Nov. 8, both locally and nationally, it would be both "upsets" and "heartache."

As the staff made rounds to watch locals receive the news of their respective races, there were jubilant faces while others were downtrodden. Yet, demeanor changed almost minute by minute, as some thought they were below the cutoff with too few votes when numbers coming in from another precinct would raise their hopes. The final results are still subject to absentee ballots being counted, which could impact several contests.

In the days following these tumultuous results, again both locally and nationally, the next steps will be the naming of the mayor and school committee chair in Newport and town council president in Middletown. In the 2014 election, choosing the mayor and new school committee chair did not occur without some hiccups.

While many may think the top vote-getters get the top positions of leadership, that is not always the case. It is almost like the reality show "Survivor," where the newly elected form alliances, lobby among themselves and then vote to name the new mayor and council president. This is a good point, though, to remind everyone that the mayor and president have no extra weight or powers, but preside at meetings and act on behalf of the communities at ceremonies and other functions.

We hope that the process progresses more smoothly this time around.

With the stress and uncertainty of the election behind us, we wish all the councils, school committee members, and state legislators the best of luck for a productive term in office.

To the candidates who were not elected, don't be disheartened. The wounds are fresh, but consider joining a board or commission or a school subcommittee. The communities need people with such selfless commitment that candidates have shown by running in the first place.

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