EAST PROVIDENCE — Leading up to the Sept. 11 primary, the East Providence Post and eastprovri.com continued to pose questions to the various candidates running for office, including those for City Council Wards 2 and 3. The following is the last prior to Tuesday’s primary.
The Post: Why should you be elected?
Melissa Abbott, unaffiliated Ward 2 candidate: “I think I should be elected because I have the city’s best interests at heart. I am not interested in backroom deals or kickbacks. I want to see the city succeed and prosper like it once did. I am going to work toward increasing revenue, improving the schools, reducing the city’s deficit, encouraging youth and senior programs, lowering taxes, and I will not solicit myself in unnecessary parades through city in attempt to further my political career. I am not interested in promoting corrupt agendas. I understand how hard the average family has to work to make ends meet. It’s time for a change and I look forward to working with a fresh committee of my peers.
Helder Cunha, unaffiliated Ward 2 candidate: “I am more than just a candidate who is running for office, I am also a concerned citizen. With a family and small business, I too have a stake in this city and have become increasingly disturbed with the direction it has taken. Economically, our city has been on the decline. As businesses flee and taxes and fees continue to pile on the backs of homeowners, our city services are put into jeopardy. We have lost our ability to govern ourselves and have allowed the state to seize our finances. The recent call by the state budget commission to not fund middle school sports provides a sad example of the consequences of being lead down this path. Cosmetically, our city needs improvement.
“Over the course of this campaign, many residents have rightfully eluded to me on the neglect that we see on city sidewalks and street curbs. We must clean up our city and start making the most efficient use of our tax dollars that will improve our community’s basic infrastructure. Instead of making tough decisions on these matters, the majority of the council has been focused on time clocks for city hall, making seniors shovel snow or be fined, and removing tow companies from the city tow list, while your mayor has repeatedly violated our city charter. This is what we are up against.
“Residents have become disillusioned by the current state of our city. Many are wondering whether East Providence will continue to be a great place to raise a family going into the future. With proper leadership and strong effort, I do think that it can. Townie Pride can mean something once again. I respectfully ask for your support in working towards this goal.”
Burton Plamondon, unaffiliated Ward 2 candidate: “I should be elected for the position of city council in Ward 2, to represent you as an East Providence citizen because it is time for change. It is clear to me that some things in our city are out of order, and we as a city need new, innovative, ideas that will actually get the city rolling in a positive direction. It is obvious that most of our current leadership is highly flawed, or we would not need the state over-seeing our city’s every fiscal move.
“It does not seem to me that much has been getting done around here. Almost like some people stopped trying. I don’t know if it because they are tired, or just in it for themselves. What I do know is that our city government needs a new face, who will speak up for East Providence. We need new people working for you all throughout the city, full of new energy, enabling us to move forward.
“With a young and enthusiastic leader, we can expect more to get done for us. I truly care about the future of our city, and what will happen to future generations, and not the future of my retirement. I am a well and able-bodied individual that can address your issues and concerns around the clock. Because like you, I know there is a huge problem, and like you, I want to see a solution to that problem. I am running for this position for the sole purpose of you, for us, for East Providence.”
Bruce Rogers, unaffiliated Ward 2 incumbent: “I should be elected so as to allow me to continue to fight for the taxpayers of East Providence to insure that a fair agreement is reached with the City of Providence to insure that our citizens are not paying to balance another city’s budget. I should be elected so that the residents know that they have an advocate at city hall who will keep on working with the school officials to support needed programs such as all day K and Middle School sports.
“I should be elected so I can continue to work toward the development of a strong economically sound policy that the City’s Planning Department adheres to and hence evolves into a department that is extremely business friendly and becomes a department who’s prime goal is to seek, assist & become more competitive in bringing in new businesses as well promoting & assisting existing businesses thus increasing East Providence’s tax base. Projects such as Village on the Waterfront & Waterfront Drive have to be supported and treated as turning points in our city’s fiscal recovery.
“I should be elected so as to insure that the citizens of East Providence continue to have a watchdog who insists that employment contracts are negotiated toward a fair and equitable agreement to not only benefit our employees but also the taxpayers of our city. I should be elected so as to be allowed to continue the local officials work that began 2 years ago to consolidate all city & school departments & to further consolidate & regionalize services which has resulted in saving many hundreds of thousands of dollars & raised new revenues to move toward the end result of presenting a balanced budget to our taxpayers.
“And finally I should be elected in order to be able to continue to fight each day for the individual issues that affect each & every ward two resident each day of their life.”
Thomas Rose, unaffiliated Ward 3 incumbent: “I understand East Providence. I am a father, a brother, a son, a small businessman, a neighbor, a mentor, a citizen and a customer. I am like every person in this city. I am always ready to listen to differing and new perspectives. I work on every issue with a sense of fairness and desire to do what is in the best interest of the entire city of East Providence. I put on all of the different hats of our citizens in order to think through creative solutions. Then, I respond and act on behalf of Ward 3. I try to understand each citizen’s personal needs and views. Over this past term, I helped hundreds of constituents solve individual problems throughout the city. Sometimes, it required extra effort and finesse to clean up empty lots or make sure streets were plowed. But, I truly understand and appreciate that I am elected by YOU to ensure that your daily interactions with the city make your life easier, not harder.
“Finally, I should be reelected because there is plenty more work to be done. I am the right person to continue working hard for East Providence. It has been a busy term. I will continue to work on streamlining the city approval and permitting processes. We can do this by creating a “one-stop” shop for business interests looking to relocate or expand to East Providence. By doing so, we will provide a sense of assurance to business interests. Where we can, we should avoid permit approvals that add extra unnecessary months to the permit process costing the new business time and money.
“We are all struggling with the current economic situation, wondering how we are going to put food on our tables, afford our energy costs and improve education so that our children will see a better future. I should be elected because I plan to work hard each day, listening to you and acting on creative thoughtful solutions to make all of our lives easier, and our futures brighter.”
Candy Seel, unaffiliated Ward 3 candidate: “Within the 2,000+ brochures I’ve handed out to my neighbors in Ward 3 are the words: Honesty, Independence, Fairness, Intelligence and Compassion. The values these words represent are why I feel I should be elected.
“HONESTY: I was brought up not only to know the difference between right and wrong, but to actually do the right thing: tell the truth and be upfront with people. Anything less is dishonest.
“INDEPENDENCE: I am independent of special interests and political committees. My supporters are my family and friends and the people who’ve opened their doors to me as I’ve walked through their neighborhoods. They’ve given me modest financial contributions, signed my nomination papers and hosted my campaign signs. I am beholden to them and the people of East Providence and to no one else.
“FAIRNESS: Again, right versus wrong. Treat everyone with justice and equality, on a level playing field, where the outcome is determined not by backroom deals, but by honest, fair discussion and decision-making. Anything less is unfair.
“INTELLIGENCE: I was blessed with an intelligence that was nurtured by my family and enhanced by my education. I don’t know all the answers, but I know enough to ask the right questions, analyze the evidence, work with the people involved, and strive for a sound resolution based on facts.
“COMPASSION: I genuinely care for the people of East Providence – residents, home- and business-owners, taxpayers, seniors, school children and the needy. These are the people I will represent if elected. They’re the ones who matter to me.
“I think I am the better candidate for this position. I hope you will give me the opportunity to prove it.”
Editor’s Notes: Due to an email transmission error, the response of Ward 3 incumbent Thomas Rose did not make it in time for the print deadline on Tuesday night, Sept. 5. The Post was unable to contact Ward 3 candidate Daniel Dalton throughout the campaign despite calls to his listed phone number as well as an in-person visit to his listed home address, both pieces of information provided by the Canvassing Department.