With less than a week remaining until Election Day, candidates for Barrington Town Council are making a late push for residents’ votes. Following are brief bios for each of the council candidates running this year:
Ann Pelletier Strong
- PARTY: Democrat
- FAMILY: Husband, Joseph (1982 BHS grad and co-owner of Bad Dog Tools); Son, JJ (2012 BHS grad and mechanical engineering major at Central Connecticut State University)
- EDUCATION: AS, civil engineering, Bristol Community College; BS Communications, Providence College, certificate marine cargo surveying, SUNY Maritime
- CURRENT JOB: Co-owner of Bad Dog Tools. I handle design engineering, logistics, and marketing along with overseeing a lot of the other bits and pieces that every small business owner must contend with like budgeting, cash flow, equipment maintenance, and HR; I also do a bit of freelance writing concentrating on science and design.
- GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE/CIVIC INVOLVEMENT: I’ve been a member of a town board or commission for more than 12 years. I was appointed to the conservation commission in 1996 where I was chair for a number of years. During that time, the commission campaigned successfully to pass a $1 million open space bond, which was used for matching money to purchase almost 40 acres of open space for public enjoyment and to prevent unwanted development.
I’m currently a member of the planning board and also act as liaison to harbor commission and am a member of the capital improvement program sub-committee which oversees the town’s annual capital budget and six-year capital improvement program. Capital items are those “big ticket” purchases like vehicles and equipment. Working within the town’s well-established penchant for fiscal frugality, I’ve been able to put much of my experience as a small business owner to work here with money saving ideas for asset purchases particularly with respect to equipment tangential to items I use in my own business.
Additionally, when my son, JJ, attended Barrington Public Schools, I served on PTO committees at Sowams and Hampden Meadows Schools, where I organized and presented family math & science programs — anybody remember Spooky Science at HMS? At BMS I produced the monthly school newsletter. At BHS I helped out with communications during my son’s senior year.
- WHY SHOULD VOTERS ELECT YOU? Voters should elect me because I have the breadth of experience to move the town forward in the right direction. And what direction is that? The direction that all of us, as residents of Barrington, collectively decide on.
In my opinion, the town council should suggest and facilitate. That is what good leaders do. I have what I think are some great ideas for Barrington. Things that I’ve been thinking about over the course of the past 25 years when I first came here as a young bride like improvements to the zoning ordinance and ways to attract new business to help offset the property tax burden.
Our direction as a town, of course, is bound by certain state mandates like the comprehensive town plan but there are opportunities there to make changes that would ease issues — like that of affordable housing. But it’s the townspeople who should ultimately set the course: They should have a say in how their town moves forward — how it’s developed, how money is spent. I urge voters to exercise their right to vote not just in this election — where I respectfully ask you to vote for me — but each May at the Financial Town meeting which is, quite frankly, just as an important a vote.
I take pride in being a resident of Barrington. I am proud of my accomplishments over the past 12 years as a volunteer member of boards and commissions here and I would very much be honored to serve as a member of the town council.
- PARTY: Republican
- FAMILY: Spouse, Pamela
- EDUCATION: BS Secondary Education 1978 Southern CT State University. MBA Financial Investments and Securities 1986 Syracuse University
- CURRENT JOB: Owner Newport Financial Corporation, Mortgage Brokerage licensed in 4 states.
- GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE/CIVIC INVOLVEMENT: Ad Hoc Committee on Taxation and Assessment
- WHY SHOULD VOTERS ELECT YOU? The Town Council needs a course correction. There has to be a greater emphasis on doing the things that put the interest of the town and taxpayers first. From beach fees to plastic bags (business friendly?) and the attitude toward affordable housing mandates, this council has not shown any interest in the concerns of the town folk. A vote for Don Nessing (and the rest of the local and statewide Republican ticket) is a vote for a new course that takes these neglected concerns seriously.
Kate G. Weymouth
- PARTY: Democrat
- FAMILY: Married to Scott for 33 years; sons Peter (25) and Stuart (22)
- EDUCATION: B. Arch, BFA (RISD); BA (Connecticut College)
- GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE/CIVIC INVOLVEMENT: Current member of the Barrington Town Council (first elected in 2004) BHS Facilities Committee; HMS Improvement Team; Barrington Neighborhood Coalition
- WHY SHOULD VOTERS ELECT YOU? Having lived in town for over 50 years, serving on the town council for the past 8, I believe I have demonstrated a dedication and commitment, unmatched by my opponents, to Barrington residents. I am proud of this council’s achievements which include hiring the first full-time town planner, improving recreational facilities (BHS tennis courts, BMS basketball courts, Sherwood Park, Barrington Beach), passing historic permits to keep chickens, licenses for liquor stores, and the landmark reusable checkout bag initiative. Even during a down economy, we decreased the municipal budget in 3 of the past 4 years, including the most recent one, while continuing to provide excellent municipal services. If reelected, I will continue to look for opportunities to improve the quality of life for all Barrington residents, without increasing the budget.
- PARTY: Republican
- FAMILY: One adult son who is an oncologist/hematologist in Vermont. He previously was employed in Rhode Island where he was on the faculty at Brown while in clinical practice at Memorial Hospital and Harvard while in clinical practice at Dana Farber.
- EDUCATION: BA in Political Science, MA in US History, Doctor of Jurisprudence.
- CURRENT JOB: Attorney with an office in Barrington. Active law practice in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Indiana.
- GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE/CIVIC INVOLVEMENT: President, Barrington Council of Republican Women. Member of Barrington Republican Town Committee. This is the first time I have sought election to public office. I have held no previous government positions.
- WHY SHOULD VOTERS ELECT YOU? All candidates seeking election or re-election to the Barrington Town Council are motivated by the high calling to public service. Though I may differ on certain issues, I am grateful to the current councilors for their selfless service to our town.
I will bring to the Barrington Town Council a fresh perspective on public policy because of the depth and width of my life experience. I am an attorney who has always practiced in the private sector. While employed for 15 years as in-house counsel for Eli Lilly and Company, I supervised litigators in firms throughout the US. I worked on regulatory matters involving the FDA and EPA and state regulatory authorities. I was involved in transactional and banking matters and construction and engineering contracts. As counsel for Eli Lilly International Corporation, I was responsible for all legal matters in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and occasionally negotiated contracts with China and Latin American companies. I worked in a legal capacity with medical doctors, engineers, toxicologists, chemists, media relations specialists, and marketing directors. Thereafter as a solo practitioner of law, I have represented businesses, large and small, primarily in transactional matters (buy-sell and commercial contracts) and corporate governance. I have represented employees before the EEOC and have worked as a volunteer on issues of prisoners’ rights. Note: Rhode Island does not certify attorneys as specialists in any areas of the law.
I raised one son as a single mother. I earned a Masters Degree and a Law Degree while working full time, sometimes two jobs. I have taught in the public schools in four states, including in a school located in the middle of a high rise federal housing project in Chicago. I also ran a community center in a federal housing project in Indianapolis. I have observed first hand the negative impact of high density multi-unit subsidized housing on the residents of those developments.
I am a problem solver. I believe that government exists to serve the governed and that many problems are better solved by private organizations and free market forces.
I oppose mandated affordable housing that must be created by artificial manipulation of market price and taxing structure because it affects the entire housing market and must be subsidized by the taxpayers. Our focus should be on meeting the need for affordable housing with the existing inventory of moderately priced stand alone housing and with housing that is friendly to our senior residents in both price and structure.
I am a pragmatist. With respect to the 2014 revaluation of residential property in Barrington, I will strive to improve the process and achieve a more equitable result
Barrington is a well run town and an easy place in which to live. Its greatest assets are its people, its schools, and its real property value. As a councilor, I will evaluate each proposed measure to protect those assets. I pledge to work tirelessly, learn quickly, listen respectfully and act fairly on behalf of all residents of our town.
- PARTY: Republican
- EDUCATION: BS Education
- CURRENT JOB: Realtor, Coldwell Banker
- GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE/CIVIC INVOLVEMENT: As program staff and then executive director (18 years) was lobbyist on public health issues for 34 years. In that capacity, for example, I led the successful statewide effort to ban smoking in public places, worksites, bars and restaurants.In Barrington, I have chaired the Senior Services Advisory Board for several years and consider keeping our seniors in town as an important goal. I also serve as chair of the Community Center Task Force whose goal is to build a multigenerational community center which will provide services for virtually every resident in town.
- WHY SHOULD VOTERS ELECT YOU? For several years now, like the RI General Assembly, the Barrington Town Council has been wholly dominated by one party. This imbalance, I believe, leads to decision making that may not always be in the interest of all of its residents.That is why I’m running for a seat on the Town Council.
To bring more balance to the decision making process and to tackle the important issues facing the Town. Among other things I will: seek a review of the affordable housing policy work to preserve choice open space from development ensure equitable property revaluation attempt to make it possible for more of our seniors to remain in town Explore what can be done to change Barrington’s reputation of being business ‘unfriendly’
I’d like to hear what your concerns and priorities are for the council so I have established a ‘campaign headquarters’ at Miz Fibz Deli on Kent Street where you can come talk to me. I‘ll buy you a cup of coffee and we can chat. I’ll be there every weekday from here to the election from 12 to 2 p.m. (except Friday 11/2) and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (She is closed Mondays).
I believe it is time to give ‘common sense leadership’ a chance.
June Sager Speakman
- PARTY: Democrat
- EDUCATION:MA, Economics; Ph.D. Political Science
- CURRENT JOB: Professor of Political Science, Roger Williams University
- GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE/CIVIC INVOLVEMENT: Ten years on the Town Council, 10 years involvement with PTOs at Sowams, Hampden Meadows, BMS and BHS
- WHY SHOULD VOTERS ELECT YOU? I ask for voters’ support on Nov. 6 so that I may continue to work towards improving recreational and open spaces in Barrington, implementing the state affordable housing mandate in a measured way that is consistent with Barrington’s character, improving the business climate in Barrington, and maintaining high quality municipal services without raising taxes. I appreciate their consideration.