Little Compton — Candidates list priorities, offer COVID thoughts

Posted 10/22/20

TOWN COUNCIL

Jeremy Allen

Democrat

Work, experience:

I went to school at Moses Brown and spent a couple of years at Penn State studying Horticulture but my real education has …

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Little Compton — Candidates list priorities, offer COVID thoughts

Posted

TOWN COUNCIL

Jeremy Allen

Democrat

Work, experience:

I went to school at Moses Brown and spent a couple of years at Penn State studying Horticulture but my real education has happened in the mud of Little Compton. I have lived and worked in Little Compton for 25 years as a gardener.  My wife and I have owned a family run gardening business for over 20 years.  I have four children that went through Wilbur and McMahon School and as they grew up I coached basketball and baseball.  Now I am the chair of the Little Compton Oasis committee and a member of the Little Compton Tree Committee.  The Oasis in an outdoor classroom in the middle of Wilbur and McMahon School and the garden there is made up of plants native to Little Compton.  These two committees fulfill my need to help conservation efforts in town through education and tree maintenance and planting. 

Priority issues:

I am running for Town Council on one major issue; the speed of our local government.  I ran four years ago because it took a year and a half to pass a noise ordinance.  I ran two years ago because it took a year to pass a solar ordinance.  I am running this year because South Shore Beach was closed for a month because the council only meets every two weeks and couldn't come to a decision during the first meeting. 

I understand you need to post a meeting for 48 hours so why not do that instead of waiting two weeks?  We live in a world where we could order anything on the internet and it will be here in two days but we lose a month at the beach because our leadership will not meet?  I am easy to work with and work for but I get the job done.  I have to, weeds only get bigger and go to seed.  I do not kick the can down the road like some current leadership. Also I would love the citizens to be able to bow hunt on Sundays. The deer eat too many important trees.

COVID-19 thoughts, priorities: The Covid issue is really simple for me.  I have three immune-compromised people in our house and we take it very seriously.  I have not been inside a grocery store since March 7 and Little Compton farms have kept me well fed with curbside service and I love them for that.  I wear a mask, even outside, if I am near people.  I wear a mask because I love the people in this town.  A mask is not a sign of weakness it is a sign of love and respect and the simplest way out of this pandemic.

Nicole H. B. Barnard 

Democrat

Work, experience:

For the last four years I have been employed as a Union Attorney at R.I. Council 94, AFSCME, AFL-CIO where I represent 1,800 workers across the State of Rhode Island. I negotiate collective bargaining agreements, represent workers in employment arbitrations, court proceedings and in any matter related to their employment. 

I graduated from Moses Brown School in Providence. I earned my B.A. in Philosophy from Hamilton College. I then worked as a teacher in New York City and earned my M.A. in Education from New York University. Before I became an attorney, I taught for seven years in public schools in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn, and in Manhattan in New York City as well as outside Boston at a year round treatment facility for troubled adolescent girls. I then earned my J.D. from Syracuse University while I raised my infant daughter Sophie and I have been practicing law in Rhode Island since 2013. Today my daughter Sophie attends Wilbur School. 

Priority issues:

I want to serve as a Town Councilor for Little Compton so that I can have input into how our town is run. I love Little Compton and my goals are to improve the safety of the roads, increase recreational opportunities for all and improve the quality of the School. I would describe myself as a moderate Democrat and I can work effectively with people even if they believe differently than I do. 

COVID-19 thoughts, priorities:

As the pandemic, economic crisis and social unrest continue to plague our nation, I think it is important for everyone including myself to try to rise above all of the negativity by being respectful, being active and social whilst following the protocols of the CDC. We are all very lucky to live in a beautiful place like Little Compton and if you have to weather a storm, there is no place I’d rather be. 

Paul Golembeske

Repubican

Work, experience

Local electrical contractor since 1988.

Community Involvement: 1996 to 2002 Planing Board; 2002 to present Town Council.

Education: High school, some college, Community College of the Air Force, Coast Guard Education for Advancement - college courses E-2 thru E-7.

Priority issues:

Public safety, rural character, quality of life in Little Compton 

COVID thoughts, priorities:

Hard to answer, everyone has different needs, from those who are stuck at home — either elderly or have a condition that makes them more susceptible to covid, or out of work or working from home, to those still out working, to the school-age kids and younger ones.

My best response to this would be to keep the public aware of the current CDC requirements for their peculiar situation and assure them that the town via our public safety and regular employees (town Hall, Maintenance Department etc.)  is ready and able to help them if the need arises, whether it’s a lack of food or other need they’re having difficulty with. One call to the Public Safety dispatch open 24/7 and they will either send first responders or direct them to the proper department to address their need. They can dial 911 in an emergency or call 401-635-2311 for non-emergency. For general information they can call the town hall at 401-635-4400. 

That's the long answer, the short one is that if you're having issues or difficulties and don't know who to ask for guidance, reach out to the town and we'll do our best to help you, and if it's just information you need we'll point you in the right direction.

Gary Mataronas

Republican

Work, experience:

I am a life-long resident of Little Compton and a commercial fisherman out of Sakonnet Point for last 57 years. I have served on the Town Council for the last 22 years.

• Harbor Commission 1992-1998, chairman,1993-1998

Organizations:

• LCRTC

• Sakonnet Point Fishermen’s Association

• RI Lobstermen’s Association

• Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen’s Association

• Friends of Sakonnet Lighthouse

  LC Community Center

• Town Council Liaison to LC Harbor Commission, LC Historical Society.

Priority issues:

The greatest challenges facing Little Compton are to keep property taxes low so inhabitants of this town can continue to afford to live here, and to maintain Little Compton's rural character. This Republican majority on the Town Council has been very diligent in doing this, as the tax rate in 2006 was $4.78 and in 2020 it is $5.99 which is an increase of only $1.21 in 14 years.

We need to support our school system so they can continue to achieve academic excellence now and into the future. We also need to strive to have a full complement of staff in our Fire and Police Departments so they are ready to serve the public in an expeditious and professional manner. Also, it is imperative to adhere to local zoning ordinances so as to protect our ground water supply for future generations.

I will continue to try to control growth and maintain the quality of life all town citizens enjoy now. I will work with the Town Council and RIDOT to continue to maintain and upgrade all town and state roads. I will continue to monitor all venues in town that are required to obtain our newly passed Entertainment License and Noise Ordinance for compliance. 

I will also try to keep access to our waterways and beautiful beaches and parking for these beaches as I did recently with Rhode Island Road, which is the entrance to Lloyd's beach. If reelected, I will continue to bring forward a practical and common sense approach to issues facing the town rather than a political one, as I have done for the last 22 years as a Little Compton Town Councilman.

Patrick A. McHugh 

Democrat 

Work, experience:

• Self employed

  BA Business Management, Rhode Island College

• School Committee chairman, 2014- present

• Little Compton Recreation Committee chairman, 2009-present

Priority issues:

• Support Wilbur McMahon School’s implementation of International Baccalaureate 

• Protect Little Compton’s landscapes and natural resources 

• Promote and support recreational opportunities 

• Maintain sustainable public finances

COVID thoughts, priorities:

I think it is imperative to continue the wearing of masks. Wilbur McMahon has done an outstanding job safely returning students taking advantage of small class size, open areas, and utilization of tents.

Andrew Wilder Moore

Democrat

Work, experience:

I grew up spending summers in Little Compton and became a year-round resident in 2009. I have devoted much of my time to public service as a regular volunteer for the LC Historical Society and for the LC Garden Club, and as a board-member of the LC Community Center. Before my election to the Little Compton Town Council in 2018, I served nearly four years as the clerk for the LC Budget Committee which gave me an in-depth perspective on our town’s budgeting process and needs. I hold a BA in Political Science from Miami University (2013).

Priority issues:

If reelected to the Council, my top priority will be to make Little Compton an affordable community. This starts with keeping taxes low, but there are so many other areas that we need to shore up to ensure we aren’t leaving anyone behind. We need to ensure that our elder community has the resources they need to age in their homes; this includes investing in at-home care and senior transportation, and continuing to provide abatements for senior citizens who are going through tough circumstances. 

We need to find ways that ensure that our young people returning to town are able to afford a place to rent, or find an affordable home for their young families. The average home sale price in Little Compton last year was $520,000 - this is nearly unattainable for most young people just starting out their careers. Quality, affordable housing is one of the first steps to making sure we keep our young families and residents in town, and will allow them a place to call home in our community before they can afford to buy their own home. Keeping young people and families in town enriches and strengthens our town, and ensures that we will have a vibrant community for years to come.

COVID thoughts, priorities:

Regarding the impact of COVID19 on our community; I think our Governor has done a great job ensuring that Rhode Islanders stay safe throughout this pandemic. Many of our small business owners have been great adapting to the current situation, but as the pandemic wears on I am worried that they may be forced to close down. There are resources available from the state, and I want business owners to know they should reach out to the town if they need help connecting to these resources. 

Robert Mushen

Republican

Work, experience

• Career Naval Officer in USN Submarine Force (1968-1994)

• Commanding Officer, USS George Washington Carver (SSBN-656)

• Commander, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport

• Undersea Technology and Operations Leader at General Dynamics (1995-2000)

Community

• Member, Planning Board (2002-2004)

• President, Town Council (2004-2020)

Education

• BS (Mech. Engineering) – US Naval Academy

• MS (Engineering Mechanics) – Georgia Institute of Technology

Priority issues:

  Retain focus on affordable property tax rate and develop revenue alternatives to property tax

• Complete transition to Director of Finance

• Continue modernization of process of town road maintenance

• Implement infrastructure improvement plan

 COVID thoughts, priorities:

• Review, then implement, methods to provide improved connectivity for remote learning for all students.

Anya R. Wallack

Democrat

Work, experience:

Associate Director, Center for Evidence Synthesis in Health and a Professor of the Practice in the Department of Health Services, Policy and Practice within Brown University’s School of Public Health. Academic Director for the Master’s in Health Care Leadership Program and Associate Director of the Master’s in Public Health Program at Brown.  

Served previously as Director of HealthSource RI, Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange, then Medicaid Director, and then Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services.  She also served in Vermont state government under two governors - Special Assistant for Health Reform for Governors Howard Dean and Peter Shumlin, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Dean.  Iaugural Chair of Vermont’s Green Mountain Care Board   

Interim President of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, Executive Director of Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute, Executive Director of Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care.  

Community service: Current co-chair of RI Medicaid Accountable Entity Advisory Committee and past member of the Vermont Board of Medical Practice; the Mass. Health Care Quality and Cost Council; the Mass. Medicaid Payment Policy Advisory Board; the State Health Policy Research Steering Committee of Academy Health; the RI Children’s Cabinet; the RI Interagency Council on Homelessness; the RI State Innovation Model Steering Committee, and; the RI Quality Institute Board of Directors. Current board member of Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.

B.A. in political science from the University of Vermont and  Ph.D. in social policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University. 

Priority issues:

Improving public access to and involvement in town government

• Supporting consistent and even-handed enforcement of zoning and other ordinances

• Making town boards and committees more inclusive and open

• Keeping property taxes low while looking for budget savings (such as reducing legal expenses) and grants to fund much-needed investments in infrastructure

  • COVID-19 thoughts, priorities:

Ideally we would have had a coherent and science-driven response to COVID-19 at the federal level, and states would have had a key role in implementing that policy.  In the absence of that, states like Rhode Island have done a good job of developing policies that make sense and protect us.  Towns, especially local law enforcement, have had a key role in enforcing that policy, for example by deciding how to safely open beaches and when to break up large gatherings.  Going forward, towns can continue to keep people safe by disseminating good information, enforcing state and local policies and helping with public health efforts such as vaccine distribution.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Travis Auty

Democrat

Work, experience:

Education: Salisbury University ’04, BA Political Science/ Communications 

Work: Real Estate/Realtor with the Welchman Real Estate Group Keller Williams Realty Newport

Community Involvement/Organizations: National Association of Realtors, Newport County Board of Realtors, Little Compton Democratic Town Committee, Junior Achievement Sponsor/Instructor ’09-2015,  Pawtucket Business Development Corporation Member  2015-2016, Pawtucket Arts Festival Committee Member 2016-2018, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention  contributor, National Institute of Mental Health contributor, National Alliance on Mental Illness contributor.

Priority issues:

First and foremost, continue the momentum of the LCSC. The committee has fought diligently to better the lives of our children, teachers, and families by providing: Access to an in-school social worker for the needs of families and students, moving toward the International Baccalaureate Program to enrich our children’s learning experience while adding value to our community, and continuing to promote transparency and community dialog in the upcoming high school contract negotiations. 

Continue to strengthen our community through diversity and inclusivity by partnering with an urban school district (see Chariho HS and Hope HS partnership). With conversations and education surrounding differences and similarities we can begin to recognize that our individual uniqueness is something to be celebrated and embraced. Conversations surrounding acceptance, understanding and empathy will have a positive impact on the anti-bullying policies and practices in our school. 

We have an unbelievable opportunity to lead RI and the region with individualized learning. The way we teach our children is changing faster than many can conceptualize. Little Compton already boasts class sizes which promote individualized learning. Couple this with emerging educational technologies - Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality - and we have an opportunity to provide an educational experience which will improve the quality of life and exceed expectations. 

COVID-19 thoughts, priorities:

Under the circumstances Little Compton has done an exceptional job. As the pandemic continues it is important that we satisfy the social, academic, and mental health needs of students, families, and teachers by continuing to provide resources that support mental well being. I empathize with parents who worked from home while balancing the needs of their children and virtual learning. Keeping a child's attention via virtual learning for hours on end is no easy task and lack of socialization with their peers made for some challenging days. That said, our children are resilient and I’m confident they will overcome this obstacle. I’d like to commend our teachers who stepped up in providing virtual, hybrid, and in-person curriculum options for possible Covid scenarios. The care they have shown our children, families, and community is unparalleled. As a small town, we have a great opportunity to lead RI in showing how we can conduct in-person learning while taking the necessary precautions to ensure safety. It is important to promote an open dialogue to ensure robust conversations are leading to active solutions. We all win when we all work together.  

Hannah S. Ayotte

Democrat

Work, experience:

In May of 2020 I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a minor in Communications from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. I was a student at Wilbur and McMahon from third through eighth grades and graduated from Portsmouth High School in 2016.

I am currently employed by the Little Compton Community Center where I have worked with the After School Club, the Distance Learning Support Program, and helped facilitate community events for the past three years. My positions in the community have also included managing the kitchen at Warren’s Point Beach Club, and employment with Compton Catering and Clambakes, and The Common’s Lunch.

Priority issues:

If elected, I pledge to:

Work to satisfy the social, academic and mental health needs of our students, families and teachers during this global pandemic and beyond:

• Strengthen community through diversity and inclusivity

• Promote anti-bullying policies and practices in our school

• Maintain small class sizes to promote academic and social enrichment.

Continue the momentum:

• International Baccalaureate program

• Access to in-school social workers.

Ensure an open forum for discussing issues like the contract with Portsmouth High School.

COVID-19 thoughts, priorities:

As a member of the School Committee my top priority during the 2020-2021 school year will be ensuring that students, families, and teachers are meeting their academic goals while also maintaining their social and mental health. This includes continuing and, if necessary, strengthening, the technological, academic, and mental health support available to all members of the Little Compton Schools community. Whether our students are learning fully in-person, fully remote, or a mix of the two, it is my top priority that all students have the tools and support they need to succeed.

Mike W Rocha II

Republican

Work, experience:

Local small business owner since 1993. Served on the Volunteer Fire Department and part time on the Fire Department from 1993 to 2007.  Actively involved with the Wilbur McMahon School through sponsoring and chaperoning field trips, attending school committee meetings and school safety subcommittee meetings. I’m a member of the Little Compton Community Emergency Response Team. Attended Wilbur McMahon and Middletown High School. 

Priority issues:

• School safety for student and staff while striving for the best learning environment.  

• Support new learning programs to better prepare students and teachers for global thinking.  

• Advocate for all WMS while searching for a new high school contract. 

• To be fiscally responsible and maintain the best school possible. 

COVID-19 thoughts, priorities:

The numbers show our town and school have done a fantastic job with the COVID  response. However it’s important to maintain the current standards as described by RI Department of Health. As we get through this “new normal,”  I would ask everyone to keep positive and look toward a better future.  

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