Six candidates – three Democrats and three Republicans -- are running for election or re-election to the Barrington Town Council.
Patch asked them why voters should vote for them over their opponents? Here are their answers.
Kate Weymouth, Democrat, Incumbent
My training as an architect has served me well during these past 8 years. Both jobs require similar skill sets, and those are: problem-solving; being able to see the big picture; and adhering to a process necessary for achieving the most logical, economical long-term solution.
If reelected I will continue to strengthen communication across volunteer Town boards and commissions, continue to maintain and look for ways to improve Town facilities (specifically seeing that the Bay Spring Community Center reaches its' fully functional potential, addressing the much-needed improvements to Latham Park, and establishing Barrington Community Gardens at the Town-owned Vitullo Farm site), as well as focus on continuing to provide excellent municipal services without increasing costs to the taxpayers.
I vote on the strength of my convictions which comes at the end of hours of fact-gathering and deliberation. My decisions and motions are not made according to personal or political party ideology, but rather on what is in the best interest of the entire community. If reelected, it would be an honor to continue serving my home town.
Shirley Applegate-Lockridge, Republican
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 founded the Sports and Entertainment Law Section of the Indianapolis Bar Association and served as its first Chairman, and served over 10 years as a volunteer investigating allegations of lawyer ethics violations.
While raising 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 firsthand 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 am a pragmatist. 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 design.
I am a realist. With respect to the 2014 revaluation of residential property in Barrington, I will strive to improve the process and achieve a more equitable result, giving all a chance to be heard.
Barrington’s 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 come to this election with no agenda, owing nothing to any group or individual. That is why my campaign slogan is “Shirley . . . for all of us.” I pledge to work tirelessly, learn quickly, listen respectfully and act fairly on behalf of all residents of our Town.
Ann Strong, Democrat
Voters should vote for me because I have real experience working with and on behalf of the town. In other words, I can hit the ground running. I would urge voters to consider the benefit of that ability.
I bring to the table a record of real accomplishments on behalf of the Town of Barrington. Among them - Working to clean up the Runnins River which flows in to Hundred Acre Cove, helping to preserve boater rights in Hundred Acre Cove, preserving via matching grants more than 30 acres of open space from development for the enjoyment of Barrington residents now and in perpetuity, streamlining zoning application forms, involvement with the re-write of the Comprehensive Town Plan and assisting with the Capital portion of the budget via Capital Improvement Planning. Additionally, I understand the systems in place at the Town Hall and already have a working relationship with many town employees at the Town Hall, DPW, and Police and Fire departments.
There are three major issues that I would pursue initially:
1) I will work to further streamline the application processes to Zoning, Planning/Technical Review, Conservation Commissions, the Building Inspector and other town stakeholders and better coordinate communication between town boards and commissions.
2) I will work to bring more businesses to Barrington. I think there are opportunities to move beyond the core retail that we have with businesses in the IT, publishing, soft manufacturing and other sectors that would be a good fit for our community and boost the tax base.
3) I will work to explore a variety of housing options for seniors including the affordable housing and to ease the burden of affordable housing - bearing in mind that this is a state law so Still, I believe that there are ways that the town can do this while continuing to comply with the law.
I have a "strong voice" and have amassed the institutional knowledge to move Barrington forward. I have some great ideas that have been percolating over the past twelve years but during the course of that time I have also acted upon great ideas that have come from members of the community. Every great idea - wherever its genesis - needs to be considered. Barrington is a great town and with great ideas we can keep it that way!
Donald Nessing, Republican
If elected I will bring a common sense business perspective to town governance. My primary focus will be on encouraging the development of a vibrant business community. In addition, a reality based approach to affordable housing is required. Town services promise to be continuously strained if tax revenues are not there to support the expansion in demand that is sure to follow additional high density housing stock. Unsustainable is a widely used term these days and as such I believe some people have tuned out that message or do not understand everything it is meant to convey. A downward spiral of the quality of life in the town may not be visible yet but the tipping point is close at hand. Unfortunately when that time arrives it will all the more difficult to stop the bleeding.
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 taxpayer’s 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.
Margaret Kane, Republican
As program staff and then executive director (18 years) of the Lung Association, I was a 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.
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 believe it is time to give ‘common sense leadership’ a chance.
June Speakman, Democrat, Incumbent
Ten years on the council has given me a sense of what’s possible, and experience in and knowledge of a range of public policies.