Large Field of Candidates Running in 2022 - June 30th 2022
By Cynthia Drummond for BRVCA
June 30th 2022
RICHMOND – With the level of political engagement in Rhode Island running high, 13 people have filed their candidacies for the five seats on the Town Council.
The field includes six Republicans, three Democrats and four unaffiliated candidates.
Of the current Town Council members, only one, council President Nell Carpenter, is not running for reelection. Council Vice President James Palmisciano and councilors Richard Nassaney, Lauren Cacciola and Ronald Newman are all seeking additional terms.
The Republican candidates are: business owner, Richard Nassaney, medical imaging specialist, Mark Trimmer, psychotherapist and businesswoman, Helen Sheehan, former postmaster Raymond Pouliot, Michael Colasante, a business owner and former council member, and Jeffrey Vaillancourt, who currently serves on the Zoning Board.
One of the most pressing issues in town is high property taxes. Colasante, who served on the council in 1991 and 1992, said he had been able to reduce taxes during that period and was eager to do it again.
“When I was on the council, the taxes went down,” he said. “We just had to be courageous and make the hard decisions and be able to take the mud-slinging, and hopefully these same people in the end, once the dust settles, realize that you actually did the right thing, and that’s basically what I want to do again.”
Trimmer, a medical imaging specialist who has served two previous terms on the council, did not run in the last election because he has been dealing with health issues.
“I’m fighting cancer, I’m winning, and I look forward to serving the people of Richmond again,” he said.
Trimmer echoed other candidates’ concerns about Richmond’s taxes and affordability.
“I am hoping to help the residents of Richmond remain in their town and keep the town affordable for them,” he said.
The only Republican on the current council, Richard Nassaney, is seeking a fourth term, but he noted that if reelected, this term would be his last.
“…I just want to go out with a council that is going to be wholesome, that is going to be for the town, not for themselves, not looking to attack anybody or be negative,” he said. “I would just like a good, working, thoughtful, intelligent council.”
Republican Town Committee Chair Louise Dinsmore said her party’s candidates would be focused on making Richmond more affordable.
“We all live here for a reason. We love our town. I’m not running, but personally, my taxes have gone up 33 percent in six years. That’s a lot. And we all see that and we all feel like we have to do something to hold the line on these tax increases,” she said.
Incumbents Lauren Cacciola and Ronald Newman have been joined by political newcomer, Samantha Wilcox, who serves on the Conservation Commission and the Dog Park Committee.
Wilcox said her current involvement with the town had prompted her to run for Town Council.
“I decided to run after helping so much with the dog park committee,” she said.
Wilcox said she hoped to preserve the town’s rural character while supporting local businesses.
Newman who has served six terms on the council, said he was concerned about high taxes.
“I’d like to see taxes level off and if possible, be reduced, but we have to find out where we can do that,” he said. “I know the school budget is high and it’s easy to say ‘we want to reduce it’. How are you going to do that? Maybe level-fund it? And that’s basically what happened here. I don’t know how you’re going to reduce it. I don’t want to hurt the children’s education that live in town.”
Daniel Madnick, Mark Reynolds, Nicholas Solitro and James Palmisciano are running as Independents.
Palmisciano said he had learned during his first term that it was important for council members to be fully engaged with constituents. He also noted that his term had been impacted by the pandemic.
“I was already elected for almost a year before I ever sat in the council chamber with other people,” he wrote in an emailed response. “As we fully emerge from this pandemic and all aspects of life return to normal [social, supply chain, services access], I would like to have the opportunity to lead our community in both a communal and economic revival of Richmond as a member of council.”
Daniel Madnick, a structural engineer at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton serves on the Planning Board.
Mark Reynolds, who has served on the Charter Review Commission, is currently the Town Moderator and chairs the Tax Assessment Board of Review.
Nicholas Solitro, an attorney, currently chairs the Zoning Board.
Information on state and Congressional candidates is available on the Secretary of State’s website.