Cullen will move Newport forward
October has arrived, more than 4,000 Newporters have already applied for a mail-in ballot. Have you?
As my Newport council atlarge campaign is launched, full throttle, allow me a moment to thank all those who voted for me in the Primary. Your confidence in my capability to lead our great city is gratifying!
First, on the list, I must clear up some confusion. I've been told that some voters didn't find “Beth” on the primary ballot. Please look for my full name, “Elizabeth Evans Cullen,” at the eighth spot on the at-large council candidate roster.
Never before has voting been so crucial. Newport sits at a crossroads, economically, educationally, and environmentally. The pandemic has altered how we work, play, learn, and socialize. An immense opportunity will be lost if we choose to not learn lessons from this collective pause. What do we value? Where do we want to head? Do we have the leadership in place to react and steer our community towards a more robust future? Or, will we remain anchored to old-school, shopworn ways? Voters can decide whether to stay the course and hope for the best or choose candidates with the skills to move in a more fruitful direction.
I do my homework. I know we have great potential on this island. Yet, too many highgrowth, high-paying jobs go unfilled. Area businesses are seeking qualified workers. It's time to change how we see ourselves and start appreciating our value with greater confidence and resolution. Let's take much more advantage of what's already here. Let's tap these sectors that offer fruitful futures: marine industries, healthcare, cybersecurity, information technology, financial services, architecture/ design, and higher education.
Don't believe the myths now circulating. In the forums, we learned that the majority of council and school committee candidates, in both Newport and Middletown, want to study regionalization. If elected, that will be my top priority. Small, overlapping school districts are competing for scarce funds and talent. It's time to offer our young people a much larger cache of innovative and diverse opportunities for 21st century career paths in the trades, technical certifications, two-year, fouryear, or advanced degrees.
However you choose to cast your ballots, consider filling the oval for a candidate who has the time, experience, energy, and determination to seek and help implement NEW solutions. I know we must rollup our sleeves and tackle these challenging issues - economic diversification, education improvement, environmental protection, equity, efficiencies, and accountability.
I look forward to working full time for you on the Newport City Council. Learn more about my background and forward-leaning platform, visit Beth02840.com, or text/call, 401-207-4624.
Beth Cullen, Newport
Tiverton is a wonderful farm coast community with so much to offer our families, young and old, and our visitors. We are an affordable community where young couples are moving to start their families. For too many recent years, politics have become the laughing stock image. We are better than that. We are friends and neighbors and we rise up as a community to help our own when the need arises. We champion our youth sports and we enjoy a vast network of recreational trails and areas.
Like many communities, we have our challenges. Our FTR budget process is broken and has cost us litigation and painful budget cuts, our business community is feeling left out, we face potential over development, and our equipment is still not up to par. Add to that the looming landfill closure and we have a full slate of challenges. As a community, we must do better. Our residents rely on the services we provide. You may not need to call an ambulance but you hope they are there when you do and with equipment you need. We may not get a snowy winter but you sure hope the plows are available if it is. You may not have children in the sports programs, but you want quality playing areas if you do.
Tiverton has its challenges and it has gotten better over the past three years. But we can do more. We need to do more. As residents, you deserve nothing less than the best Tiverton has to offer. I am willing to take on those challenges and to be your voice on the Town Council. We are too resilient of a community to walk away from challenges and they need to be met head on. We have a new and strong Town Administrator in place as well as a new Fire Chief hired from within. Positive strides have taken place and we are making our town more professional. My experience as a former professional firefighter, with emergency management, as a former budget committee member, with my involvement in our youth sports programs, and as a member of two other local committees, has afforded me with the connections to hear from you directly. Your thoughts and ideas are valued and not simply discarded as in the past. I will be an open line of communication to see to it that your request for service or any issues you wish to bring to the Town Council are heard. I respectfully as for your vote both in early voting, and on Nov. 3. Thank you.
David J Paull, Tiverton
Questions at the top of Middletown ballot
Middletown residents have become dissatisfied with the sitting town council. The ability of the townspeople to have a voice in their government has become increasingly difficult, and mutual respect among fellow councilors has deteriorated. It is no coincidence that eleven new people are running this year, an unprecedented ballot size in recent memory.
Speaking of coincidence, take a look at this year's ballot order. You will notice the sitting council president and vice president's name at the top of the list among other familiar names. I inquired with the town clerk about where in the town charter I could find the procedure for how the ballot order is determined. I was told, “The Board of Canvassers pick random like the state and nearby towns.” For example, Newport held its ballot placement in a video-recorded, public meeting; Middletown did not.
I looked at the ballots from 2018 and 2016 and again found those two names at the top of the list. I reached out to a senior actuarial analyst to try to understand the odds of this happening in a random drawing. He said, “The probability of both of them being chosen first in 2016 would be 2.8%. The probability of them both being chosen in the first two picks for 2016 and 2018 is 0.08%. For three years in a row, it is 0.0006%”.
There is a clear advantage to being at the top of the list, especially in such a large field of candidates. A study done by Darren Grant of Sam Houston State University found that “Going from last to first on the ballot raises a candidate's vote share by 10 percentage points...” At the state level, there is a transparent process for selecting the order of candidates on the ballot. You would think true leaders would want to make the process in Middletown as transparent as possible. With their names appearing at the top in three consecutive elections, it is hard not to conclude that the order is something other than random.
Please exercise your rights in this election, research the candidates, and vote for those that are most qualified and dedicated to leading our town honestly and transparently for the next two years.
Kevin Kosinski, Middletown