Get To Know The CCA Endorsed Town Council Candidates

Click on any image or name above to read a candidate’s full biography

  • CCA 2014 Platform for Charlestown

    The Charlestown Citizens Alliance* (CCA) is committed to enhancing the overall quality of life for all Charlestown residents. We believe that sound fiscal management, responsible economic development, wise stewardship of our natural resources, and accountable and ethical leadership are essential to sustaining the vitality of our town. To accomplish this, CCA has endorsed candidates committed to the following goals:

  • Fiscal Responsibility

    CCA-endorsed candidates are committed to keeping our tax rate as one of the lowest in the state. At a time when financial resources are limited, we will promote an entrepreneurial spirit through town leadership and management to capture funds that will support fiscal projects and activities that fit with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.

  • Responsible Development

    CCA realizes that growth and development are linked to our town’s overall vitality. We value the strong connection between protection of our natural resources and our low tax rate. Accordingly, CCA-endorsed candidates will support economic opportunities that promote a vibrant community, preserve the landscapes we love, are cost-effective to taxpayers, and are environmentally sustainable over time.

  • Preservation of Our Natural Environment

    CCA-endorsed candidates recognize the important relationship between our environment, our quality of life, and our natural resource based economy. We will work collaboratively with town residents, businesses, and local, state and federal agencies to protect and sustain our natural resources and rural character.

  • Local Control Over Land Use

    CCA-endorsed candidates are committed to opposing state legislative and administrative initiatives that threaten to remove local control over Planning, Zoning, and the protection of Charlestown’s environment and community character.

  • Accountable and Ethical Leadership

    CCA-endorsed candidates are committed to town governance that is open, honest and responsible. All deliberations will be conducted in a forum characterized by civility and mutual respect.

  • Positive Educational Leadership

    CCA-endorsed School Committee candidates support the Chariho administration in its efforts to provide students with a high quality education while also promoting sound fiscal management and positive personal responsibility. They will continue to foster the high ranking of the Chariho district and its accomplishments.

  • Continue to Oppose Any Type of Gaming Halls, Including Casinos

    CCA-endorsed candidates support the federal laws and the Supreme Court decision that prevent a casino or other unregulated development on tribal lands. Along with that effort comes the responsibility to treat the Narragansett Tribe as we wish to be treated. CCA candidates pledge to assure enforcement of existing zoning and oppose intense or other inappropriate land use near tribal land.

To read the Platform, click the forward or back arrows to advance the slides

CCA is committed to an election outcome that produces public officials who will work in the interest of the majority of Charlestown’s citizens.

To that end, Charlestown Citizens Alliance will  endorse and support qualified elected officers who endorse our group’s five major issues—responsive, open government; preserving the natural environment; responsible development; anti-casino gambling; and fiscal responsibility.    

For full election coverage, head over to our Election Page

Endorsed Candidates for Town Council, Town Moderator, School Committee and Planning Commission

Scroll down to read biographies for all endorsed candidates

Please vote for all five endorsed Town Council Candidates

Thomas Gentz

Thomas Gentz

Tom has served as president of the Charlestown Town Council since 2010 and has deep roots in Charlestown. His wife’s family has lived here for generations. Tom led the hiring of the Police Chief and Town Administrator, spearheaded the purchase of the Charlestown Moraine Preserve and ChurchWoods, and sits on the State Legislature’s Affordable Housing Study Commission. Currently retired, he was formerly an executive in the health care field and holds an MBA. Tom is a veteran of the US Navy.

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Virginia Lee

Virginia Lee

Virginia is a nationally recognized coastal planner who received her Masters of Science at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography. She is a leading expert on Rhode Island’s coastal ponds – they are in fact her life’s work. She has lived in South County since the 1970s, moving to Charlestown five years ago.

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Denise Rhodes

Denise Rhodes

Denise, a ten year resident of Charlestown, is retired from a career in the banking and finance industry, where she worked as a mortgage underwriter, loan review officer, and senior credit analyst. She brings an experienced voice to the table for the neighborhood adversely impacted by the Westerly Granite/Copar Quarry operation, where she lives.

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George Tremblay

George Tremblay

George has lived in Charlestown for 31 years and is a current member of the Town Council and past member of the Planning Commission. He is a retired URI Professor and former business owner with a PhD in Biochemistry. He has a record of challenging any initiative that threatens to undermine local control over planning, zoning, and development in ways that negatively impact the character of our community.

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Bonnita Van Slyke

Bonnita Van Slyke

Bonnie is the third generation of her family to live in Charlestown, and she and her husband live in the house that her father built in 1950. She works in book publishing as a copy editor and page layout artist. From 2004 to 2014 she served as a director of the Frosty Drew Memorial Fund that operates the Frosty Drew Nature Center and Observatory and was also its treasurer. She has a BA in economics.

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Please vote for Leo Mainelli for Town Moderator

Leone Mainelli

Leone Mainelli

Leo earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from URI, and later an MBA from the University of Hartford. He worked for Pratt & Whitney as a Regional Manager for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He was active for 25 years in local government in South Windsor, CT where he lived before moving to Charlestown full-time in 2000. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Salt Ponds Coalition, and many other URI and Charlestown committees and organizations.

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Please vote for both Ron and Donna for School Committee

Ronald Areglado

Ronald Areglado

Ron is the recipient of several prestigious national and state awards. Last year he was appointed to serve as a member of the Chariho School Committee. He has worked over 45 years in a variety of urban, suburban and rural educational settings spanning elementary schools to graduate school. He holds a Doctorate in Educational Policy, Research and Planning. Ron has lived in Charlestown since 1998.

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Donna Chambers

Donna Chambers

Donna was appointed by the Charlestown Town Council to serve a seat vacated last November. Donna has a BS and a MA as well as 45 years experience in education and currently works with several New England states as an adult education consultant with expertise in proficiency-based teaching and learning. Donna has lived in Charlestown for 13 years.

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Please vote for all five endorsed Planning Commission Candidates

Mark Alexander

Mark Alexander

Mark has a BS in Space Sciences from Florida Institute of Technology and is a retired semiconductor engineer. Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a volunteer coach for youth football, baseball and basketball and has spent time volunteering and substitute teaching at Charlestown Elementary and Chariho Middle and High Schools. He has lived in Charlestown since 1995.

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Constance Baker

Constance Baker

Connie has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management and Economics and 36 years of experience in the financial services industry and has been a volunteer for 10 years on the Charlestown Land Trust as well as a member of the Board of Directors. She is a current member of the Planning Commission and has lived in Charlestown for 11 years.

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Gordon Foer

Gordon Foer

Gordon is currently on the Planning Commission, having been elected in 2008. He holds a Masters degree from Tufts University in Urban and Environmental Policy. He is a former chair and member of the Charlestown Conservation Commission, a co-founder of the Charlestown Land Trust, and has lived in Charlestown since 1993. He is part owner and a Board member of Biomes Marine Biology Center and an adjunct professor at New England Institute of Technology.

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Barbara Heavers

Barbara Heavers

Barbara is an artist, farmer, scientist, and an award winning educator with Ph.D, MS, and BS degrees in Biology and Zoology. She has taken an active role in land preservation in Charlestown by placing a large portion of her farm in permanent preservation with the Charlestown Land Trust. She has lived in Charlestown since 1971.

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Frances Topping

Frances Topping

Frances is a Natural Science Illustrator, fine artist, educator and naturalist. She has both a Bachelor of Science in Geography with Botany and Zoology and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a past member of the Charlestown Conservation Commission and volunteers for the RI Wild Plant Society, the RI Natural History Survey and other groups and has lived in Charlestown for 12 years.

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Campaign Signs are Here – How You Can Help

Campaign Signs are Here – How You Can Help

In early May we made a call for candidates at our website and to our email list. Thirteen of you stepped forward to declare your willingness to run for local office. Those thirteen individuals are now busy running for election and introducing themselves to the voters of Charlestown. While they are hard at work, there(…)

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Best Candidates are CCA-Sponsored

The following letter appeared in local newspapers and is reprinted here with permission of the author Michael Chambers. When the roster of candidates for office in Charlestown became public, I was pleasantly satisfied with the number and quality of candidates that the Charlestown Citizens Alliance supports. This should be no surprise because the CCA seeks(…)

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Get To Know The Endorsed Town Moderator Candidate

Get To Know The Endorsed Town Moderator Candidate

The town meeting is a form of direct democratic rule, used since the 17th century, in which the members of the community come together to legislate the budget for the local government. Charlestown keeps this bit of New England history alive in the position of Town Moderator. The Town Moderator acts as presiding officer at(…)

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Get To Know The Endorsed Chariho School Committee Candidates

Get To Know The Endorsed Chariho School Committee Candidates

Positive Educational Leadership for Chariho The Chariho School Committee candidates pictured below support the Chariho administration in its efforts to provide students with a high quality education while also promoting sound fiscal management and positive personal responsibility. They will continue to foster the high ranking of the Chariho district and its accomplishments. Click on any(…)

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Get To Know The Endorsed Planning Commission Candidates

Get To Know The Endorsed Planning Commission Candidates

Get To Know The Endorsed Planning Commission Candidates These candidates will bring education, experience, science, and a commitment to conservation to the elected Planning Commission. The top two vote getters will receive a six year term and will be full voting members. The next top vote getter will receive a two year term and will(…)

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Get To Know The CCA Endorsed Town Council Candidates

Get To Know The CCA Endorsed Town Council Candidates

Get To Know The CCA Endorsed Town Council Candidates The Charlestown Citizens Alliance* (CCA) is committed to enhancing the overall quality of life for all Charlestown residents. We believe that sound fiscal management, responsible economic development, wise stewardship of our natural resources, and accountable, ethical leadership are essential to sustaining the vitality of our town.(…)

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The Proof is in the Posting

Guest Post by Michael Chambers (guest posts are moderated, but not approved or endorsed by the CCA Steering Committee) Now that the candidates for public office in Charlestown have been identified, Campaign 2014 has officially begun. As usual, I visited the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee’s website to see what issues the CDTC considers to be(…)

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CCA Releases 2014 Platform

The CCA Steering Committee and our endorsed candidates have worked together the last few weeks to define the Platform for the 2014 election. The new platform is very similar to our 2012 platform in its commitment to sound fiscal management, responsible economic development, wise stewardship of our natural resources, and accountable and ethical leadership. The(…)

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Nomination Papers 2014 – Photo Gallery

Nomination Papers 2014 – Photo Gallery

Thank you again to everyone who signed the nomination papers for our 13 excellent candidates. We collected 1,391 total signatures for the 13 candidates! We surpassed the requirement of a total of 650 signatures for all our candidates to qualify for the November election ballot. The election rules favor the political parties who can put(…)

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Support the Candidates using PayPal or Check

If you would like to make a contribution to support the campaigns of our endorsed candidates, you have the choice of an online donation using PayPal or you can send us a check using postal mail.

To use PayPal, please go to our PayPal page.

To send us a check by postal mail, please print our contribution form

Thank You for your generosity and commitment to good government!


Local News and Opinion

Recent Posts In CCA Blog and Mailbox

Campaign Signs are Here – How You Can Help

Campaign Signs are Here – How You Can Help

In early May we made a call for candidates at our website and to our email list. Thirteen of you stepped forward to declare your willingness to run for local office. Those thirteen individuals are now busy running for election and introducing themselves to the voters of Charlestown. While they are hard at work, there(…)

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The master lever IS the cause of confusion

The master lever IS the cause of confusion

The following letter appeared in Rhode Island newspapers and is reprinted here with permission of the author Ruth Platner. Ms. Platner is a member of the Charlestown Planning Commission and has been a candidate (elected) in non-partisan elections since 1998. After years of citizen lobbying, the Rhode Island House of Representatives voted unanimously in May(…)

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Charlestown Town Council Responds to ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Charlestown staff assisted the Town Council in their response to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from the Richmond Town Council.  At five PM on September 12, Town Administrator Mark Stankiewicz, Town Clerk Amy Weinreich, Tax Collector Joanne Santos, Zoning Official Joe Warner, and Economic Improvement Commission Chair Frank Glista enthusiastically dumped buckets of ice water(…)

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ChurchWoods Senior Housing Closer to Reality

ChurchWoods Senior Housing Closer to Reality

The following letter appeared in local newspapers and is reprinted here with permission of the author Tom Gentz. Mr. Gentz is President of the Charlestown Town Council. At the September Town Council meeting, the Charlestown Town Council took a major step forward in the slow march toward making the ChurchWoods affordable housing project a reality.(…)

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What possesses a newspaper to publish such inflammatory nonsense?

What possesses a newspaper to publish such inflammatory nonsense?

The following letter appeared in local newspapers and is shared with us here by the author George C. Tremblay. Mr. Tremblay is a member of the Charlestown Town Council and Town Council Liaison to the Planning Commission. Regarding the article, Shuffling of zoning panel stirs questions (Westerly Sun, Sept 1), I have to wonder what(…)

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Best Candidates are CCA-Sponsored

The following letter appeared in local newspapers and is reprinted here with permission of the author Michael Chambers. When the roster of candidates for office in Charlestown became public, I was pleasantly satisfied with the number and quality of candidates that the Charlestown Citizens Alliance supports. This should be no surprise because the CCA seeks(…)

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Happy Trails, Mike

The following letter appeared in local newspapers and is reprinted here with permission of the author Michael Chambers. Mr. Chambers is a member of the Charlestown Zoning Board. Two years ago, Mike Rzewuski and I disagreed publicly about the merits of term limits for town commission volunteers. I argued from the rationale that term limits(…)

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Recent Local Newspaper Stories

Chariho summit to be held Thursday

Richmond unilaterally introduced two items as proposed changes to the Chariho Act at the state legislature during the last session. It has also argued with the other towns over the district’s funding formula. At the same time, Richmond has also been the most vocal advocate of a joint meeting.

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Charlestown composter’s mix is not for the squeamish

Published: September 12, 2014 | Last Modified: September 12, 2014 11:27PM By BROOKE CONSTANCE WHITE Special to The Sun CHARLESTOWN — As Rhode Island’s oldest operating farm composter, Earth Care Farm in Charlestown has been taking great measures to lessen the amount of waste that goes into the state’s landfills since 1979. Producing over 4,000(…)

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Charlestown to revisit town quarry ordinance

Westerly Sun – Published: September 11, 2014 | Last Modified: September 11, 2014 05:47PM By CYNTHIA DRUMMOND Sun Staff Writer CHARLESTOWN — Town Council President Thomas Gentz has vowed to go to the state legislature and ask lawmakers to help the town find a way to regulate gravel banks and quarries in the town. Bradford(…)

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Charlestown votes to buy its own streetlights

Westerly Sun – Published: September 10, 2014 By CYNTHIA DRUMMOND Sun Staff Writer CHARLESTOWN — In an effort that they hope will save the town money, members of the Town Council have voted to buy the town’s streetlights, which are currently owned and maintained by National Grid. For the past two years, the Washington County(…)

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Blanchette leaving Chariho

Westerly Sun – Published: September 3, 2014 | Last Modified: September 3, 2014 12:10PM By CYNTHIA DRUMMOND Sun Staff Writer WOOD RIVER JUNCTION — Carol Blanchette, assistant superintendent of the Chariho Regional School District, will start a new job as superintendent of the Jamestown school department on Sept. 22. Her last day here will be(…)

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Town ratifies DiBello deal

Westerly Sun – Published: August 26, 2014 | Last Modified: August 26, 2014 04:54PM By CYNTHIA DRUMMOND Sun Staff Writer CHARLESTOWN — The Town Council voted Monday to authorize the settlement payments in Councilor Lisa DiBello’s lawsuit accusing the town of wrongdoing in her dismissal as parks and recreation director four years ago. DiBello, who(…)

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Big tech upgrade under way in local schools

Westerly Sun – Published: August 23, 2014 By ANNA MARIA LEMOINE Sun Staff Writer A new computer lab, dozens of Chromebooks, SMART Boards, Promethean Interactive White Boards and for every teacher at her school, new Macbook Air laptops. Alicia Dawe’s ambition for the West Vine-West Broad Street School since she took over as principal a(…)

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Ricci voted top superintendent

Westerly Sun – Published: August 22, 2014 By CYNTHIA DRUMMOND Sun Staff Writer WOOD RIVER JUNCTION — Chariho Regional School District Superintendent Barry Ricci has been voted 2014-15 Superintendent of the Year by the 125 members of the Rhode Island School Superintendents’ Association. Westerly Superintendent of Schools Roy Seitsinger Jr. said Ricci’s recognition was well(…)

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