Denise L. Rhodes
The Copar Quarry is located in Westerly, directly on Charlestown’s border. Residents in Charlestown as far as one mile from the quarry have reported hearing the loud blasting taking place at the site. For residents close by, these blasts are overwhelming and come with crystalline silica dust that coats houses, decks, and cars and that leaves a film indoors on surfaces and lungs. The Town Council in Westerly astoundingly signed an agreement with Copar that bars the town from regulating the quarry now or in the future. Stopping events in Westerly from impacting Charlestown has so far proved a challenge, but Denise wants to make sure these intense mining operations don’t find a home inside Charlestown’s borders as well. Residents in Charlestown have often had an uneasy relationship with gravel banks in our town, but the conditions on the Westerly border are of a magnitude never seen before. It’s something that should not be allowed to spread.
Denise, like many of us, was attracted to Charlestown for its quiet, peace, and outstanding natural beauty. The loss of that special character has inspired her to become active in the effort to bring regulation to the mining and excavation industries in Rhode Island to protect the environment and public health. She brought her activism to the next level with a run for public office in 2014 and now again in 2016.
Denise L. Rhodes – Town Council
Denise was born in Chelsea, MA but moved to RI at age four, when her father’s tour of military duty sent him to the Quonset Naval Station. Although her father was from Moberly, Missouri, and her mother from Nashua, NH, they chose Rhode Island as their retirement destination due to its rustic, natural environment. Denise has been a resident of South County ever since, and of Charlestown over the past 10 years. Denise lives off Ross Hill Road, a stone’s throw from the Westerly Granite/Copar Quarry, the reactivated operation that has had such a negative impact on its neighbors. Denise has been a leading public voice in the interest of the impacted neighbors and environment. She brings that voice to the table for the neighborhood adversely affected by that quarrying operation.
The negative impacts the quarry has had on local quality of life were the catalyst that sparked Denise’s activism and her 2014 run for Town Council, but it is her knowledge of how easily change can come to our beautiful community when we don’t have local control that makes her an insightful and experienced Town Councilor.
- Denise is a graduate of North Kingstown High School and Sawyer School of Business.
- She was awarded an Associate’s Degree in Accounting and Finance from the Community College of Rhode Island in 1980 and attended Bryant College for three years for further study in these subjects.
- While still a RI resident, her former husband’s military duty took her to Beaufort, SC, where she served as Deputy Clerk of the Family Court
- While earning her Associate’s Degree, Denise worked as a secretary at Citizens Bank
- After earning her Associate’s Degree, she advanced to become a collections analyst, mortgage underwriter, community outreach agent, and loan review officer for Citizens Bank
- In 1997, Denise took a position as Senior Credit Analyst at RI Hospital Trust/Sovereign Bank, and advanced to to Senior Community Banking Officer before she retired in 2008.
- Charlestown Town Council 2014 – present
- Town Council Liaison to the Senior Citizen Commission
- Denise is a founding member of The Concerned Citizens of Bradford & Charlestown, an advocacy group for local residents negatively impacted by the under-regulated quarry and mining industries in Rhode Island.
- Denise has three adult children and now grandchildren who keep her life busy.
- Denise fully supports the CCA Platform for the 2016 election.