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Friday, November 2, 2012

Need leaders "that are unbiased, open-minded and forward-looking"

Tim and Bev
Why you can trust the Charlestown Democratic slate
By Bev Quillen
A version of this ran in the Westerly Sun. Reprinted by permission of the author

Through most of my life, anyone who knows me well (ask my daughters) would readily agree that I don’t like change. But 11 years ago I made a huge life change by moving from Warwick, where I lived for 22 years, to the much smaller, rural town of Charlestown.

It took me a while to adjust, but over time I began to enjoy all the advantages that living in Charlestown offered. I discovered that it was a friendly place. In the summer, when leaving the Shannock post office, I walk out with free, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. At the Cross Mill Library, employees welcome me and know my therapy dog Tia by name. When we walk down our road people say hello.

Living closer to nature, I believe that I enjoy a better quality of life. There is clean fresh air, free of smog, with beaches that are beautiful and close by. We have the Frosty Drew Nature Center & Observatory, the Ninigret Dog Park, the Big Apple Circus and numerous New England festivals in Ninigret Park.

There are holiday parades, Narragansett Indian cultural events and this past fall, the first Harvest Festival, an event that united the community.

Inspired by my enthusiasm, some of my friends with young families became interested in Charlestown.

But what they learned was disheartening. If they hoped to live here, real estate is limited and most are beyond their middle class income. In addition, if they hoped to work here, employment is scarce and it is clear that town leaders do not support the efforts of small business owners.

Unfortunately, their observations are true. It is extremely discouraging that the people who currently run Charlestown make major decisions that neither represent nor benefit our working class town residents. They neither welcome small businesses to our town, nor support those who are struggling to keep their establishments open.

Even though our nation advocates for green energy, instead of encouraging the creation of environmentally-sound, renewable energy sources, our current town counsel denies home owners the right to produce alternative energy-efficient energy for their own homes on their own property.

So, even though change can still make me feel uneasy, as a resident of Charlestown, I recognize that our town needs to make some major changes. To accomplish this, we need to elect a Town Council and Planning Commission that are unbiased, open-minded and forward-looking.

These characteristics describe the democratic candidates, one of them who I know well and the reason I moved to Charlestown, my husband, Tim Quillen.

That’s why I’m asking you to vote for him and his running mates Paula Anderson and Tom Ferrio for Town Council and for the Planning Commission, Frank Glista, Melina Lodge, Brandon Cleary and Mike Breton.

Given the opportunity, this team will work hard to bring about positive changes and build a stronger Charlestown.