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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why I am running for Charlestown Town Council

Every day we are given stones, but what do we build? A bridge or a wall?”
By Paula Andersen

“The human heart is the first home of democracy. It is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole beings, not just with our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions. And do we have enough resolve in our hearts to act courageously, relentlessly, without giving up....ever...trusting our fellow citizens to join with us in our determined pursuit of living a democracy.” —Terry Tempest Williams

I am not an outsider who will gallop in and promise to make things right. I have resided in South County for 40 years; I took up residence in Charlestown 26 years ago. My story began in Cranston, where I was raised by my stay-at-home mom and my career military officer dad. I married young and like many people of the ‘60s generation I ultimately divorced. I raised three absolutely wonderful children, all adults now with families of their own.

Today, I live with my soulmate and life partner of 28 years, Frank Glista. Together we share a love of travel and adventure and spending time with family and friends.

During the late 1980s, I returned to school and did something I had wanted to do but never had the chance...I became a paralegal. I went to work in the law firm of former R.I. Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank J. Williams. In late 1998, l received a call from a friend informing me that the Charlestown Chamber of Commerce was looking for a new Executive Director.

I applied because I thought it sounded different, challenging and like something I might enjoy. This was in December of 1998, and so began another chapter of my life. Throughout my life, I always felt strongly about the need to volunteer and began volunteering at a young age. I saw what the spirit of volunteerism can do for a community.

During my time as the Executive Director of the Charlestown Chamber of Commerce, I got to meet and interact with the many volunteers from all areas of Charlestown. I was also fortunate to volunteer with other nonprofits as an advisor to their boards. Volunteering carried over to my involvement with the town. I served on several town committees, chaired the new beach facilities Ad Hoc Committee, and currently chair the Parks & Recreation Commission.

I wasn’t looking to run for office and I am not a politician, but I am a very concerned citizen. When asked to consider running for public office, I had to stop and think awhile. I discussed the possibility with Frank. It could be considered another form of volunteering. I would be volunteering to serve all my fellow citizens. So I decided to run for Town Council.

I have strong hopes of seeing the return of civilized discourse and more statesmanlike debates within our town government. I remember reading once that a politics of place emerges when we are deeply accountable to our communities, our neighborhoods, our homes. If elected I will work hard for what is right for all the citizens of Charlestown.
  • I will work to reduce the influence of special interest groups. I will govern for all the citizens ...Democrats, Republicans, liberals, independents, conservatives, young, old, rich and poor......not just a chosen few.
  • I will work to support local jobs by supporting our local businesses. Let’s ease the burdens placed upon them and stop making it increasingly difficult to do business in Charlestown.
  • I will encourage the continued exploration into renewable sources of energy.
  • I will support the expansion of tourism in our area. I am a strong supporter of recreation and believe in the benefits it provides for all of our citizens. I will wholeheartedly work to do my best to bring the Ninigret Park Master Plan to completion.
  • I will support cautious development. I have a deep commitment to the environment and its protection. Some people don’t want any development at all. Why not find a way to do it without being reckless. Believing less in leaving nature undisturbed than in interacting with it positively.

Every day we are given stones, but what do we build? A bridge or a wall? Let’s take our town back and build the bridge to a better future.