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CRU candidates represent the change we need

I, along with many of my neighbors, have voted for CRU candidates Deb Carney (D), Jodi Frank (D) Grace Klinger (R), Stephen Stokes (R) and Scott Keeley (D) for Charlestown Town Council. Charlestown needs balance restored to our town government to ensure fair and honest representation.

The best way to explain my concerns for our town is to tell a little story. Many years ago, I was a city solicitor for the city of Providence. One day, a young lady came into the office, inquiring about potential job opportunities with the city. It was lunchtime and myself and the paralegal were the only two in the office. About 10 minutes later, the young lady left, job application in hand. I went back to my office and saw that my purse was gone. This seemingly nice person was the distraction while her two accomplices cleaned out the offices. I learned my lesson: always watch the back door. (I later became a judge, and one of the thieves ended up in front of me, but that story belongs in the chapter on karma.)

I like to think the best of people, but let’s face it, there always needs to be checks and balances. Someone always needs to be watching, certainly in government and even when the taxes are low. There needs to be “human security cameras” watching to ensure we’re not buying beach houses at inflated values or waterfront property owned by a non-profit group whose members might be current (and former) town board or commission members. Yup. Watch the back door. Don’t give me back my own tax dollars and tell me your fiscal responsibility resulted in a tax reduction. It’s insulting.

Deb Carney and the above candidates have a proven record of being the watchdogs for us. They have been consistent attendees at Town Council meetings, raising issues that affect all of us. They led the charge to stop the $3 million raid on the surplus, resulting in a tax rebate. They have routinely challenged sitting CCA Town Council members to answer to the public. Town Councilor Deb Carney was elected two years ago and has been a relentless advocate for all town residents. Anyone who has attended or watched council meetings knows she is always prepared with facts and research on every issue affecting our town, from budgets and taxation to town COVID safety procedures and more.

Yes, Charlestown is beautiful. Yes, our taxes are low. They should be. But everyone needs to pay attention and watch the back door. The idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely is certainly not a new one. It’s time to shake up this town by voting for balance.

Voting to re-elect Carney and to elect Frank, Klinger, Stokes and Keeley for Town Council is a good start. Please consider these candidates, along with Howard Stephens and Patricia Stamps for Planning Commission and Charlie Beck for town moderator. Vote wisely. Vote for balance. Vote for change!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

Catherine E. Graziano, Charlestown

This article appeared as a Letter To the Editor in The Westerly Sun on November 1, 2020.

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