I bought my first house in Charlestown in 1985, married, raised a family, and am truly thankful to live here. Back then housing was more affordable, but over time our town’s coastal charms have attracted wealthier summer residents and retirees.
Nowadays younger people struggle to get a start in Charlestown and our census data shows a higher proportion of over-65-year-olds compared to other Chariho towns. Charlestown’s enrollment number in Chariho is declining. In nature this is called being unsustainable.
CCA has controlled Charlestown government for 10 years and has done little to address affordable housing. While 48 affordable units were added, only 8 units address the needs of younger families. Rhode Island law mandates 10% affordable housing, which leaves Charlestown 285 units short.
CCA has focused on their “no trees left behind” philosophy with a relentless pursuit to purchase open space. This is not surprising as I doubt anyone on their steering committee has worked in Charlestown full time while raising a family. While the CCA masquerades as representing the interests of town residents, they cater to summer residents and affluent retirees.
Charlestown needs more diverse representation in our town. The CCA candidates all claim to be independents, but all vote in lockstep together.
This year Charlestown Residents United has fielded a diverse slate of candidates that includes Democrats, Republicans and independents. They will truly represent Charlestown as a whole, including “working” Charlestown and younger families.
John Hacunda, Charlestown
This article appeared as a Letter To the Editor in The Westerly Sun on October 28, 2020.