Chris Paplauskas was the first Republican to win the Ward 5 City Council seat in 74 years when he elected in 2014 after a failed run in 2012. He was then reelected in 2016 and has announced that he is running again for the same seat this year.
He said that he has been “laser-focused” on Ward 5, which encompasses the Knightsville community of Cranston, since being elected. He has tried to build that community up, he said, through initiatives like the Knightsville gazebo Christmas Lighting or the new project he’s working on called “Flowers for Ward 5,” when he’ll buy $500 worth of flowers and mulch and pick five locations in Ward 5 to plant them. He also heralded the Meshanticut Park Earth Cleanup day as a community-building initiative he started.
In terms of the city as a whole, he said his main focus is continuing to “do the basics really well.”
“We need to stay focused on infrastructure and work with the school committee on making school buildings better,” he said. “We also need to keep focused on the roads and snow removal. If we do the basic really well and we work really hard on those things, it shows.”
In Knightsville, Paplauskas wants to continuing develop what he calls a “true destination.”
“I really want to be a champion for Knightsville,” he said. “It’s a great spot for restaurants and the small mom and pop stores that we have. It’s a destination, especially with all the Italian restaurants and Italian culture.”
He also called himself pro-business, saying that one of his main goals is to utilize all of the retail space available, especially in Knightsville, to bring new businesses into the area.
Paplauskas, who works for Bori Graphix during the week and also delivers pizza a few nights a week for Tommy’s Pizza on Oaklawn Avenue, has a wife Judy and two elementary school-aged children, Aidan and Sophia. He is 35 years old.
Paplauskas said he looks forward to the campaign trail.
“Campaigning is a lot of fun,” he said. “I love knocking on doors, talking to people. They give me an issue and I get right to work on it. I’m going to start knocking on doors this week.”
One issue he recently worked on was getting a dog park at Stony Acre along with Council President Michael Farina, but they have since withdrawn the ordinance after hearing opposition from people in the neighborhood who said it might be too close to Johnston. He said they’re going to look at a location more centrally located in the city, and will use the open field at Stony Acre for recreational purposes, possibly soccer and lacrosse.
No one else has announced a campaign for the Ward 5 City Council seat. Paplauskas said he’s less focused on that and more focused on the residents at this point in time.