As polling places closed Tuesday and results filtered in, Cranston residents found that incumbents for the General Assembly, City Council and School Committee held their seats. Each of the three …
As polling places closed Tuesday and results filtered in, Cranston residents found that incumbents for the General Assembly, City Council and School Committee held their seats. Each of the three elected bodies will serve two year terms.
While the majority of ballots have been counted, the Board of Elections sent out a release Tuesday saying that remaining drop box ballots and any still uncounted mail ballots will be added to the Mail Ballots totals and made available on state elections website on Nov. 9 and 10; any precincts which failed to transmit their results on Election Night due to any technical issues will be added to the Election Day results and made available on the Board of Elections’ website. From Nov. 11 to 12, provisional ballots results will be added to Polling Place Results and will be made available on the Board of Elections’ website. The Board of Elections said that on Nov. 15, deficient mail ballots cured by voters will be added to Mail Ballots Results and will be made available on the Board of Elections’ website prior to final certification.
General Assembly seats
The majority of incumbents held onto their seats in the General Assembly, however, in State Senate District 31, Democratic candidate Matthew LaMountain won the seat. LaMountain went against Republican candidate Lisa Morse in the Nov. 8 election and faced Harrison Tuttle in the September Primary. Kendra Anderson, who previously represented District 31, decided not to run for reelection.
City Council races
The only uncontested City Council race occurred in Ward 1 where incumbent Democratic candidate Lammis Vargas will continue to hold the Ward 1 seat. Vargas was first elected to the City Council in 2018 as the first woman of color and has played a leading role in starting the pride flag raising in Cranston, establishing an ordinance focusing on minority business enterprises and women business enterprises in city contracts and bringing residents’ concerns to the forefront.
In Ward 2, Democratic incumbent Aniece Germain defeated Republican candidate John Colasante. Germain was appointed to the council in 2020 (filling the remainder of Paul McAuley’s term) and later ran to ensure every person in the city has the same opportunity for a better life. Some of her past work on the council includes a resolution requesting American Rescue Plan Act funds be used to repair the Budlong Pool, stop sign requests and a resolution recognizing September 2022 as Sickle Cell Awareness Month. In October, Germain introduced an ordinance on overnight street parking. While the ordinance was withdrawn, she’s continued to look for a solution to the city’s overnight parking predicament.
Cranston voters favored Democratic incumbent John Donegan who went against Republican candidate Jason Case. Donegan has served on the council since 2018 and has been an advocate for a splash pad in Ward 3, a crosstown RIPTA route along Park Avenue and sponsored a resolution naming the first Friday in June as National Gun Violence Awareness Day. He has also been working on a safe occupancy ordinance to ensure that all rental units in the city are up to code and proactively inspected.
Three candidates sought the Ward 4 seat with Republican incumbent Richard Campopiano landing the victory. Campopiano ran against Democratic candidate Peter Rivelli and independent candidate Michael Farina. Campopiano was appointed to the seat back in September of 2021 after Ed Brady resigned. During his time on the council, Campopiano sponsored a rooster ordinance that allows homeowners to keep one rooster in a coop and fenced-in area on their property that is no closer than 150 feet to the dwelling of any abutter. He recently co-sponsored an ordinance with Council President Chris Paplauskas renaming the Oak Lawn Gazebo in honor of Meri R. Kennedy who passed but was actively involved in Cranston’s community.
Republican candidate Chris Paplauskas and Democrat candidate Larry Warner vied for the Ward 5 seat with Paplauskas winning the majority of residents’ votes. Paplauskas has been on the City Council for the past eight years – making history in 2014 as the first Republican elected to the Ward 5 seat. He currently serves as council president and has focused his time on community engagement, establishing traditions and staying true to the motto ‘making Cranston better – together.’ Paplauskas created the annual Knightsville Christmas Tree Lighting, organized an annual clean up at Meshanticut Park and has sponsored an ordinance on a tax exemption for disabled military veterans.
Matthew Reilly and School Committee chairman Daniel Wall competed for the Ward 6 seat. Reilly proved victorious. Reilly joined the council in 2020 and ran on the platform of maintaining financial stability and focusing on the fundamentals of government. Over the past two years, Reilly has worked to clean up the city code and has co-sponsored numerous ordinances and resolutions including one on marijuana consumption in public spaces, and – most recently – a resolution calling on Governor Dan McKee to drop his proposal to build villages of pallet housing for the homeless at Cranston’s Pastore Complex.
The three citywide candidates who will represent Cranston residents in the upcoming 2023-2025 term include Democratic candidates Jessica Marino and Robert Ferri and Republican candidate Nicole Renzulli – all of whom were incumbents. Republican candidates James Donahue and Thomas Trudell and Democratic candidate Robert Wilson did not win the vote. Some of Renzulli’s recent work includes sponsoring a resolution recognizing October 2022 as domestic violence awareness month within the city, co-sponsoring a resolution on pallet housing and co-sponsoring a resolution on the consumption of marijuana in public spaces. Ferri stepped onto the as a Republican candidate and declared earlier this year that he would run his 2022 campaign as a Democrat. During his time on the council, Ferri has advocated for crossing signals on the bike path, ensuring playgrounds are in good condition and keeping an eye on city spending. Marino introduced and passed a law requiring all city council meetings be video recorded and made accessible online and inquired about Cranston’s potential participation in the RI Community Septic System Loan Program and the RI Sewer Tie-In Loan Program.
School Committee races
Two races in the School Committee race ran uncontested with Michael Traficante taking the citywide seat and Frank Ritz taking the Ward 4 seat. Traifcante has been a member of Cranston’s School Committee for the past 18 years. Prior to that, he served as Cranston’s mayor and on the City Council. Ritz is new to the Ward 4 seat – replacing former police chief Kenneth Mancuso.
In Ward 1, candidate Jeffrey Gale withdrew from the race to focus his attention on the company he is building from the ground up. Because the November ballots had already been printed, Gale’s name remained on the sheet. Gale and Keith Catone vied for this seat back in June of 2022 when Sara Tindall-Woodman resigned from the position in April. After hearing from three candidates, the School Committee appointed Catone to the Ward 1 position. Catone won Tuesday’s election.
Ward 2 saw a race between incumbent candidate Kristen Haroian and Christopher Maxwell. Haroian was victorious; she was first appointed to the Ward 2 seat in 2019.
Incumbent Domenic Fusco faced former City Councilman Paul Archetto with Fusco taking the victory. During Fusco’s time on the School Committee, he has worked with the administration to ensure proper funding for programs and was part of a committee ensuring summer programs coming out of the pandemic.
Tera Norberg and Arthur Scavitti fought for the Ward 5 seat with Norberg being victorious. Norberg has served on the Stone Hill Elementary PTG (parent teacher group) Executive Board since 2014 and is currently the PTG President.
In Ward 6, Anthony Melillo and Dylan Zelazo ran for School Committee with Melillo winning. School Committee Chairman Daniel Wall decided to not run for reelection in order to run for the City Council Ward 6 position. Melillo has spent 17 years as a successful Food Service Director for Cranston Department of Senior Services; he created several intergenerational programs with senior citizens and Cranston Public School students and developed department budgets.
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