Political Winds

Posted 8/26/20

Paplauskas backs Hopkins in GOP race Ward 5 City Councilman Chris Paplauskas has announced his support for Citywide Councilman Ken Hopkins in the Republican primary for mayor. "e;Ken Hopkins has a long and storied history of serving our community in

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Political Winds


Paplauskas backs Hopkins in GOP race

Ward 5 City Councilman Chris Paplauskas has announced his support for Citywide Councilman Ken Hopkins in the Republican primary for mayor.

“Ken Hopkins has a long and storied history of serving our community in multiple capacities. From high school educator, to athletic director and coach, and now as a citywide councilmember, he has proven his ability to connect with Cranstonians, and he remains dedicated to our city’s success and status as a desirable place to raise a family in Rhode Island,” Paplauskas, who is in his third term and served as council majority leader, said in a statement. “I am ecstatic to provide my full endorsement to Ken Hopkins for mayor, and hope that my neighbors in Ward 5 and throughout our city come to the same conclusion that I have – that Ken has the integrity, experience, and skills to lead our city into the future.”

He added: “I understand that making the decision of who will succeed Mayor Allan Fung is a difficult one for many Cranstonians. This is one of the most important elections in our lifetime, given the global pandemic and its impact on our economy and community. I’m proud to stand with Ken, and remain incredibly appreciative of his continued service and dedication to the success of all Cranston residents. I have no doubt that Ken will always have the best interests of each and every constituent at heart if given the opportunity by Cranston’s voters to serve as our next mayor.”

In his own statement, Hopkins called Paplauskas a “deeply respected colleague on the City Council” and “one of the stars of the Cranston Republican Party.”

“I am honored to call Chris Paplauskas my friend and to receive his personal endorsement of my campaign to be Mayor … The residents of Ward 5 hold him in high regard for his tireless dedication and sincere concern for the neighborhoods he represents.”

Paplauskas – who is seeking a new term without opposition in November’s election – acknowledged earlier this election cycle that he had considered a bid for mayor before deciding to run for reelection.

Hopkins, in his statement, hinted at such a run for Paplauskas in the future, saying: “I have no doubt that someday he will be a serious candidate for higher office.”

Vargas endorses Bucci in Democratic race

On the Democratic side of the mayoral primary, Maria Bucci recently received her own endorsement from a sitting City Council member, Ward 1’s Lammis Vargas.

“We have two great Democrats running for mayor but I have decided to endorse Maria Bucci for Mayor because it’s time for Cranston to elect its first woman Mayor,” Vargas, who is in her first term, said in a statement from Bucci’s campaign. “I don’t want to wait another four years for my daughter to see a strong woman leading our city. In addition, more than ever, I believe diversity is critical in our city. I have sat with Maria and she has committed that she will work every day to bring equity, equality and diversity to our City.”

The statement touts both Vargas’s and Bucci’s support for the $147 million school construction bond on the fall ballot and states that the two women “stand as role models for girls and young women in Cranston, demonstrating that they belong in leadership roles.”

“I am honored to have Councilwoman Vargas’ endorsement and am proud of her leadership on the Council,” Bucci said in the statement. “Everyone in Cranston should have confidence that the city will work for them – City Hall must be open and inclusive. We are committed to building on our shared quality of life, for all families, and ensuring that Cranston continues to be one of the best places to live, work, and raise a family in Rhode Island.”

Vargas is seeking reelection without opposition in November’s general election.

Miller backs Stycos for Democratic nod

Citywide Councilman Steve Stycos, who is also seeking the Democratic mayoral nomination, announced Tuesday that he has received the endorsement of state Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston).

“In his 20 years as an elected official, Steve Stycos has amassed an impressive record of service that shows why he is the best choice for Mayor of Cranston,” Miller said in a statement. “He has time and again demonstrated his commitment to preserving and improving the lives of our residents and communities.”

He added: “Steve’s environmental record is unmatched; he believes that small businesses are the backbone of our local economies; and he supports legislation protecting our communities from gun violence.”

“Senator Miller is a tireless advocate for our small business community, the environment, and public health,” Stycos said in the release. “I am honored to have the support of such a devoted public servant and look forward to continuing to work with Senator Miller if elected Mayor.”

Santamaria, Local 328 back Bucci

Bucci’s campaign rolled out two other endorsements in the past week – one from former Democratic council member Richard Santamaria, and another from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 328.

In a statement from the Bucci campaign, Santamaria, who served four terms in the council’s Ward 5 seat before winning a citywide seat in 2014, called his former council colleague “the best person for the job of mayor.”

“I witnessed Maria in action while serving with her for two terms on the City Council. Maria is compassionate, focused, and always puts the taxpayers first. She is a staunch supporter of safety services, schools, and the environment,” he said. “During these trying times, I can’t think of anyone better than Maria to lead our great city. She will make effective changes that will bring us to a brighter future for the next generation.”

In a separate statement, Local 328 President Tim Melia called Bucci “someone who understands the needs of working people in Cranston and who has the vision to make the city a place where all its residents have a voice in their government.”

“In talking with Maria, we know we have someone who will balance the needs of economic development with those of the community,” he added.

“I am honored to receive UFCW’s endorsement of my campaign,” Bucci said in the statement. “We should all applaud, commend and support their members, who went out on the front-lines at the beginning of this pandemic to report to work at Stop & Shop ensuring that we all had access to the food and necessities. While most people were quarantined in their homes – they worked longer hours and more shifts. These folks are truly heroes.”

According to the statement, there are “hundreds of UFCW union households in Cranston.” Local 328, the statement reads, is “the largest private sector union in Rhode Island representing thousands of employees in retail food, institutional food, healthcare, banking, transportation, recycling, manufacturing, barbers and cosmetologists.”

RI Latino Political Action Committee endorses council hopefuls

The Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee has announced its endorsement of four candidates for Cranston City Council.

For the council’s three citywide seats, the group is backing Republican Nicole Renzulli and Democrats Larry Warner and Dylan Zelazo. The group is also backing Vargas for reelection in Ward 1.

In a statement, Renzulli said she is “honored” to receive RILPAC’s backing.

“My campaign is about being a new voice for the Citizens of Cranston and I am committed to elevating the voices of the Latinx community,” she said.

Vargas, in a tweet, wrote: “Happy to announce that I have been endorsed by the Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee. Congratulations to all the candidates who also have been endorsed.”

Warner and Zelazo are part of a four-way primary contest for the three Democratic slots on the November ballot. The field also includes Paul Archetto and Jessica Marino. Archetto, Warner and Zelazo are endorsed by the Cranston Democratic City Committee.

Renzulli is joined on the endorsed Republican citywide ticket by Robert Ferri and Don Roach.

School Committee members back Zelazo

Zelazo last week added three Cranston School Committee members to the list of elected officials who are supporting his citywide council bid.

According to a statement, committee Chairman Dan Wall of Ward 6 and committee members Kristen Haroian of Ward 2 and David Alden-Sears of Ward 5 are backing Zelazo.

“We need Dylan Zelazo on the Cranston City Council, it’s that simple," Wall said in the statement. “Five of the nine City Council positions are being replaced this election. We need leaders who are experienced and know how important our public schools are to the future of our community. Dylan checks both of those boxes.”

“I’ve been so impressed by Dylan Zelazo, not just his resume but who he is as a person,” Haroian said in the statement.

“I’ve gotten to know Dylan well over the last few months and know he’d be an excellent partner for the School Committee on the City Council,” Alden-Sears said in the statement.

Potter receives endorsements from Working Families Party, SEIU 1199

The Rhode Island Working Families Party and District 1199 SEIU New England are backing Brandon Potter in his Democratic primary challenge to state Rep. Chris Millea (D-Dist. 16).

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that now more than ever, Rhode Islanders need leaders who will fight for urgent solutions that match the scale of the crisis we face,” Georgia Hollister Isman, the Working Families Party’s state director, said in a statement. “Unlike the incumbent, Brandon will be a State Rep. who fights for Medicare for All and a $15 minimum wage, defends a women’s right to choose, and stands up to party insiders who prefer to stay silent on the most pressing issues of our time.”

“I am looking forward to working with my union 1199 SEIU to help elect Brandon Potter, someone committed to fighting for frontline caregivers and the nursing home residents we care for” Shirley Lomba, a nursing home CNA and Certified Med Tech, said in a separate statement. “I know with Brandon he will not just give caregivers and elderly residents lip service but will definitely be a strong voice for us at the State House.”

“We need leaders in government that are willing to defend our values and fight for working class people,” Potter said in the Working Families Party statement. “There’s serious work that needs to be done in our State and now is the time to be bold. I’m proud to have the support of The Working Families Party and I’m committed to join them in building a government and economy that works for everyone.”

In the SEUI statement, he said: “In a time of such grave concern, where we’ve seen a crisis in our nursing homes especially, our healthcare heroes truly embody what selfless service is. They risk their lives to care for our most vulnerable, and they deserve real, tangible appreciation, not just empty praise. I’m proud to have received this endorsement, and I promise to stand-up for healthcare workers, and fight for policies that reform our healthcare system.”

According to its statement, SEIU 1199 represents more than 4,000 workers in Rhode Island’s health care and service industries.

Potter’s other endorsements include the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action, Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island, Clean Water Action and Sunrise Movement Providence.


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment