by Kate Leonard
I am posting this letter in the hopes that you will read it in its entirety before casting your vote for City Council Ward 3. I have spent many years being an advocate for those of us who live in this ward. I have had a long connection to Newport. I have always had family here. As a child, my parents brought me here to spend time with my grandfather and my aunt and cousins. “Papou” owned and operated the Star Lunch on Broadway. My father was pastor of St. Spyridon’s Church after his first retirement until his death in 2003. As an adult, as soon as I was able, I bought my first home in Newport. In 1995 when I retired from teaching, I was able to move here full time and that year won a seat on the City Council.
Why did I run for public office? I ran and have continued to run because I believe that if we want to live in a community, our desire is to live in a good place where our quality of life brings us enjoyment. My grandfather taught me that when we die, all we leave is our name. I have strived to be the best that I can be. My father taught me that if we commit to something, we stay with it. I decided to stay with it—and truly have taken the words “public servant” to mean just that —-serve the public, serve my constituents. I have fought to preserve the Newport that we love.
So, how have I, Kate Leonard, followed through on serving the public? First and foremost, I decided that I should be available to those who call me—and I have done so 24/7, answering phone calls, texts, and emails. I decided that bringing people together really is what makes a community work. To that effort, I have reached out to my constituents to make Newport a better place to live.
It has worked well for achieving many goals. I personally worked to raise funds to restore the Gazebo and to create the Harborwalk at King Park for public access. I worked with the Prince Foundation that donated the funds to buy and protect the open land on Spouting Rock Drive from more development. I worked with the Aquidneck Land Trust to preserve our parks and open spaces and with the City Council so that the parks would be protected permanently.
And what other goals do I hope to continue working on and achieve because I love this city?
1. ALLEVIATE TRAFFIC: I encouraged the Foundation for Newport to create the plan to alleviate traffic. This plan, the only one ever endorsed by the city, would have created a trolley system to make our lives better. Tourist vehicles would not be inundating our neighborhoods. Many fought this plan and it was never implemented. Now, we have re-opened the plan and this Council is working with you citizens on traffic management that is SO greatly needed.
2. IMPROVE EDUCATION: I spent 12 years volunteering at RHS to fund and create the Horticulture Mentoring Program with my best friend Dodo Hamilton to help students learn while getting paid all Summer. For 25 years, as a former teacher and department head in CT schools, I have reached out over and over to demonstrate that education and vocational skills are key to a student’s success in life. Newport needs to improve its educational infrastructure working cooperatively with other towns or building a new RHS and, Pell School should be expanded.
3. CONTINUE TO PROTECT NEIGHBORHOODS TO MAKE NEWPORT A MORE LIVABLE COMMUNITY: I sponsored the Deputy Zoning Officer Program to deal with party houses, noise and nuisance.Enforcement should be continued. Should problems arise in your neighborhood I will always be available to help.
4. CONTINUE NETWORKING WITH FOUNDATIONS AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO OBTAIN FUNDING FOR PROJECTS THAT SAVE THE TAXPAYERS MONEY: Newport has received $Millions in grants to improve parks, recreation, repair sea walls, provide more money for our schools, improve our water and sewer infrastructure. I have been an important part of that to save taxpayers money, while improving our quality of life.
5. PROTECTING THE CHARACTER OF NEIGHBORHOODS: I voted for the moratorium to more carefully evaluate the out of scale development that was proposed for the old Jai Lai land. Although we need more jobs and housing for our residents, we must not lessen our quality of life in pursuit of these goals.
6. PROTECT OUR BUSINESSES AND JOBS: During this Covid Pandemic I have worked to support businesses. I sponsored a resolution to get RI to help businesses with SBA loans to survive and get insurers to cover policies that had coverage for loss of use. I personally buy local, live local, work local and feel it is my obligation to contribute to where I live.
My track record speaks for itself. You know my history. Since first elected to the city council in 1995, I have always worked hard for the third ward and all the people of Newport. I work with my constituents and, with their input, we achieve our common vision and goals together.
I ask you to continue working with me and I ask for your vote as the third ward representative on the Newport City Council on November 3rd, election day.